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 skillet of Mexican shrimp and rice


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.

Shrimp and rice in a skillet with lime slices

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.
Seafood and rice in a skillet with lime

What to Serve with Mexican Shrimp

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.
Mexican shrimp and rice in a large skillet

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!

Healthy Mexican Shrimp and Rice. Easy one skillet dinner that's full of spicy Mexican flavor! Juicy shrimp, colorful veggies, whole grain brown rice, and black beans make this a true all-in-one meal.

Mexican Shrimp

5 from 19 votes
Healthy Mexican Shrimp and Rice. Easy recipe that’s full of spicy Mexican flavor! Juicy shrimp, brown rice, veggies, and beans make it an all-in-one meal.

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 1 hr

Servings: 4 people (about 9 cups)

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 2.25cups (without extra toppings)Calories: 492kcalCarbohydrates: 89gProtein: 42gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 173mgFiber: 21gSugar: 24g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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56 Comments

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  1. Looks so good!!!
    BUT, I have a shrimp/seafood adverse husband and was wondering if you think if would be as good with cut-up chicken?
    Also, do you think this might work in the Instant Pot? I always cook my brown rice in the IP with great success and speed. Seems like the whole thing could utilize the IP in a shorter amount of time.

    1. Cindy, the way this recipe is written is meant for the rice to cook in the skillet, because it absorbs the liquid and flavors. (I do love making rice in the IP too, but the skillet works best here). You can absolutely swap chicken for the shrimp though! Here’s how: https://www.wellplated.com/mexican-chicken-and-rice/

    2. I added a spicy chicken sausage to the dish and it became a bit jamalaya-y. So yummy. Whole foods butcher makes a great spicy chicken sausage.5 stars

  2. Wow!  Used brown rice that I had frozen, hot rotel, and cooked shrimp. Just put spices on shrimps and cooked as directed but with less time. This was great!5 stars

  3. I made this recipe for yesterday’s dinner and was very pleased.  I used Vigo brand saffron yellow rice and a sweet onion.  The dish has a beautiful array of color when completed.  As everything is cooked in the same pot, the flavors all come together to create a delicious entree.  This meal could easily be paired with a different type of meat for those allergic to shrimp.  5 stars

  4. This was a huge hit in my house, Erin! And, bonus, it earned more than a few “what smells so good” from coworkers as I was heating leftovers up for lunch.

    For those who want to use white rice instead of brown, I used 1 cup of water rather than 1.5 cups. No mushy rice or extra water leftover.5 stars

  5. Fantastic recipe Erin!
    Swapped out the rice for cauliflower rice.
    Reduced the Rotel to 8 oz, simmering with the other veg (excluding the raw cauliflower rice) as recipe instructs. Stirred in the raw cauliflower rice at the end to warm through and still have texture.
    Thank you!5 stars

  6. Want to use black bean pasta and no rice with this recipe. And add avocado and a sprinkling of Mexican cheese blend. How might you modify it? Will there be enough sauce with the shrimp to go over the pasta? 

    1. Hi Alexis, that would be a major experiment and I wouldn’t recommend it. You might be interested in trying this Taco Pasta! You could omit the meat and top it with sauteed shrimp instead. (Cook the shrimp first, then add it at the end.)

  7. We loved this tonight! Very bright and fresh and filling! We were short on cumin, but still was delicious. Hubs made a burrito and I served mine with crumbled tostados. Already made my Togo for work tomorrow.5 stars

  8. We love this. I’ve made it twice in 2 weeks and will be making it often. For 2 of us I used 8 oz shrimp but otherwise followed the recipe. So we had a lot of the rice and bean mixture left which is wonderful with chicken and port as well. Its pretty quick to put together and it smells wonderful while its cooking. BTW I found it while searching for something with shrimp and brown rice that has some flavor. We are doing an elimination diet to see if any particular food group is aggravating my husband’s arthritis pain and for several weeks cutting out gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, sugar, peanuts and corn.5 stars

  9. I made this tonight. It has a really good flavor and nice textures. I did not leave myself enough time and my family was hungry so I served it too soon and the rice was not completely done. We ate it anyway and we still enjoyed it. Also next time I will use petite diced tomatoes because I used Delmonte diced and the chunks were too big. The rice I used was Ralston Family Farms Nature’s Blend and I think it will be great when I let it finish cooking all the way. I do wonder if this could be done in a crockpot to save time. I realize I would have to leave the shrimp until the end but using a crockpot sure would save some time if it’s possible. Thanks for the recipe. I will definitely make it again.5 stars

    1. Hi Theresa! I have not tried this in a crockpot and cannot recommend it, but you could experiment with it. I’m so happy you and your family loved the recipe!

  10. This was so good!! The whole family LOVED it!! The only problem was that they all went back for seconds so we didn’t have enough for a second night! ;) Thanks for the great new recipe!!!5 stars

    1. I’m so happy to hear that this recipe was a hit, Breeta! Thank you for taking the time to share this kind review!

  11. I think this recipe sounds delicious and was looking for a shrimp recipe to stuff poblanos chili’s and with some adjustment I think this would be a great , what do you think?  Thank You for the wonderful recipes.

    1. Hi Terry, I have not tried the recipe like this, but it sounds delicious! If you decide to experiment, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  12. I made the  Healthy Mexican Shrimp and Rice, my husband and I loved it. I will make this  for my family dinner.5 stars

  13. This is a family favorite! I sometimes add an extra can of black beans and a can of corn to stretch it a little further.5 stars

  14. This recipe was sooo soo good!!! i didn’t have black beans so I used chickpeas and it came out phenomenal! thank you! I wish I had made double the portion! haha5 stars

  15. This is my grown son’s absolute, most favorite dish! It’s one way I can get him to come over for dinner 😉5 stars

  16. It was a huge waste of time. And 10 minute prep! Ha ha… it takes at least 1/2 hour to de-shell the shrimp never mind cut up the veggies. Rice added nothing to the dish; was still undercooked at 50 minutes! Awful. And a waste of good shrimp!

    1. Hi Helen! I’m sorry to hear that this recipe fell short of your expectations. I (and other readers) truly enjoyed this dish, so I really wish you would’ve too!

  17. Oh no I am in the middle of this recipe and I don’t have black beans! Can I substitute kidney beans?5 stars

    1. Hi Beth! Just so you will know for next time, if a recipe of mine calls for cooked rice, it will specifically say that, otherwise it is uncooked. Hope this helps!

    1. Hi Jen! I’ve only tested the recipe as written. It would change your cooking time using quinoa. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!