I love using shrimp for easy and fast weeknight dinners. They cook super quickly, and are so versatile. This spicy shrimp with avocado aioli is a new favorite. The shrimp are hot and tangy, and pair so well with tart, creamy avocado aioli. This is an easy, fast, and delicious paleo shrimp recipe that’s perfect for January Whole30 – or any other night!
I grew up summering and day-tripping to the Jersey shore, and developed a deep affection for all things seafood – especially shrimp. I wasn’t much of a foodie back then, but I didn’t need to be because it was the 80’s – shrimp cocktail was all the rage, and I was in heaven.
It took me years to appreciate the briny, buttery notes of super fresh shrimp. Even though shrimp cocktail still makes a regular appearance on my plate, my horizons have decidedly broadened in the last decade, and both my belly and my tastebuds are thrilled with that evolution.
This spicy shrimp with avocado aioli is an easy, fast, and super delicious product of my adult cooking adventures. The shrimp are tangy and just fiery enough, perfectly balanced by the creamy, tart avocado aioli.
This recipe is ridiculously easy to pull together, and perfect for both entertaining and weeknight cooking. It only takes 30 minutes start to finish – faster if you have a helper to peel the shrimp. I served it with my garlic mashed yucca to keep the entire meal perfectly (and deliciously) Whole30 compliant. You could also toss these guys onto a platter and serve with the avocado aioli on the side. Paleo comfort food, coming right up!
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Spicy Shrimp with Avocado Aioli Recipe Notes
This marinade for spicy shrimp takes just minutes to whip up, and the shrimp cook in a snap under your broiler. The hardest part of this recipe is peeling the shrimp, and even that’s a breeze if you use frozen shrimp.
I use both chili powder and red pepper flakes for the perfect balance of spice + heat, and you can scale up or down to adjust to your preferences. I’m not generally a fan of super spicy foods – I prefer just a kick – and the portions below were just right for me.
A big hit of both lime juice and zest take the edge off the heat and add tang. Cilantro keeps the flavor bright and fresh. If you’re not into cilantro, swap it for parsley. No big.
Whisk up the marinade, toss it with the shrimp, and set it aside while you make the avocado aioli. You can marinate the shrimp and pop it into the fridge first thing in the morning for dinner, but these guys don’t need a long marinade. It’d be purely for convenience.
While the shrimp is doing its quick little marinade, you’ll whip up the avocado aioli. I blend it all in a food processor to make it super smooth. It can be done without, but it’s a lot of mashing (avocado) and mincing (garlic) and I’d much prefer the food processor do the work for me. Some might call it lazy, but I’ll go ahead and call it efficient.
The spicy shrimp cook in three or four minutes under your broiler, and you’re done. We had this over mashed yucca. If you’d rather not bother with the yucca mash, they’d be awesome over a green salad dressed with a little olive oil and squeeze of lemon, or over rice or cauliflower rice.
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Spicy Lime Shrimp with Avocado Aioli
This paleo spicy shrimp with avocado aioli is an easy and fast weeknight dinner recipe. It's the perfect balance of spicy, hot, tart, and tangy!
Spicy Lime Shrimp
- 2 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 lime zested and juiced
- 1 avocado
- 1/3 c paleo mayo
- 1/2 tsp sea or kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
Peel the shrimp, rinse to remove any grit, drain well, and place in a large bowl. Prepare the marinade. Chop the cilantro, juice and zest the lime, and mince the garlic. Combine the prepared cilantro, lime juice, lime zest, chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Add the oil and whisk to combine.
Pour the marinade over the shrimp. Using tongs or your (clean) hands, toss the shrimp with the marinade until each mix piece of shrimp is uniformly covered. Set the shrimp aside in the fridge for a quick marinade while you prepare the aioli.
Place the garlic and lime juice into the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until the garlic is minced. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the lime zest, avocado, mayo, salt and a pepper. Process until the aioli comes together and is smooth. If you prefer a thinner consistency, add water, one teaspoon at a time, until your desired consistency is reached. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
Place an oven rack on the highest setting, or roughly 4-5” below the broiler element, then preheat the broiler to high. Arrange the shrimp on a baking sheet in a single layer. Place the shrimp on the baking sheet and broil for 3-4 minutes, until the flesh is pink. Watch the shrimp carefully and be sure not to overcook, or they will turn rubbery. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with additional fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.
The shrimp can be marinated in advance and placed in the fridge for up to 8 hours.
These spicy shrimp do not reheat particularly well, as they get rubbery. Leftovers can be chilled and eaten cold. They keep in the fridge for an additional 24 hours.
The recipe for garlic yucca mash, as pictured in the recipe card, can be found here.
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