The sun seems to be shining more lately, and after all of the freezing cold weather most of us here in the US have been experiencing (snow in San Francisco?!) I’m definitely ready for warmer weather. And flip flops. And throwing everything we eat on the grill. I was drawn to this recipe for Pepitas Shrimp Skewers because I’m antsy to start grilling. And shrimp seems like a spring-y type of food, no?
TK member Eat 80/20 Dietitian (Lindsay) who blogs at Eighty Twenty is a registered dietitian and has put together some incredible shrimp skewers. My favorite part is how she incorporates ground pepitas (one of my favorite seeds) in the shrimp marinade. These skewers would be a flavorful, healthy addition to your next get-together, but they’ll go fast. It’s a good thing this recipe makes a lot!
To make these skewers you’ll need 50 or up to 75 medium shrimp (peeled, tail-on), cotija or Parmesan cheese, roasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), salt, one anaheim pepper, some garlic, plain yogurt, red wine vinegar, heat-safe oil (I used grapeseed instead of canola), pepper, and bunch of fresh cilantro.
First you’ll need to roast the pepper. Anaheim peppers are longer and lighter in color than green bell peppers. They’re very mild, too. If you can’t find fresh Anaheim peppers in your grocery store, simply use a 4-ounce can of diced green chiles instead.
Slice the pepper in half, remove the seeds and white veins and place cut-side down on a foil lined baking sheet. Put it under the oven broiler for 8–10 minutes until the skins have large black spots.
When they come out of the oven, fold the foil around the peppers and let them sit for 5–10 minutes to steam. This should make the peel come off very easily. If you don’t get all the peel off, don’t sweat it.
Get the cilantro ready by taking the bunch and slicing it off where the leaves start to get really dense, avoiding the thicker stems. Give the leaves a rough chop.
Get the cotija cheese ready by crumbling it with your fingers. Have you ever had cotija cheese? The first time I tried it I thought I’d died and gone to Mexican cheese heaven. I love this cheese. It’s salty and fairly dry like feta, but the taste isn’t quite as strong. You could use feta or even fresh Parmesan cheese if you can’t find cotija.
Pour the yogurt into a bowl and give it a whisk to loosen it up.
Grab your food processor or blender and add the roasted chile, pepitas, garlic, salt, pepper, oil, vinegar, and cheese.
Blend or process until no large chunks remain. Doesn’t look so appetizing, but smells great already!
Add the cilantro and blend until smooth. At this point I really think you could use this as a salad dressing.
Dump the lovely green mixture into the bowl with the yogurt.
Whisk it together.
Now dump in all of the shrimp. (See how easy this is?) Stir to ensure the shrimp is coated. I used a little over 50 shrimp, but I think there is enough marinade for up to 75 shrimp.
Time to get your hands dirty! Thread shrimp carefully onto skewers. I like to skewer them in two places so they’re more secure and easier to flip on the grill. If you’re using bamboo skewers, make sure to soak them in water for 30 minutes so they don’t burn.
I ended up with 6 skewers with 8 shrimp per skewer, plus half of another skewer.
Heat your grill up to about medium heat and place skewers on the grates a few at a time. Grill for about 3-4 minutes per side or until the shrimp are no longer gray or translucent. Be careful not to overcook them or they’ll be rubbery. The recipe says 15 minutes total, but mine were done in about half that time. (My grill might have been on the hot side. So keep your eye on them.)
If you don’t have an outdoor BBQ grill, using a grill pan on the stove does a pretty good job. You don’t even have to wait for the snow to melt! I’ve got a cast-iron grill pan that I love and have been using for years. You could even broil them in the oven, turning them once during cooking.
Put the skewers on a platter and serve with lime wedges. Y-U-M.
As I was thinking of something to serve these with I remembered a recipe I ran across in a book for roasted chile and goat cheese tacos. So I threw a few extra Anaheim chiles on the roasting pan, grabbed some goat cheese and homemade corn tortillas …
And ended up with one of the best tacos I’ve had in my life. These shrimp are fantastic by themselves, but whoa, nelly, are they great in tacos. Especially these ones.
Thanks Lindsay for a great new way to cook shrimp! Her blog, Eat 80/20, is all about balance—eating healthy 80% of the time lets you cheat a little for the remaining 20%. In there, you’ll find helpful nutrition tips in addition to a great collection of recipes.
Pepitas are pumpkin seeds without the shell! You can roast and shell your own (maybe after a pumpkin carving?) or purchase them pre-roasted without shells (look in the bulk section of your grocery store). As with any seed or nut, they have lots of healthy fats and fiber!
- 1 whole Anaheim Chile, Roasted, Peeled And Seeded
- ¼ cups Roasted Pepitas
- 1 whole Garlic Clove, Pressed And Minced
- ¼ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ cups Canola Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons Grated Cotija Cheese (or Shredded Parmesan)
- 1 bunch Cilantro, Stemmed
- 1-½ cup Lowfat Yogurt
- 50 whole Shrimp, Peeled, Deveined, Tail-on
Place all ingredients except cilantro, yogurt and shrimp in a blender or food processor. Blend about 10 seconds, then add cilantro little by little until blended smooth (reserve some cilantro for garnish if desired). Place yogurt in a medium stainless steel bowl and mix with a wire whip until smooth. Add the blended ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Add shrimp to the mixture. Refrigerate at least 3 hours. Twenty minutes prior to cooking, soak bamboo skewers in water (to prevent burning).
Preheat grill. Skewer 5-6 shrimp on each stick. Cook over medium heat until done (about 10-15 minutes).
Nutrition info per 2 tablespoons pepitas dressing/marinade: 101 calories, 6 g fat, 3 g protein, 3 g carbohydrates
Nutrition info per 8-9 shrimp: 55 calories, 1 g fat, 11.5 g protein, 0 g carbohydrate, 107mg cholesterol
Be sure to check out Natalie’s own beautiful food blog, Perrys’ Plate, where you can see her growing collection of lovely recipes. There’s always something new to see there. Go visit now!