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Spicy Shrimp Tacos

This spicy shrimp taco recipe rivals any restaurant, is astonishingly easy AND you can customize the spicy level!  They are exploding with fiesta flavor topped with sweet, crunchy pineapple cucumber slaw and addictive, silky avocado crema. You can prep the toppings ahead of time or while your shrimp marinates for 15 minutes for a super quick and easy lunch or dinner that tastes wonderfully gourmet.  Pair these easy spicy shrimp tacos with cilantro lime rice, elote (Mexican corn on the cob) or corn salad and you have the perfect menu for taco Tuesday or any day!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 8 -10 tacos

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds extra-large shrimp peeled with tails left on and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 -10 corn or small flour tortillas

15 MINUTE WET RUB MARINADE

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tsp EACH chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder, garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp EACH smoked paprika, ground coriander, salt, pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

PINEAPPLE CUCUMBER SLAW

  • 2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
  • 2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 3/4 English cucumber, chopped (or 1 medium, peeled slicing cucumber)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

AVOCADO CREMA

Instructions

  • Marinate Shrimp: Add a marinade ingredients to a freezer bag or medium bowl and whisk to combine. Add shrimp and marinate at room temperature for 15-30 minutes or in the refrigerator for up to 60 minutes (no more!).
  • Avocado Crema: Meanwhile, make the Avocado Crema according to recipe directions. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve.
  • Pineapple Cucumber Slaw: Add all of the Pineapple Cucumber Slaw ingredients to a large bowl. Toss to combine then season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Cook Shrimp: Melt one tablespoon butter with one tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the shrimp and cook approximately 2-3 minutes per side, or just until opaque and cooked through. Toss with 1 tablespoon lime juice then repeat with remaining shrimp.
  • Assemble: Grill tortillas on stovetop over the flame until lightly charred or warm in the microwave by stacking 5 tortillas at a time, covering with a damp paper towel and microwaving for 20 seconds on high, repeat at 10 second intervals if needed until warmed through. Spoon pineapple cucumber slaw generously over warm tortillas, then top with shrimp and drizzle with avocado crema. Serve tacos with lime wedges on the side and hot sauce to taste.

Notes

Slaw: You can swap the green cabbage for red cabbage or use all cabbage, or combine red or green cabbage with your favorite fruit salsa recipe such as pineapple mango salsa, mango salsa or pineapple salsa.  Corn salsa would also be tasty.

PREP AHEAD

This shrimp taco recipe can be mostly prepped ahead so when it comes time to cook, it’s just a quick marinade to dinner.
  • Marinade: Whisk all the marinade ingredients together, cover and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator WITHOUT THE SHRIMP for up to 2 days.
  • Slaw: Chop the slaw ingredient but keep them in separate airtight containers up to 24 hours ahead of time.  You can combine them up to 60 minutes before making, but not too much earlier because we want the cabbage to stay nice and crunchy.
  • Avocado crema:  Can be made and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days IF you transfer the crema to an airtight container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the crema before adding the lid.  This will delay oxidization/browning that occurs when the surface of the dip/avocado come in contact with air. 

HOW TO STORE

  • How to store:  Cooked shrimp should be stored separately in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  When properly stored, it is good for three to four days. Store the slaw and avocado crema in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator.  Make sure to push plastic wrap directly on the surface of the avocado crema to prevent oxidation.
  • How to freeze:  You can freeze the shrimp but both the slaw and the crema do not freeze well.  After you have cooked the shrimp, let it cool completely then transfer it to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air. Freeze for 2 to 3 months.

how to REHEAT 

  • How to reheat in a skillet:  Heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet over medium heat, add some butter if desired for extra richness.  Add shrimp and cook just until warmed through.
  • How to reheat in the microwave:  Transfer shrimp to a microwave safe plate. Microwave for 30 seconds then at 15 second intervals as needed. Take care not to over-cook or the shrimp will become rubbery.  The key is to warm the shrimp and not cook the shrimp any further.v