These shrimp taco bowls are the best kind of summer meal: fast, fresh, and won’t heat up the kitchen. The shrimp are deeply seasoned with paprika and cumin, then grilled and served in bowls with taco fixings and a spicy cilantro dressing.
Photography Credit: Sabrina Modelle
For as long as I can remember, shrimp has been one of my favorite foods, and these grilled shrimp taco bowls treat shrimp like the pretty little superstars they are!
This bowl is packed with healthy Mexican-inspired ingredients such as black beans, corn, tomatoes, and lettuce, all served on top of rice with a spicy cilantro dressing.
LET’S TALK ABOUT THAT SPICY CILANTRO DRESSING
Speaking of that dressing, this spicy cilantro dressing couldn’t be simpler to make, but its flavor is complex: heat comes from a jalapeño, acid from the lime and apple cider vinegar, and a fresh, herbal taste from the cilantro.
If you don’t like much heat, simply remove the seeds and ribs from the jalapeño—that way you’ll get all of the fresh green flavor of the chili without the burn.
A quick spin in a mini-blender or a mini food processor brings out a creamy texture—without the dairy!
WHICH SHRIMP TO BUY
I use shell-on, 21 to 25 count shrimp in this recipe. The shell-on shrimp are less expensive and I’ve had better luck with the freshness with this type of shrimp rather than those that are already peeled and deveined.
That being said, you can absolutely buy them already cleaned and prepped, which gets dinner on the table faster.
HOW TO ASSEMBLE THE BOWLS
It’s fun to serve these shrimp taco bowls buffet-style, so that everyone can choose exactly what they want. If you’d like to do it that way, just line your ingredients up in little bowls and let people customize their dinner!
If you’d prefer to assemble the bowls and serve them that way, start with about a half-cup of rice per bowl, then add the black beans, corn, tomato, avocado, radishes, romaine, and shrimp. Drizzle with spicy cilantro dressing, and garnish with chopped chilies, cilantro, and lime.
To serve this as a green salad instead of a rice bowl, just halve (or omit) the rice and toss six cups of romaine with a half-cup of cilantro dressing, and top with beans, corn, tomato, avocado, radishes, and shrimp.
MORE BOWLS TO TRY!
Grilled Shrimp Taco Bowl Recipe
For the grilled shrimp:
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (sweet or hot)
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (optional)
- 1 pound shell-on shrimp (21-25 count), thawed if frozen, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup neutral oil (I used avocado oil)
- High heat oil such as canola or grapeseed for brushing grill grates
For the spicy cilantro dressing:
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup neutral flavored oil (I used avocado oil)
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 1 cup cilantro leaves and stems, packed
- 1 jalapeño, stem removed
- Salt to taste
For the bowls:
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained and rinsed
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 2 cups shredded romaine
- 1 medium ripe avocado, thinly sliced or cut into chunks
- 4 radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons neutral oil, such as canola or avocado
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeño, to serve
- 1/4 cup tablespoon finely chopped cilantro, to serve
- Lime wedges, to serve
- Salt and pepper to taste
1 Combine the spices and shrimp: In a small bowl, whisk together the paprika through chipotle powder. In a larger bowl, toss shrimp with oil and then add the spices. Stir with a large spoon until evenly coated.
Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to overnight.
2 Prep the grill: When ready to grill the shrimp, preheat a gas or charcoal grill for 15 to 20 minutes to high heat. If your grill has a thermometer, make sure it reads at least 500ºF.
3 Make the dressing: Add all the dressing ingredients except the salt to the bowl of a mini chopper or a blender. Pulse 3 to 5 times until the ingredients are broken down a bit, and then blend on high to create a creamy consistency. (The dressing may be made up to two days ahead and stored in the refrigerator.)
4 Season the black beans: In a small bowl, toss black beans with two teaspoons oil and salt and pepper to taste.
5 Grill the shrimp: Shake off excess marinade and thread the shrimp into two metal skewers. Using two skewers makes the shrimp easy to flip on a very hot grill.
When your gas or charcoal grill is hot, use tongs to oil the grill grates with a small folded piece of paper towel dipped in oil.
Place the skewers on the grill. Using tongs, press down gently on the skewers to encourage pretty grill marks and awesome charred flavor.
Flip the skewers after about 3 minutes and finish cooking on the other side for 1 to 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque almost all the way through. They will continue cooking for a few minutes after they’re off the grill.
6 Assemble the bowls: Divide the rice between four bowls, then top each bowl with black beans, corn, tomatoes, radishes, romaine, avocado, and shrimp.
Serve with small bowls of limes, chopped chilies, and chopped cilantro.
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