Shrimp Tacos with Creamy Taco Slaw
I am long overdue for this pun: Let’s TACO ’bout these HEALTHY SHRIMP TACOS!
Are you still reading? GOOD. Because I have a recipe for the most juicy, splendidly spiced shrimp tacos, complete with shrimp taco slaw and a creamy, dreamy shrimp taco sauce.
Not only is this healthy shrimp recipe worth making for dinner tonight, it’s worth putting up with my bad jokes!
Every time I make a recipe with shrimp, I ask myself why I don’t cook with shrimp at least once a week.
In addition to being healthy, shrimp cooks in a matter of minutes, making it ideal for fast weeknight dinners. The sautéed shrimp in these tacos cooks in fewer than five, which by my calculation is just enough time to pour yourself a Skinny Margarita if you move very very quickly.
While fresh shrimp are delicious, the majority of the time, I purchase raw, frozen shrimp. Frozen shrimp is usually less expensive, and because you can purchase it already peeled, it puts one less step between me and my plate of Healthy Shrimp Tacos.
For easy shrimp tacos using frozen shrimp, you can thaw the shrimp in your refrigerator overnight, or if you forget (guilty!), you can quickly thaw them too.
To quickly thaw frozen shrimp, place the shrimp in a mesh colander or sieve, then submerge the colander in cool water for 20-ish minutes. Resist the urge to use hot water (the shrimp will start cooking on the outside while the insides are still frozen). Done!
While frozen shrimp are not the best choice if you’ll be eating shrimp cocktail, it’s perfect for recipes where the shrimp are being jazzed up with spices (hi, Healthy Shrimp Pad Thai and Shrimp Guacamole Bites) or fresh ingredients like garlic (Garlic Shrimp Pasta, Garlic Shrimp with Quinoa, and Healthy Shrimp Scampi, I heart you all).
In the case of our shrimp tacos, the shrimp are tossed with classic chili powder, smoky chipotle chili powder, and chili’s BFF, cumin. As the recipe is written, these tacos have a good amount of kick. Feel free to sneak in a little extra chipotle chili powder or pinch of cayenne if you prefer your shrimp tacos extra spicy.
Based on my extensive research, which consists of a) ordering shrimp tacos every single time I see them on a menu or b) making Ben order them then stealing a bite, no real-deal shrimp taco would be complete without a corresponding slaw and sauce.
Keeping with the healthy and easy shrimp tacos recipe theme, for the taco slaw, I used a “super” blend of prebagged shredded cabbage, broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts, which you can check out in the video I added for this recipe. I loved the extra boost of vitamins from the mix…and the fact that I didn’t have to grate the cabbage myself. If you prefer your shrimp tacos with cabbage only, that is a perfectly tasty swap.
The taco sauce (which also doubles as the slaw’s dressing) is a creamy blend of cilantro, lime, and Greek yogurt, with jalapeno and garlic for an extra flavor boost. It perfectly balances and cools the spice from the shrimp, AND it doubles as a fabulous shrimp tacos sauce to drizzle over the top (assuming you don’t eat it all with a spoon first).
Heading into the warmer months (it will get warmer, won’t it?), I plan to use this same shrimp seasoning blend for a grilled shrimp tacos recipe. Feel free to do the same.
Whether you cook these tacos outdoors or in, I’d love to know how this recipe turns out for you. Don’t forget to leave a comment below. I love hearing from you!
- 1 pound large or jumbo shrimp peeled, deveined, and tails removed (fresh or frozen and thawed)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 to 8 corn or flour tortillas
- Garnishes: avocados cilantro, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), lime wedges
- 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- 1/2 small jalapeno seeds and membranes removed
- 1/4 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Zest and juice of 1 large or 2 very small limes about 2 teaspoons zest and 3 tablespoons juice
- 2 cups shredded cabbage or slaw mix
Rinse and pat the shrimp dry, then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with the chili powder, chipotle chili, cumin, and salt. Toss to coat evenly. Let rest while you prepare the shrimp taco sauce and slaw.
Prepare the sauce and slaw: In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the Greek yogurt, olive oil, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, salt, lime zest, and lime juice. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Place the cabbage in a mixing bowl and toss with about 1/2 cup of the sauce. Add more sauce if you desire a creamier slaw, then reserve the rest of the sauce for serving.
Cook the shrimp: In a large nonstick skillet over medium high, heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Add the shrimp and sauté just until the shrimp is cooked through and no longer translucent in the center, about 4 minutes. Do not overcook! Transfer the shrimp immediately to a plate.
Warm the tortillas (optional) and assemble the tacos: If you like, warm the tortillas in the microwave (put them in a stack and cover them with a lightly damp towel) or a 250 degree F oven while the shrimp cook. To serve, fill the tortillas with your desired number of shrimp, then top generously with the slaw, extra sauce, a squeeze of lime juice, and any other desired toppings. Enjoy immediately.
- The shrimp tastes best the day it is made but can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Since shrimp tends to dry out when reheated, I prefer to use the leftovers on top of salads. Slaw can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, and any extra sauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
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