Grilled Shrimp Skewers

Summer grilling makes for easy recipes! These grilled shrimp skewers are simple and delicious–serve them with pesto quinoa as a healthy dinner idea.

Grilled Shrimp Skewers

It’s hard to explain the way we eat. We use the word vegetarian for simplicity, but we’ll occasionally eat fish or meat for any of the following reasons: 1. We’re out to dinner 2. We’re on vacation 3. We’re having a special meal 4. We want to. It’s called flexitarian, a word we use on occasion. Here’s one of our favorite seafood recipes: these easy grilled shrimp skewers! And a little bit more about what flexitarian means to us.

Related: Summer Dinner Recipes to Eat Al Fresco

What is flexitarian?

So, how is it that we eat a mostly whole food plant based diet, but also eat things like grilled shrimp skewers? Per Wikipedia, a flexitarian diet “is one that is plant-based with the occasional inclusion of meat.” Which sounds just like Alex and me! We generally focus on veggies at home, but every now and then we’ll prepare some fish, usually for guests, but occasionally just for us. When we decided to start eating mainly natural foods and cut back on meat several years ago, it was for health and environmental reasons – and we never swore off meat altogether. We’ve found that the moderate approach makes life manageable. 

Moderation can be confusing, since labels are so much easier. “Vegetarian”, “gluten-free”, “vegan” is much easier than saying “I try to eat natural foods most of the time and usually don’t cook meat at home but will eat it occasionally and especially if it is ethically-raised but if not it is ok especially if I am a guest in someone’s home and fish is really one of my favorite things in the world but most of the time I focus on vegetables and whole foods but it’s also ok if I need to eat a piece of pie once in a while.” Anyway, that’s what we are – is there a word for that? In the meantime, we’ll go with flexitarian.

Related: 10 Brain Food Recipes | Best Shrimp Dinner Ideas

How to make grilled shrimp skewers

Alex devised this grilled shrimp skewers recipe and it is stand-out delicious! The basic idea is thread the shrimp onto skewers and drizzle with olive oil. Then sprinkle with your favorite toppings: we’ve used kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and then some fresh herbs: we used fresh thyme and oregano. Then just grill the shrimp skewers for 1 to 2 minutes per side! You can use this basic formula anytime you grill shrimp: add any types of flavorings you like! After grilling, brushing on some of our homemade teriyaki sauce would be especially delicious.

For the vegetable skewers that we served alongside the grilled shrimp skewers, the method is exactly the same, except the vegetable skewers take a bit longer to grill! The vegetable skewers take about 7 to 10 minutes total, and you’ll turn them once. Again, you could use any herbs or flavorings you’d like, and could brush on teriyaki sauce after grilling.

As a note: When Alex and I made this recipe, we used branches from our rosemary plant as skewers! (It sounds fancy but we actually didn’t have any skewers!) It worked well and added nice flavor, too!

How to serve grilled shrimp skewers

We served these grilled shrimp skewers along with the vegetable skewers on a bed of pesto quinoa! It’s a great side dish, for the skewers or to serve with any other meal. Or if you prefer, serve the grilled shrimp skewers over creamy polenta. The pesto quinoa can be made with our homemade basil pesto recipe or purchased pesto. If you make our homemade pesto, a great way to store it is to freeze it in ice cube trays. Then remove the pesto cubes and freeze them in a sealed bag: you can pop the pesto cubes into soups and stews easily!

Looking for more healthy seafood recipes?

Outside of this grilled shrimp skewers recipe, here are a few more healthy seafood recipes:

This recipe is…

These grilled shrimp skewers recipe is pescatarian and gluten-free. For vegan or plant-based, substitute baby bella mushrooms, and load on the quinoa to keep it filling.


Grilled Shrimp Skewers

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 4.40 out of 5)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


Summer grilling makes for easy recipes! These grilled shrimp skewers are simple and delicious–serve them with pesto quinoa as a healthy dinner idea.



  • Pesto Quinoa
  • 16 large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 yellow summer squash
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh thyme and oregano
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • Skewers


  1. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat.
  2. Start the Pesto Quinoa.
  3. Chop the pepper and dice the onion and summer squash into bite-sized pieces. Chop the thyme and oregano. In a bowl, toss the vegetables with 1 tablespoon olive oil, a sprinkle of kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and ½ of the fresh herbs.
  4. In a separate bowl, toss the shrimp with ½ tablespoon olive oil, a sprinkle of kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, the red pepper flakes and half of the fresh herbs.
  5. Place the shrimp and vegetables on separate skewers.
  6. Over a medium grill, grill the vegetables about 7 to 10 minutes total until tender, turning once. When the vegetables are nearly done, grill the shrimp 2 to 4 minutes total, turning once, until bright pink. Serve with lemon wedges, and add fresh squeezed lemon juice prior to serving.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Skewers, Grilled Shrimp Skewers, Veggie Skewers, Summer Grilling, Grilled, Grill Recipes, Shrimp, Shrimp Skewers, Grilled Shrimp, Gluten Free, Quinoa, Pesto

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    October 2, 2013 at 7:09 am

    I love this idea! Looks awesome. Totally making this soon. Plus, Andrew explodes with excitement every time I tell him we’re having shrimp for dinner :)

  • Reply
    Chelsea @ TableForOne
    October 2, 2013 at 11:37 am

    I never thought of combining pesto and my quinoa. I have both at home and that sounds fantastic! I will have to give it a try.

  • Reply
    Ali @ Inspiralized
    October 2, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    This is absolutely beautiful! Your pictures are stunning… and this dish, wow! I love quinoa and pesto. Can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply
    October 2, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Looks delicious! I always say “I eat mostly vegetarian.” That describes my behavior without having to label myself.

  • Reply
    petiscos e miminhos
    October 3, 2013 at 6:12 am

    I am a big fan of pesto quinoa, I think is a great combo.
    This plate is pure perfection!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Lovely! These skewers look super tasty. :)

  • Reply
    October 8, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Sonja, I just (really) laughed out loud because your description of your + Alex’s food philosophy is identical to ours. It is tricky to describe :) Thanks for another great recipe!

    • Reply
      October 9, 2013 at 11:33 pm

      Funny! And glad to find others of a similar mind! :)

  • Reply
    October 9, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Ha! We need to make a catchy acronym title for this style of eating. Describes Alex and I exactly as well. :) Also, pesto quinoa! Why haven’t I had this before??

  • Reply
    April 15, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    This meal is amazing…my whole family loved it! all of the herbs together brought such great flavor!

    • Reply
      April 17, 2014 at 8:45 am

      So glad you all enjoyed it! Thanks for commenting!

  • Reply
    natalie kott
    May 19, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    This was AMAZING! So fulfilling. I used Italian parsley and cilantro as my fresh herbs. Went perfectly. A great way to use some of my pesto from last years garden…

    • Reply
      May 19, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    September 23, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Hi, this recipe looks great. Can you please edit this recipe to explain how the onion is used or email me with the addition? Your ingredients show 1 lemon, but I can’t find it on the directions

    • Reply
      September 23, 2014 at 9:37 pm

      Sorry, I meant lemon, not onion

    • Reply
      September 23, 2014 at 10:04 pm

      Good catch – I’ve updated the recipe to state to add fresh-squeezed lemon juice prior to serving. Thanks!

  • Reply
    October 15, 2014 at 5:20 am

    I absolutely adore your explanation of the way you eat – I’m exactly the same and it’s so hard to explain! I might have to memorise that spiel!

  • Reply
    July 27, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    This was VERY tasty! The blend of herbs and the pesto in the quinoa came together very well! I will definately be keeping this recipe around our home. Thank you!

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