Spicy Shrimp Nachos are one of my favorite quick meals, especially for a quick lunch.
You cannot go wrong with fresh shrimp on a bed of crispy, warm tortilla chips, oozing with melted cheese and a spicy Habanero-Key Lime vinaigrette.
If you buy precooked, deveined shrimp with the tails off, there’s almost no effort involved. Key to this recipe is a Habanero-Key Lime vinaigrette, a Bobby Flay recipe that I’ve tweaked.
Spicy Shrimp Nachos
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Does anything say party food to you like nachos?
But, as a germaphobe, I won’t go near a plate of nachos at a party.
Too many fingers. Too much possible contamination.
I wasn’t always like that but turning into a middle-aged woman has made me sensible.
But, nachos are perfect for a party of two or three for a Saturday lunch.
How to Make Shrimp Nachos:
Making nachos relies on you using your instincts and following what you think best.
This isn’t like a baking a three layer cake, ingredient amounts are approximate.
Consider the shredded cheese, I use about a cup and a half for a half sheet pan size of nachos.
If that seems excessive to you, use less cheese.
If you sprinkle two cups of shredded cheese on the nachos and you still think there are bare spots, feel free to pile on more.
You’re the one eating it, after all.
Let my recipe just be a guide.
You must make the marinade however. You know how nachos can seem dry even if you’re using a ridiculous amount of cheese?
This spicy sweet marinade keeps the nachos from being too dry and ties everything together.
Don’t even think of squeezing key limes for the sauce, key lime juice is fine. I like Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice, which you can find with the mixers at your grocery store liquor aisle.
If you don’t have key lime juice, you can use regular limes but in that case, you must use fresh. Bottled lime juice won’t cut it.
- 3.5 ounces tortilla chips
- 12 cooked shrimp, medium or large (not jumbo), deveined with tails off
- 1.5 cups your choice of shredded cheese or xx ounces. I like Monterey jack or mozzarella
- Habanero- Key Lime Vinaigrette (2 garlic cloves, 1/4 cup key lime juice such as Nellie and Joe's, 1 tablespoon of honey or molasses, a 1/4 cup cilantro, half a habanero pepper, 1/2 cup canola oil or mild olive oil.
- Salsa, a half cup or more
- Cilantro, shredded, a couple Tablespoons
- Sour cream for garnish
- Sliced or chunks of avocado for garnish
Make marinade. In a food processor or blender, blend garlic through habanero pepper until smooth. Slowly add oil pulsing until completely combined. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375F
Put a piece of parchment paper on baking sheet (I like to use a jelly roll pan for nachos)
Scatter tortilla chips over parchment paper. You want them in a rectangle of sorts so that some of the chips are overlaying other chips. If you thoroughly spread the chips over every corner of the sheet pan, you’re going to have to use more cheese to get everything covered.
Bake chips for three minutes to get them all toasty and start the crisping process.
Remove chips from oven and scatter ¾ of shredded cheese evenly over the chips.
Place shrimps over the chips.
Drizzle a couple tablespoons of marinade over the shrimp and the tortilla chips. Not too much.
Scatter the remaining shredded cheese over the top and put pan back in oven.
Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until cheese has melted and some of the tortilla chips have begun to brown on the edges.
Remove pan from oven and put dollops of salsa here and there over the top of the nachos.
Sprinkle with cilantro, if using.
I like to serve on a baking pan so I carefully lift each side of the parchment and transfer to a cool baking pan for serving.
Serve with a side of sour cream, guacamole and or more salsa for dipping.
Serves two to three as an appetizer. Serves two for a meal.
A note on tortilla chips: you really want to use a good tortilla chip for this recipe since the chips play a major role.
See the video I've attached of Chef Matt showing you how to make your own tortilla chips at home.
If you can't be bothered to make your own, buy a bag at your nearest Mexican restaurant or get a decent quality chip from the grocery store.
I really like Xochitl Mexican Style Tortilla Chips. They are thin and crispy but sturdy. Look for them in the natural food section at your grocer.
You want to use a good melty cheese like Monterey Jack or mozzarella for Spicy Shrimp Nachos but cheddar would also suffice. I wouldn’t use a cheese with a strong flavor but that’s me. If you have a smoked cheddar or a smoked swiss, that might be good.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 708Total Fat: 82gSaturated Fat: 27gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 74gCholesterol: 147mgSodium: 1784mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 11gSugar: 10gProtein: 34g
Spicy Shrimp Nacho Recipe Notes
What Kind of Shrimp Should I Buy?
I’m a big proponent of buying wild fish and seafood whenever possible.
The flavor and texture is better than farm-raised fish and seafood, in my opinion, and better for you.
Look for U.S.-farmed whiteleg shrimp; giant tiger prawns from Selva Shrimp-verified farms; shrimp farmed worldwide in indoor recirculating tanks; and Northern shrimp caught with traps in Nova Scotia, Canada. Wild-caught shrimp from the U.S. is a “Good Alternative” excluding ridgeback prawns from California or shrimp caught with skimmer trawls in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico except when it’s from Florida. Over 90% of shrimp on the U.S. market is imported.–Seafoodwatch.org
Whatever you get, the shrimp should be small or medium. Use large if you want but smaller is easier to navigate with tortilla chips.
If you can get your hands on tiny shrimp–like Canadian shrimp–that would be best.
When I say tiny shrimp–I’m not talking about brine shrimp or salad shrimp.
I’m talking about shrimp that comes in a count of 61 to 70 shrimp per pound.
I wouldn’t use jumbo shrimp because I think that will make the nachos unwieldy.
If you’re preparing shrimp nachos for your younger children and you’re using medium or large, maybe give the shrimp a rough chop so the pieces aren’t too big.
Are you looking for more fish and seafood recipes?
Shrimp Nachos Calories
Shrimp Nachos, at least the way I’ve made them, contain 708 calories per serving.
I’ve calculated the nutrition information using an app on my phone called Lose It! It seems to be pretty reliable.
How do like to eat nachos? Have you had shrimp nachos before?