This healthy shrimp tacos recipe with tomatillo salsa, avocado crema, and broccoli slaw couldn’t be easier and totally fit the bill for Taco Tuesday or dinner any night of the week.
If you’re like me and find yourself scrounging the fridge for inspiration on what to make for dinner, tacos seem to always fit the bill. I love my taco recipes for Baja Fish Tacos, Blackened Fish Tacos, and Just Like Taco Bell Tacos. But whenever I spy a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer I know that taco dinner is about to come together quickly and easily. But quick doesn’t mean skimping on taste, because this easy shrimp tacos recipe is loaded with flavor.
This recipe is layered with garlic flavor. First, I steep the garlic in oil to simmer and soften and infuse their garlickiness into the oil the shrimp are then cooked in. I hold onto those jammy garlic cloves and add the soft parts to the avocado crema, along with 1 finely minced fresh clove. This gives the avocado crema a mellow roasted garlic undertone as well as just the right garlic high note. Add to that crunchy broccoli slaw, a generous drizzle of avocado crema, salsa, and cotija cheese or queso fresco and these shrimp tacos come out bangin’.
Ingredients In These Shrimp Tacos
- Frozen shrimp — I choose medium-size white shrimp (41/50 per pound) that are uncooked with the shell on, then peel, devein and remove the tails myself before cooking
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Garlic — 6 cloves, peeled then smashed but kept whole
- Lime juice — always from fresh limes
- Cilantro — leaves only
- Sour cream
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Broccoli and carrot slaw or cabbage slaw
- Street taco flour tortillas or white corn tortillas
- Tomatillo salsa verde
Make Jammy Garlic
Smash the peeled garlic cloves. Reserve one garlic clove that will be minced and added raw to the avocado crema. To the others, lay the flat edge of a heavy chef’s knife over a garlic clove and give it a swift smack with the heel of your hand. This releases the peel and smashes the clove at the same time. Doing so releases the oils, aka flavor, as well.
Simmer whole garlic cloves in oil. We aren’t browning the garlic, it’s more of a steep in oil to slowly turn golden and jammy and infuse the oil with flavor. Squeeze the soft parts from the garlic cloves to be used in the avocado crema. Discard the browned outer parts, or if you feel like it, finely mince them then add to the shrimp after cooking.
Make the Avocado Crema
Chop the fresh garlic, jammy garlic, lime juice, and cilantro in a small food processor. You want to mince the garlic and herbs into a fine paste before adding the soft ingredients (sour cream and avocado) or the crema will turn out chunky. I use my hand-held KitchenAid 5-speed hand blender for small blending tasks like this. It’s one of my favorite kitchen tools.
Add the sour cream and avocado and blend. Give the whole batch a few whizzes and season with kosher salt to taste. Add more lime to taste or if you like a thinner sauce. This can be made 1-2 days in advance if you like. The acid from the lime should keep the avocado from turning.
Sauté the Shrimp
Cook the shrimp in the same skillet used for steeping the garlic. I don’t add extra spices like taco seasoning, ground cumin, or chili powder to the shrimp. I like a more pure flavor and the garlic from the oil. Season the shrimp with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper then bring the skillet to medium heat and add the shrimp, cooking for 2 minutes per side.
Warm the tortillas. I use tongs to place the tortillas over an open flame on my gas stove, flipping them quickly so they don’t burn. Or, layer the tortillas in foil and place in the oven for 10 minutes or so to become warm and pliable. Or even easier, fold the tortillas in a dish towel and microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds.
Assemble the Shrimp Tacos
For each taco:
- Stack 2 corn tortillas together and spread a spoonful or two of the avocado crema on the top tortilla.
- Add a pile of broccoli or cabbage slaw and 4-5 shrimp
- Top with queso fresco, tomatillo salsa, and garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve with lime wedges.
Substitutions and Additions
- Add sliced jalapeño or quick-pickled onions
- Add chopped pineapple, diced mango, or mango salsa
- Pico de gallo is always welcome at a taco feast
What to Serve With Shrimp Tacos
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Crema
- 1 pound frozen medium uncooked shrimp , look for 41/50 per pound
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves , peeled
- 2 limes
- ½ cup cilantro leaves plus more for garnish
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 avocado , peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 8-12 white corn tortillas
- ½ cup broccoli and carrot slaw
- queso fresco or cotija cheese
- mild tomatillo salsa verde
- freshly ground black pepper
- Thaw the shrimp and peel the shells off of the shrimp and discard. Season the shrimp with a sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, gently toss and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Smash 5 of the garlic cloves with the side of a heavy knife and place in the skillet, reserving the additional garlic clove. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the garlic for 8-10 minutes, occasionally turning the cloves until the garlic is fragrant and lightly browned all over. Remove the garlic from the pan, set aside, and remove the pan from the heat, saving it to cook the shrimp in later.
- While the garlic is simmering, finely mince the remaining clove of garlic and add it to the bowl of a food processor. Chop the softest parts of the reserved cooked garlic and add to the food processor. Add the juice of 1 lime and ½ cup cilantro leaves. Whiz the food processor until the leaves and garlic are finely chopped. Add the sour cream, the chopped avocado, and the kosher salt and blend until the mixture is smooth and combined.
- Bring the pan with the reserved garlic oil to medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from heat so the shrimp don't overcook.
- Stack and cover the corn tortillas in a dish towel and microwave for 30 seconds.
- For each taco, stack 2 corn tortillas together and spread a spoonful or two of the avocado crema on the top tortilla. Add some broccoli slaw, 4-5 shrimps, and top with queso fresco, tomatillo salsa, and garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve with lime wedges.
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