Recipe: Baja Shrimp Taco Salad

Recipe: Baja Shrimp Taco Salad

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Sheela Fiorenzo
Apr 3, 2018
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

This is how you do shrimp tacos in salad form. All the very best elements — juicy, spice-dusted shrimp, crisp cabbage slaw, tangy crema, and creamy avocado — come together in one big bowl to form a seriously feel-good dinner salad that's crisp, spicy, and fresh all at once.

This is the sort of meal that will add brightness to your day, even if the weather is gloomy and gray, as it instantly transports you to that SoCal sunshine.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

An Easy Taco Salad for Your Next Taco Tuesday

Change up your next taco Tuesday by serving this salad instead and I guarantee you won't be disappointed. If there are naysayers, squash doubt by proclaiming it a deconstructed taco, since that's really all it is!

The base of this salad is a crisp bed of red cabbage that's dressed in a lime and cumin-spiked crema. The crema can be made a day ahead if you'd like to make things extra easy on yourself at assembly time. Then it's simply a matter of roasting a sheet pan full of spicy shrimp for a few minutes and piling them on top of the slaw. Adding them to the salad while they're still hot helps to soften the cabbage a bit, making this even more enjoyable to eat.

Add plenty of diced avocado and crushed tortilla chips for texture and substance, and it's a dinner salad that's hard not to get excited about.

Baja Shrimp Taco Salad

Serves 4

  • For the dressing:
  • 3/4 cup

    sour cream

  • Juice of 2 medium limes (about 1/4 cup)

  • 1/4 cup

    loosely packed, finely chopped fresh cilantro

  • 2 tablespoons

    water

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    cayenne pepper

  • For the salad:
  • Cooking spray

  • 1 pound

    uncooked peeled and deveined medium shrimp

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons

    ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    paprika

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon

    freshly squeezed lime juice

  • 1/2

    large head red cabbage, thinly sliced (about 5 cups)

  • 1/3 cup

    finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving

  • 2

    medium avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced

  • 1 cup

    crumbled tortilla chips

Make the dressing:

Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl until emulsified and well-combined; set aside.

Make the salad:

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside.

Pat the shrimp dry and place on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the cumin, chili powder, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper and stir to coat. Spread into an even layer. Roast until the shrimp are opaque and pink, stirring once halfway through, 6 to 8 minutes total. Drizzle the cooked shrimp with the lime juice and toss to combine; set aside.

Place the cabbage, cilantro, and about 1/2 of the dressing in a large bowl and toss to combine. Top with the shrimp and avocado, drizzle with the remaining dressing (you might not use all of it), and sprinkle with the tortilla chips and more cilantro. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The dressing can be made up to 1 day in advance and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Storage: Leftovers will keep for 1 day stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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