Shrimp is a genius way to a fast and healthy dinner! These shrimp dinner ideas are easy to put together and full of big flavor.
If you’re looking to eat a quick and healthy dinner, shrimp is where it’s at! Shrimp can go from 0 to dinner incredibly fast: it cooks up in just 3 minutes. It’s also juicy, flavorful, and seriously satisfying. Our favorite shrimp dinner recipes play on the quick and simple nature of cooking shrimp: but also give you creative ways to use it in new ways. Ready for some go-to shrimp dinner ideas?
How to buy sustainable shrimp
But first, a little note on how to buy sustainable shrimp. Alex and I try to buy sustainable seafood where possible. While we eat a mostly plant-based diet, we do flex occasionally to eat sustainable fish. In researching how to buy sustainable seafood, Alex and I have learned to look for wild-caught fish if possible. Also, frozen is good too! A myth about fish is that “fresh is best.” As soon as an animal dies it begins to decompose; freezing suspends this process. If a fish is frozen when it was caught and stays frozen until it gets to your kitchen, it will be higher quality than a raw fish that has taken a week to get to your plate.
And now: our favorite shrimp dinner ideas!
First up in our shrimp dinner recipes: sheet pan shrimp boil! Why not harness the magic of the shrimp boil for an every day meal? This shrimp boil in the oven is an easy way to make it on a weeknight: no large pot or fire required! What results is a seafood boil full of oven-roasted goodness. The veggies have browned and caramelized goodness, salty and seasoned with the nuance of cozy Old Bay seasoning. And the shrimp are perfectly tender.
WOW is all we can say! This Cajun shrimp and grits recipe will wow everyone at the table: we guarantee it. This recipe really is "world famous" and was blessed by Gordon Ramsey himself. And we cannot wait for you to taste these creamy grits, tender shrimp, and luscious veggie gravy! Head over to the recipe to learn the story and taste for yourself.
Next up in our shrimp dinner recipes is a 15 minute dinner! Yes, we promise that this shrimp couscous recipe can actually be made in 15 minutes — and you don’t even have to have anything made in advance! Juicy shrimp is quick sauteed in a bit of butter with minced garlic: in just 3 minutes! And to accessorize it, we’ve chosen couscous, because it’s also so quick to cook. While couscous is a pasta and not a whole grain, it cooks up in 5 minutes so we’ve used it here for expediency. Pull it all together with some lemon and chopped parsley, and it looks like it’s taken all evening to make!
Is there anything better than shrimp tacos? And it’s not just the flavor, it's the vibe: carefree and celebratory. Combine shrimp tacos with chips, salsa, and frozen margaritas and we can’t think of much better. (Except please also add refried bean dip. Please and thank you!) What we love about this easy shrimp tacos recipe is that it’s both fast dinner recipe for weeknights and entertaining: making it a double whammy.
Next in our shrimp dinner ideas: this seriously tasty and easy grilled shrimp! Is there anything more delicious than succulent, garlicky shrimp right off the grill? Here’s a seriously easy recipe for garlic grilled shrimp, using a zesty lemon herb marinade. Just give it a 30 minute marinade and it’s good to go on the grill. And it takes only 2 to 4 minutes to cook! There’s really nothing faster on the grill, and it makes for a simple, healthy dinner. After Alex made this for me, I took one bite and said “WHOA.” Yep, it’s that good.
This baked shrimp is a favorite dinner idea that’s straightforward and flavorful. We love the combination of the Mediterranean flavors of feta, garlic and parsley. If you can and your budget allows, find some high-quality wild shrimp. Simmer a simple tomato sauce with onion and garlic, then add the shrimp and bake until pink and tender. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley! It’s fabulous served with rice or pita wedges.
Related: Shrimp Scampi
Ever made paella? If not, it’s time that you start! Paella is a fabulous shrimp dinner idea that looks fancy but can be made on a weeknight, too. This paella with shrimp is as delicious as it is beautiful. What makes the dish is the smoked paprika (called pimentón in Spanish); it lends a sultry, smoky flavor that’s instantly addicting. The other key spice for the dish is traditionally saffron, but since it can be expensive, we went turmeric, which gives an earthy flavor and a brilliant yellow color. Top that with some tender, juicy shrimp and tangy artichokes, and you’ve got one gorgeous dinner.
This shrimp dinner idea is another spin on tacos! This grilled shrimp tacos recipe has a party vibe and doubles as a dinner party recipe or an easy weeknight meal. The smoky shrimp are perfectly spiced, served atop a Mexican slaw and drizzle lightly with spicy mayo. Top with a spritz of lime juice and torn fresh cilantro, they’re pretty heavenly. Oh, and add a lime frozen daiquiri and it amps it up even more!
Another fabulous shrimp dinner idea: grill them up on skewers! These skewers are 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 chopped 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. Here they’re served up on a bed of pesto quinoa.
Last up in our shrimp dinner ideas: this shrimp and mango salad recipe! It’s drop-dead delicious: the sweet mango, creamy cilantro dressing, salty cashews, and savory shrimp work together beautifully. Second, it’s an incredibly healthy main dish with so many flavor components you could slide it past resistant healthy eaters. And third, it’s versatile enough for a crowd of various diets. Omit the shrimp for a vegetarian salad, and load up on cashews. It’s already gluten-free and low carb. And for dairy-free, use our Creamy Cilantro Sauce. It’s seriously refreshing and a crowd-pleaser.
Related: Shrimp Scampi
What to eat with these shrimp dinner ideas
Looking for some tasty sides to eat with your shrimp for dinner? Here are a few ideas:
- Pesto Quinoa
- Farro with Herbs
- Easy Bean Salad
- Grilled Romaine Lettuce
- Grilled Avocado
- Strawberry Spinach Salad
- Incredible Chopped Salad
- Greek Orzo Salad
- Caribbean Black Bean Salad
- Artisan Dutch Oven Bread
- Seasoned Baked Potato Wedges
- French Potato Salad
- Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
- Cucumber Salad with Vinegar
About the Authors
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 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.