Chimichurri Shrimp is a true delight in every bite! This recipe features juicy, pan-sauteed shrimp (or prawns) coated in a bright, refreshing, and herby chimichurri sauce.
You can enjoy chimichurri shrimp as an appetizer or use it as a main dish served over rice, quinoa, pasta, or polenta. Or put these in tacos, wraps, or salad bowls. The options are endless!
- Why is This Chimichurri Shrimp Recipe So Good?
- What is Chimichurri Sauce Made of?
- Ingredients You Need
- Instructions (Step-by-Step Photos)
- A Note on Choosing Shrimp
- How to Thaw Frozen Shrimp Quickly
- Other Ways of Cooking Shrimp for This Recipe
- Recipe Variations
- Top Tips
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Serving Ideas for Chimichurri Shrimp
- Leftovers and Storage
Why is This Chimichurri Shrimp Recipe So Good?
- Easy to Make: These shrimp are simple to make and don't require any special ingredients. And the dish comes together in under 30 minutes. Winner winner quick shrimp dinner, anyone?
- Super Versatile: You can serve this delicious dish as a standalone appetizer or as a main course. Serve it with rice, quinoa, pasta, or polenta. Or put these shrimp inside your tacos or wraps. So good!
- Herby and Bright Flavors: The chimichurri sauce is a refreshing blend of parsley, garlic, vinegar, and olive oil, and it lends a bright and tangy flavor to the shrimp/prawn in this dish.
What is Chimichurri Sauce Made of?
Chimichurri is a popular sauce/condiment of Argentine origin and is made using fresh herbs such as parsley and/or cilantro. Other ingredients typically include garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and a few simple spices.
It can be used as both a marinade and a condiment for meat, fish, and vegetable dishes.
Ingredients You Need
Here are some helpful notes on the ingredients you need to make Chimichurri Shrimp. See the recipe card down below for the quantities of these ingredients.
- Shrimp: Use raw, peeled, and deveined shrimp or prawns for this recipe. You can use any size of shrimp or prawns, but large and jumbo shrimp work best. Find some tips here on choosing shrimp, and a quick method to thaw frozen shrimp here.
- Salt and Pepper: The two essential seasonings for both the chimichurri sauce and the shrimp.
- Paprika: Paprika adds a sweet and smoky flavor to the shrimp. You can use other types of paprika like smoked or sweet paprika as substitutes.
- Garlic: Freshly minced or grated garlic works best. I don't find garlic powder to be a good substitute for this recipe.
- Dried Oregano: Crush the dried leaves with your fingers before adding them to the chimichurri. This helps to release the essential oils. You can replace dried oregano with fresh oregano leaves. However, the ratio of fresh to dried oregano will be 3 to 1. So you will need to use three times as much fresh oregano as dried oregano mentioned in my recipe.
- Red Pepper Flakes and Red Chilies: For me, adding a little heat to savory food is a must. But if you don't like a little kick, you can leave out these two ingredients or use them less. Or you can use other types of hot peppers like jalapenos or habaneros.
- Cumin: Ground cumin adds a smoky and earthy flavor to the chimichurri sauce.
- Olive Oil: I use extra virgin olive oil in both the chimichurri sauce and for cooking the shrimp. You can also use other types of healthy cooking oils as substitutes.
- Red Wine Vinegar: This is a mild variety of vinegar that pairs well with the other ingredients in the sauce. Most big grocery stores carry red wine vinegar these days. I got mine from Walmart. If you cannot find red wine vinegar, consider using some other mild vinegar, such as white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar. Harsh vinegar varieties like distilled white vinegar or malt vinegar are not good substitutes as they will overpower other flavors in the sauce.
- Parsley: Fresh parsley is the main herb used in authentic chimichurri sauce, but you can also use cilantro (coriander leaves) or a combination of both. Use flat-leaf parsley (also known as Italian parsley), not curly parsley. Also, use the leaves and tender stems only. Thicker stems of parsley can be tough and fibrous. When measuring chopped parsley for chimichurri, pack it tightly into a measuring cup to ensure you have the right amount.
Instructions (Step-by-Step Photos)
To make chimichurri shrimp, follow these easy, photo-assisted instructions. Be sure to check out the recipe card below for the printable version of this recipe, which includes detailed instructions and all the important recipe notes.
