A point of contention with healthy dinners if I may. They’re supposed to happen every night. Sometimes I step into my kitchen and think, didn’t we just do this? Was our pile of dishes not just washed (or, erm, moved to the sink for someone else to wash)? You are telling me I am supposed to cook a full meal again? For tonight at least, we have a solution: Healthy Mexican Shrimp!
A one-pan dinner that combines juicy sautéed shrimp, hearty brown rice, fiber-rich beans, and fresh veggies, this is a healthy, filling, and colorful recipe that will alleviate your meal-planning stress.
To exterminate any final fragments of belief you may hold that I pull together a beautifully presented, well-rounded, and restaurant-worthy dinner every night (or even most every night), I do not. Thank you leftovers, grilled cheese, and a personal favorite, going out to eat.
When I do cook, which is a few nights a week, I look for recipes that a) can be cooked in one pan (because dishes are the worst) and b) taste great reheated the next day (because cooking once and eating twice is the best).
These two requirements often lead me to recipes like this Mexican shrimp with rice. It offers every food group, is easy to make, and since it is appropriate for topping with avocado, I know Ben is on board.
About this Healthy Mexican Shrimp Recipe
- The trick to making this an all-in-one is dinner is that the rice, veggies, and shrimp all cook in the same skillet.
- To shorten the prep, I use a combination of fresh, frozen, pantry ingredients.
The Fresh Ingredient Line Up
- Bell peppers. I prefer red for their sweeter flavor, though green will work too.
- Jalapeno. For a lightly herbaceous, crisp kick. If you remove the seeds and membranes prior to chopping, they add flavor but not heat.
- Green Onion. A bit o’ bite + color.
- Cilantro + Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice. To lighten, brighten, and keep this Mexican shrimp recipe extra fresh. No bottled lime juice allowed. I know it’s easy, but it’s not the same.
- All the Toppings. Avocado, cheese, nonfat Greek yogurt (my healthy swap for sour cream), salsa. Gussy up this Mexican shrimp to your heart’s content…or don’t. Toppings are delish of course but this recipe truly has enough flavor to stand on its own too.
The Frozen/Pantry Line Ingredient Up
- Long Grain Brown Rice. Whole grains like brown rice are higher in fiber and protein than their white counterparts, making them more filling.
- Shrimp. Yes, shrimp! Whether I’m making Shrimp Tacos, Garlic Shrimp Pasta, or even Grill Shrimp Seasoning, 99.9% of the time, I purchase frozen, deveined shrimp. It’s faster to prep, affordable, and since most grocery store shrimp is frozen before it arrives anyway, you often end up with a similar, less expensive version of the “fresh” shrimp sold in the seafood case. If you prefer a ground beef and rice recipe, check out my Healthy Beef Taco Skillet instead.
- Canned Black Beans. Feel free to swap a different kind if that’s what you have on hand. To earn serious extra credit, use 1 ½ cups of beans that you’ve cooked from dry in advance. (If you want to go that route, these easy Instant Pot Black Beans are my favorite.)
- Canned Tomatoes with Green Chilis. Instant fiesta + ultra convenient. Bonus: the rice cooks in the tomatoes’ liquid, absorbing even more flavor.
- Spices. Cumin and chili powder give this recipe a good amount of heat. If you are sensitive to spice, scale them back a bit.
What to Serve with Mexican Shrimp
- Cornbread. This dish would be delicious served with a side of Mexican Cornbread.
- Salad. Serve this with fresh Anytime Arugula Salad for a healthy meal.
- Margarita. Pour yourself a Skinny Margarita and call it complete.
How to Store and Freeze
- To Store. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Rewarm gently in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Re-frozen then reheated shrimp dishes are not my favorite, but you can certainly freeze this if you like. Place leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
If this recipe looks vaguely familiar, it’s an adaptation of my Mexican Chicken and Rice with a few tweaks to give it extra pizzazz, tune the spices to pair more appropriately with shrimp, and sneak in a few extra veggies. Try them both, and then try my Mexican Salad. Then, tell me which is your favorite in the comments section below!
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil - divided
- 1 pound medium shrimp - peeled and deveined (I use frozen shrimp, then thaw it)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground chili powder - divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder - divided
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin - divided
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt - divided
- 1 small yellow onion - chopped
- 2 small jalapenos - or 1 large jalapeno, core and seeds discarded, diced
- 2 red bell peppers - cored and chopped
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 can reduced sodium black beans — - 15 ounces, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup long-grain brown rice - do not use short grain or instant, as it will become mushy
- 2 cans diced tomatoes in green chiles, such as Rotel - 10-ounce cans, 20 ounces total
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3 medium green onions - chopped
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro - plus additional for serving
- 1 lime - cut into wedges
Optional — for serving:
- additional sliced jalapeno
- sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- diced avocado
- In a large skillet or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot but not smoking, swirl to coat the pan, then add the shrimp. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon cumin, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir to coat the shrimp with the spices, then continue to saute just until the shrimp is pink and fully cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Add the remaining ½ tablespoon oil, onion, jalapeno, and bell pepper. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, black pepper, the remaining 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon cumin. Stir to coat the vegetables and cook 30 seconds. Add the rice and beans. Stir to coat once more.
- Add the diced tomatoes in their juices and water. Stir to combine the ingredients. Bring to a gentle boil, cover, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let simmer 30 minutes. Remove the lid and stir, scraping up any rice that has started to stick to the bottom of the pot. Re-cover and continue to let simmer with the lid on until the rice is tender, 10 to 15 additional minutes, stirring the pot every 10 minutes to prevent sticking. If the rice begins to dry out, add a bit more water as needed.
- Stir in the green onions, cilantro, and reserved shrimp. Squeeze the lime over the top. Serve warm with desired toppings.
- I have only tested this recipe with long grain brown rice. If white rice or another type of rice or grain is substituted, the cooking time and liquid ratios will vary. Consult the package for guidance.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Rewarm gently in the microwave.
- Re-frozen then reheated shrimp dishes are not my favorite, but you can certainly freeze this if you like.
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