Fajitas are one of the most recognizable Tex-Mex dishes around. Their popularity extends from Southern California to East Texas, and even over the border into Northern Mexico. Traditionally fajitas are made with skirt or flank steak, however I find these shrimp fajitas to be a delicious alternative.
Shrimp fajitas are especially good for those who don’t eat red meat, or just prefer a pescatarian diet. The seasonings are almost the same, and just like all good fajitas they should be served with warm corn tortillas.
For this recipe I am using about two pounds of peeled and de-veined shrimp (roughly one kilo). You can use any kind of shrimp or prawn you like, but I would recommend using large ones as they are less likely to overcook.
World of Shrimp? Try my other popular global shrimp recipes like Hong Kong Black Bean Shrimp, Turkish Saffron Shrimp, or my Indian inspired Butter Shrimp.
Other than the star ingredient, the other shrimp fajitas ingredients are quite standard. In fact, they are basically what you would use with beef fajitas as well. Feel free to add or swap out what I have listed if there is something you prefer.
2 lbs Shrimp (about 1 kg) – peeled and deveined. Aim for large sized prawns as they are less likely to overcook on the grill.
3 tbsp Lime Juice – freshly squeezed is best, but bottled works fine in this recipe as we are going to cook the shrimp later.
2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Dry Oregano
1/2 tsp Chili Powder – feel free to increase this amount if you like these fajitas more spicy. I usually add some of my homemade hot sauce when I eat them so I tend to keep the spice level low in the dry rub.
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper – Freshly Cracked
We can’t forget the vegetables! For shrimp fajitas I use the exact same vegetables I would use for beef fajitas. In this case bell pepper and onion.
It doesn’t matter what color bell pepper or onion you use as pretty much everything works. I just chose yellow and red for the color. That’s also why I used a purple onion, even though white would be more traditional. Use what you prefer!
Making Shrimp Fajitas
In a bowl place the shrimp and add all the dry rub ingredients. I use my hands to lightly massage the powders on the shrimp so they are all evenly coated.
Slice your vegetables into strips. It may look like a ton of vegetables but note that they will shrink drastically when you cook them. Bell peppers and onion both have a very high water content.
Time to grill! I like to make fajitas on a grill the traditional way. Just put down a few grill pans and get going. I suggest cooking the shrimp separate from the vegetables as they have different cook times. It’s important that the shrimp do not overcook and turn to rubber.
You can do this on a pan instead. If you don’t want to fire up the grill, you can do this in your kitchen using pans. I do suggest using two separate pans just like on the grill.
Whatever way you decide to cook, make sure to drizzle a little oil over the vegetables to help kickstart the cooking process. I like a nice char on my veggies and oil helps with this. You can also sprinkle some salt and black pepper before tossing them on the grill/pan as well.
Shrimp cook very fast, a lot faster than most people think. I can’t count the number of times I order shrimp and it’s a little O-shaped piece of rubber.
Here’s a tip for cooking shrimp: Flip them as soon as they begin to tighten (yes, usually around the 10 second mark). Then pull them off once they curl into a capital C shape. Even if they seem undercooked, don’t worry. The shrimps will finish cooking with their residual heat.
When everything is done place it all into a large clean bowl and give a good toss to mix. Serve these tasty shrimp fajitas with some warm corn tortillas and some homemade pico de gallo!
Fajita Side Dishes
If you are cooking these shrimp fajitas as the main dish for a group of people, it’s likely you are also making some other dishes. After all, what is a backyard cookout without all the yummy sides. Why not make some esquites or a fresh mango guacamole to go with your fajitas.
- 1 Bowl
- 1 Grill can do this on the stovetop as well
- 2 Grill Pans
- 2 lbs Shrimp about 1 kg – peeled and deveined. Aim for large sized prawns as they are less likely to overcook on the grill.
- 3 tbsp Lime Juice freshly squeezed is best but bottled works fine in this recipe as we are going to cook the shrimp later.
- 2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Dry Oregano
- 1/2 tsp Chili Powder feel free to increase this amount if you like these fajitas more spicy. I usually add some of my homemade hot sauce when I eat them so I tend to keep the spice level low in the dry rub.
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper Freshly Cracked
- 2 large Bell Peppers
- 1 large Onion
- In a bowl combine the shrimp with the rest of the non-vegetable ingredients. Lightly massage the shrimp with your hands to evenly coat. Set aside and do the vegetables.
- Slice the bell pepper and onion into thick slices as they will reduce a lot on the grill. Place in a bowl and drizzle with some oil. Feel free to sprinkle over some salt and pepper here too.
- Place the grill pans on a hot grill/BBQ. Place the vegetables on one pan and the shrimp on another. I suggest starting the vegetables first as they take a little longer to cook.
- Remove the vegetables when they reduce in size by about half and get a nice char on them. Flip the shrimp after the first 10-15 seconds and then remove them as soon as they start to curl into a C shape. Shrimp take about a minute or less to cook at high heat so be careful not to overcook them. They will finish cooking with their residual heat and after combining them with the vegetables.
- Put the shrimp and vegetables into a large clean bowl. Give a good toss to mix and serve alongside some warm corn tortillas.
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