In a large bowl, add the shrimp.
Then add paprika, salt, and ground black pepper.
Mix gently to coat the shrimp. Cover and set aside for 15-30 minutes.
In a separate bowl, add the chimichurri ingredients (chopped parsley, minced garlic, chopped red chili pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes, ground cumin, salt, ground black pepper, olive oil, and red wine vinegar).
Mix to combine. Then add a little warm water, mix again, and set aside.
Now for cooking the shrimp, heat the oil in a large skillet/pan over medium-high heat.
Add the marinated shrimp in a single layer and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until cooked through and opaque. Shrimp can overcook easily, so keep a close eye.
Remove the shrimp from the skillet/pan and transfer to a bowl.
Pour ⅔ portion of chimichurri sauce over the shrimp and gently stir until the shrimp is coated with the sauce.
Serve the chimichurri shrimp with the remaining ⅓ portion of the chimichurri sauce on the side and a few slices/wedges of lemon.
A Note on Choosing Shrimp
For chimichurri shrimp, both fresh and frozen shrimp (or prawns) are good options.
If you choose to use fresh shrimp or prawns, make sure they do not have a strong, pungent smell, as that is a sign of spoilage.
If you are using frozen shrimp, it is important to make sure it is fully thawed before cooking. Partially thawed or cold shrimp will result in uneven cooking. And you'll likely end up overcooking shrimp.
The size of the shrimp depends on your personal preference. I like to use frozen jumbo shrimp from Costco (peeled, tail-on, around 21-25 shrimp per pound).
If you do not have a kitchen scale and are not sure how many shrimp/prawns you should use for this recipe, here is a good chart to refer to.
How to Thaw Frozen Shrimp Quickly
- Remove the shrimp from the packaging and place them in a colander or strainer.
- Fill a large bowl with cold water and place the colander or strainer with the shrimp inside this bowl.
- Let the shrimp sit completely submerged in the cold water for about 10-15 minutes, or until fully thawed.
- Drain the water and gently pat the shrimp dry with a kitchen paper towel.
Note: Do not use hot water for thawing shrimp, as it can cause the shrimp to start cooking.
Other Ways of Cooking Shrimp for This Recipe
While sautéing shrimp in a pan is the main (and perhaps the easiest) method for making Chimichurri Shrimp, there are a few other cooking methods you can use.
- Grilling: Quick and easy method that adds a smoky flavor to the shrimp. Simply thread the shrimp on skewers and grill for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they are opaque and cooked through.
- Broiling: Another fast method for cooking shrimp that allows for a crispy texture on the outside. Arrange the shrimp on a broiler pan and broil for 4-5 minutes on each side until they are cooked through.
- Baking: Great option for cooking large batches of shrimp. Simply arrange the shrimp on a baking sheet, in a single layer, and bake in a preheated oven at 425°F for 8-10 minutes until they are opaque and cooked through.
If you want to switch things up a bit and want to try fun but yummy variations of this chimichurri recipe, try one of these:
- Cilantro-Lime Chimichurri Shrimp: Swap out all the parsley in the chimichurri for cilantro and replace the vinegar with lime juice for a fresh, citrusy twist.
- Chipotle Chimichurri Shrimp: Replace red pepper flakes and the red chili with some minced chipotle pepper (canned pepper in adobo sauce) for a smoky flavor.
- Spicy Chimichurri Shrimp: Add some more crushed red pepper flakes or some minced jalapenos to the chimichurri for a more pronounced kick.
- Herb-Infused Chimichurri Shrimp: Include chopped fresh basil, thyme, or rosemary in the chimichurri for a more layered, herby flavor.
- Mango Chimichurri Shrimp: Mix some diced fresh mango with the chimichurri for a fruity, tropical twist. Surprisingly yum yum!
- Make the chimichurri ahead of time: Chimichurri tastes even better after it's had time to sit. This allows the flavors to meld together. Make the chimichurri a day or two ahead of time, and keep it stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Use a hot pan: Shrimp cook quickly, so you want to make sure your pan is hot before adding them. This will help you get a nice sear on the shrimp and prevent them from overcooking.
