Make a hot skillet of shrimp fajitas for a quick and healthy meal. The recipe is a tasty combination of vegetables sauteed until crisp-tender and marinated shrimp sizzled to perfection. Just warm up some tortillas and you’re all set!
This easy shrimp fajitas recipe uses fresh ingredients and bold flavorful spices. The trickiest part of the preparation is making sure not to overcook those briny crustaceans. In just a few seconds they can go from succulent to super tough. Just don’t walk away from the stovetop, and you’ll be fine.
For maximum flavor, I marinate the shrimp using dried spices like cumin, smoked paprika, garlic, and onion powder. This Mexican-inspired meal wouldn’t be complete without crisp bell peppers, onions, and zucchini. The array of colorful vegetables enhances the taste and wow-factor, but it also adds nutritional benefits to each serving.
A simple marinade
I use a combination of ground cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder, smoked paprika (sweet or spicy works well too) for a base flavor to play up the Latin notes. The charred flavor from the paprika adds a barbecue taste without having to fire up the grill.
To extract more water and fat-soluble flavors from the seasonings, I combine it with fresh lime juice and olive oil. Marinate any type of shrimp while preparing the vegetables, it just needs about 10 minutes before cooking. I use a similar mixture for my chicken fajitas recipe, it’s so versatile and simple to prepare.
Crunch and color
What makes a fiery hot pan of fajitas so enticing is the contrast between taste and textures. I like to use a variety of mild-bright bell peppers like red, yellow, green, and even orange if available. A handful of sliced sulfurous onions and freshly minced garlic add incredible aroma and a touch of sweetness from the surface caramelization. Summer squash like zucchini makes for a good seasonal add-in as they tenderize quickly just like the other veggies.
Preparation is key
Each item cooks for just a few short minutes, so preparation is key. It’s best to have the protein and vegetables peeled, chopped, separated and ready to add into the cast iron skillet or your pan of choice.
Start by heating 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. I keep the temperature moderate so that the shrimp and paprika in the marinade don’t burn. Cook the shrimp in a single layer, then flip over. You want them to be pink, opaque, and in a loose “C” shape. Transfer to a plate while cooking the vegetables.
The onions get sauteed first, followed by the tougher zucchini, bell peppers, and garlic. Make sure to cook stirring occasionally for even browning on the surface. They should still have a slight crunch. This process only takes about 5 minutes, then the shrimp are added back to rewarm. Sprinkle some fresh cilantro leaves on top and this one-pan dish is ready to devour!
What to serve with the fajitas
Warm tortillas, flour or corn is a must with shrimp fajitas. Add the hearty filling and wrap it up. To make dinner a little more festive, have everyone customize their toppings with options like sour cream, lime wedges to squeeze, avocado slices, freshly mashed guacamole, or homemade salsa.
Do you like it spicy?
There are two easy ways to make the shrimp fajitas spicy. In the marinade add in some dried chili, chipotle or cayenne pepper powder. Use sparingly, add a little (¼ teaspoon at a time), taste, and then increase to your heat tolerance. You can also add some fresh minced hot peppers like jalapeno or serrano when cooking the bell peppers for extra heat.
- 1 pound (454 g) shrimp, 16/20 count, peeled and deveined
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, or sweet
- ½ teaspoon (3 g) garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon (1 g) onion powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon (6 g) kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) lime juice
- ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil , divided
- 1 cup (113 g) yellow onions, ¼-inch thick slices
- 2 cups (260 g) zucchini, ¼-inch thick slices
- 4 cups (343 g) bell peppers, ¼-inch thick slices
- 1 tablespoon (9 g) minced garlic
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves, for garnish
- lime wedges, for garnish
- 8 tortillas, flour or corn
- In a large bowl combine shrimp, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, lime juice, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Marinate for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, slice and chop the onion, zucchini, bell peppers, and garlic.
- Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or stainless steel pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil, once hot add the shrimp in a single layer. Cook for 2 minutes, flip, and cook until opaque, about 1 minute. Transfer to a clean plate.
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan. Once hot, add the onions, saute for 1 minute. Add the zucchini, saute for 2 minutes. Add bell peppers and garlic, saute for 2 minutes. Season vegetables with ½ teaspoon salt, stir to combine.
- Add shrimp back to the pan, stir, and cook for 1 minute to warm.
- Garnish shrimp fajitas with cilantro and serve with lime wedges and warmed tortillas.