Level-up your taco game with these irresistible 30-minute shrimp tacos. Shrimp (fresh or frozen shrimp work great) are pan-seared quickly over high heat before being folded into a warm tortilla and topped with bright, homemade pineapple salsa, and zesty cashew-lime crema taco sauce. A healthy, flavorful, and fast dinner idea for taco night—or any night! Serve with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and enjoy!
Oh hi, just making dinner FUN again! My husband let out a very serious and rather lengthy "yummm" after laying mouth on these tacos. The man knows good when he tastes it!
Why don't I make shrimp more at home, that is the question. Like my chickpea tacos and tofu tacos, this recipe is jam-packed with robust flavors and textures. You know I don't go light on seasoning. Now let's taco 'bout the details!
As a Dietitian, I love that these tacos are made with bright, heart-healthy ingredients. They pack an antioxidant punch!
- Shrimp: Most fresh shrimp (unless you're near water) is previously frozen anyway, so I opt for flash frozen shrimp that I thaw overnight in the fridge. Medium shrimp work but large are best! Aim for peeled and de-veined to make prep easy.
- Tortillas: I love corn tortillas for the most authentic flavor, plus they're gluten free. If you prefer flour, that works too!
- Pineapple: Fresh, sweet pineapple makes delish salsa. You could also use thawed from frozen in a pinch.
- Cashews: Raw cashews work magic to create a creamy sauce that's dairy free. If you don't have cashews, you could try full fat Greek yogurt and omit the water. Roasted cashews will work in a pinch but raw have the best mild flavor.
- Cilantro: To flavor our salsa and garnish the tacos.
- Lime: You'll need two limes as we'll use the juice in the salsa and the crema. Squeeze leftover juice on top of tacos!
- Red Onion: I love the pop of color and bite that red onion adds to the salsa.
- Jalapeño: This little pepper adds amazing flavor to our crema. It won't be spicy as long as you remove the seeds and white veins!
- Spices: A blend of smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper help season the shrimp so it's full of flavor.
- Olive oil: To cook our shrimp and for the marinade. You can also use avocado oil.
How to make healthy shrimp tacos (step-by-step process)
Place cashews in a small bowl. Cover with hot water. This helps soften them so they can be easily blended.
Pat shrimp dry so they can better absorb the marinade, then transfer to a mixing bowl. Add all the spices, salt and pepper and toss well to coat.
Set aside to marinate for 10-15 minutes while you make the other components.
Chop pineapple into ¼ inch pieces and place in a medium mixing bowl with red onion, cilantro, lime juice and zest plus a good pinch of salt. Stir and set aside.
Stir, taste and adjust salt if needed, and set aside.
Slice jalapeño away from core to remove seeds and veins. Drain and rinse the cashews.
Place cashews in blender with jalapeño, garlic, lime juice, water and salt. It should be smooth and creamy.
Add 1 tablespoon oil to a large skillet and warm over medium high heat. Once hot, add shrimp in an even layer to ensure browning.
Cook for 2 minutes, not moving them. Flip and cook another 2 minutes. They should be well-browned. Transfer to a plate.
Warm tortillas. Spread a layer of crema followed by several shrimp. Top liberally with salsa plus another few dollops of crema.
Garnish with cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, and avocado. Devour!
What kind of shrimp is best for tacos?
Look for large, uncooked shrimp that's already peeled and de-veined with the tails removed. I like to buy 2 lb bags of frozen wild Gulf shrimp.
Wild vs farmed
I always opt for wild or sustainably-farmed fish that's ideal for both environmental and ethical reasons plus overall health.
What fish you choose largely depends on your own budget and preferences!
Fresh vs frozen
Most "fresh" fish in states that aren't near water are previously frozen and more expensive. Frozen fish is often fresher because it's flash frozen at the peak of freshness.
If you live by water, you may be lucky enough to find fresh, local shrimp!
- To thaw overnight: Place bag of shrimp in fridge and let thaw.
- Quick thaw method: Place frozen shrimp in a large bowl and place in the sink. Run cold water over shrimp, filling the bowl, until defrosted (about 5 minutes). They're thawed when the color is translucent versus white.
Storage and reheating tips
Store leftovers separately in air-tight container in the fridge. The shrimp will last up to 3 days. The crema and salsa will keep up to 4 days.
To reheat, warm shrimp over medium heat on a skillet just until warmed through. Shrimp tend to get too rubbery when microwaved.
If you double the recipe or even just the shrimp, I'd suggest cooking half the shrimp the night of and half the next night versus all at once.
I hope you're as obsessed with this fun recipe as I am!
I'd be super grateful if you'd take a moment to leave a quick star rating and review below. Comments mean the world to me and your honest feedback helps me to continue to share recipes you'll crave!Print
Irresistible Shrimp Tacos with bright pineapple salsa and zesty jalapeño lime crema make the most flavorful healthy dinner you'll crave all week long! These aren't spicy, but you can add more red pepper flakes if you'd like.)
For the shrimp tacos:
- 1 lb shrimp (ideally large), peeled and deveined
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp mild chili powder
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (omit for no spice, or double for spicier tacos)
- ½ tsp fine sea salt + lots of freshly ground pepper
- 8 corn tortillas
- Pineapple salsa
- Optional garnishes: avocado, lime wedges, cilantro, jalapeño slices
For the jalapeño lime crema:
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 1 small jalapeño, de-seeded and de-veined
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- juice of ½ lime (save the rest for garnish)
- ¼ cup water
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- Place cashews in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside to soak and soften.
- Pat shrimp dry with a paper towel and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add 1 tbsp olive oil, spices, salt and pepper. Toss to coat and let marinate while you make salsa and crema.
- Make salsa: combine pineapple, onion, cilantro, lime zest and juice of your other lime, and salt. Mix and set aside.
- Make crema: Drain and rinse cashews. Place in a high-speed blender or Nutribullet with jalapeño, garlic powder, lime juice, water and salt. Blend until completely smooth and creamy. Add another tablespoon water if needed to thin. (It may taste salty but will be balanced on the tacos!)
- Cook shrimp: Warm 1 tbsp oil over medium high heat in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet. Once hot, add shrimp in an even layer (can do in two batches if needed) for 2 minutes, not moving the shrimp so it browns. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes, being careful not to over-cook. Transfer to a plate.
- Warm tortillas (I blacken right on the open flame until lightly charred on both sides; or you can stack and microwave in a damp paper towel). Assemble tacos by spreading a layer of crema followed by shrimp, salsa, and a bit more crema. Serve with a squeeze of lime juice and jalapeño slices for crunch.
I often double the shrimp since my husband eats a lot! If you do this, I'd suggest cooking half (1 pound) of the shrimp the night of and half the next night versus all at once so you're not reheating shrimp, which can get rubbery.