- Reheat carefully: To reheat any leftovers, place them in a pan over low heat until warmed through. Be careful not to leave the shrimp reheating for long, as this can cause them to become tough and rubbery.
- Use a food processor: While hand-chopping the ingredients is the best way to make chimichurri, using a food processor is a good option for busy weeknights. Add peeled garlic to the food processor and pulse it until it's finely chopped, then add fresh herbs and pulse again. Be careful to not over-process the ingredients so that the sauce retains some texture. Finally, transfer the chopped ingredients to a bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients.
- Make some extra chimichurri: This can save you time and effort for making other meals, as chimichurri is an extremely versatile condiment and stores well in the fridge. You can use it as a marinade, topping, dipping sauce, salad dressing, flavoring ingredient, condiment, garnish, or spread. It pairs well with grilled meats, seafood, vegetables, bread, fries, empanadas, sandwiches, burgers, tacos, rice, beans, and pasta.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Chimichurri sauce can be mild or spicy depending on the recipe and personal preference. While traditional chimichurri sauce isn't spicy, variations may include spicy ingredients such as crushed red pepper flakes or finely chopped chili peppers. The spiciness can be adjusted by altering the amount of chili or pepper used in the recipe.
Chimichurri Shrimp can be suitable for a variety of dietary lifestyles, including pescatarian, low-carb, keto, gluten-free, and dairy-free diets. This recipe features shrimp as the primary protein source and does not contain any high-carb or gluten-containing ingredients. Also, the recipe does not include any dairy products.
That said, make sure to review the recipe ingredients to confirm if they align with your specific dietary needs, and always seek professional dietary advice.
Yes, you can substitute dried herbs for fresh herbs, but keep in mind that the chimichurri sauce will taste and feel quite different. Fresh herbs provide a brighter flavor and a pleasant texture. If you are using dried herbs, use only a small amount and adjust the seasoning according to your taste. The usual ratio of dried herbs to fresh herbs is 1:3, which means you should use one-third of the amount of dried herbs compared to fresh herbs.
Serving Ideas for Chimichurri Shrimp
- Grain bowls: Serve the chimichurri shrimp over a bed of rice or quinoa for a filling and nutritious meal.
- Tacos and wraps: Use the shrimp as a flavorful filling for tacos or wraps, using your favorite tortilla or some lettuce.
- Skewers: Thread the shrimp on skewers and serve as an appetizer.
- Pasta: Toss the chimichurri shrimp with pasta for a quick and simple meal.
- Salads: Use as the main protein source in a salad and pair with fresh greens for a light and flavorful meal.
- Polenta: Top polenta or grits with this shrimp for a hearty meal.
Leftovers and Storage
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- Unfortunately, chimichurri shrimp does not freeze well.
- When reheating, gently heat the shrimp in a pan/skillet over low to medium heat until it's warmed through. Be careful though, as overheating can make the shrimp rubbery.
Looking for other yummy recipes? Try these:
For chimichurri sauce
- 1 cup (60 g) flat leaf parsley - finely chopped or minced. Measure after chopping. See Note A below
- 3 cloves (1 tablespoon) garlic - freshly minced or grated
- 1 small red chili pepper - finely chopped-optional. Around ¼ tsp chopped chilies. See Note B
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano - see Note C
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes - optional
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar - see Note D
- 1 tablespoon water - use warm water
- 1 pound (454 g) large or jumbo shrimp - raw, peeled and deveined. See Note E
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil - for cooking shrimp
- a few lemon slices/wedges
- In a large bowl, add the shrimp, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Mix gently to coat the shrimp. Cover and set aside for 15-30 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, mix the chimichurri ingredients (chopped parsley, minced garlic, chopped red chili pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes, ground cumin, salt, ground black pepper, olive oil, and red wine vinegar). Then add warm water, mix again, and set aside.
- Now for cooking the shrimp, heat the oil in a large skillet/pan over medium-high heat. Add the marinated shrimp in a single layer and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until cooked through and opaque. Shrimp can overcook easily, so keep a close eye. You can cook the shrimp a few other ways - see this section.
- Remove the shrimp from the skillet/pan and transfer to a bowl. Pour ⅔ portion of chimichurri sauce over the shrimp and gently stir until the shrimp is coated with the sauce.
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