This month’s recipe challenge for my partnership with McCormick was to create a fresh and healthy Mexican-inspired dinner recipe. It was really warm out on Wednesday night, making it the perfect time to take on the challenge! And so these Mexican Shrimp Salad Bowls were born. Kind of like Chipotle with a twist.
The highlight of this recipe is the sauce. I made a variation on Chimichurri sauce to cook the shrimp, using cilantro instead of parsley and adding some fun McCormick seasonings to amp up the flavor.
I decided to use a mix of my old favorite cumin, plus ground cayenne red pepper and smoked paprika. Have you tried smoked paprika before? It’s amazing – we’ve been tossing it into everything!
Here’s the full sauce recipe, if you’re interested in trying it! This would go really well with chicken or beef instead of shrimp, too, or even black beans!
Chimichurri Sauce (makes ~2 servings)
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. (packed) fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp. each of: ground cumin, ground red pepper, and smoked paprika
And that’s it! Just mix all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl, then cook your shrimp (or other protein) in it over medium high heat until fully cooked. I used frozen shrimp – enough for two servings.
Once the shrimp/meat is cooked (if using beans, just sauté it lightly or use the sauce as a salad dressing instead), you can assemble your bowls! Get creative here and feel free to mix it up. To add some volume and nutrients to the mix, I started the bowls with some baby kale. Did you know kale is packed with vitamins A, C, and K? If you don’t have baby kale, try baby spinach, or arugula, or mixed greens! I love starting dishes like this with greens.
Next up in the bowl was some simple brown rice. If you want, you could throw the rice into the pan with the shrimp and sauce to add extra flavor, or you can add it on plain. Quinoa would also work well here, as would barley. You can also leave out the grain and have some chips on the side instead!
I topped it off some extra veggie power – chopped green pepper and a really ripe tomato – and the shrimp. Be sure to add both the shrimp AND the leftover sauce in the pan – it will do double duty as your “dressing.”
The final step was some extra fresh cilantro and a little cracked pepper. After I took these photos, Matt and I realized that we had forgotten an integral part of Mexican meals (as far as we’re concerned): avocado! A little avocado really rounded things out.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy dinner idea, give this a shot! Matt is normally not a huge shrimp person and even he loved it – the sauce is so flavorful that the shrimp wasn’t fishy tasting at all.
Here are some tips from McCormick to mix up your Mexican-inspired dishes this summer:
- Fuse Mexican dishes with flavors from other parts of the world. For example, bring a touch of Spain to your tacos by using Smoked Paprika.
- Add Mexican flair to non-traditional Mexican cuisine – like a Mexican Bloody Mary featuring tomatillos, cucumbers and cilantro. (Their Tomatilla Maria recipe sounds awesome!)
- Consider regional Mexican cuisines like Adobo Chicken Quesadillas in a tangy citrus and tomato sauce. Some other recipes of theirs that caught my eye: Shrimp and Queso Fresco Empanadas with Charred Tomatillo Sauce, Salmon Tostada with Chamoy and Charred Corn Relish, and Mexican Slow-Roasted Pork (Cochinita Pibil)
If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it! What are your favorite healthy Mexican-inspired recipes? Here are a couple more of mine:
- Mexican Lasagna <— one of my favorite recipes ever
- Mexican Quinoa Salad (vegan & super easy)
- Mexican-style Sweet Potato Fries
- Mexican Black Bean Burgers (vegan)
- Mexican Brown Rice Casserole (this makes another great quick dinner)