Shrimp Veracruz

A skillet meal for summer, light and full of flavor with the traditional foods from the cuisine of Veracruz, Mexico: seafood, olives and capers plus healthy summer vegetables, eggplant and tomatoes.

Shrimp Veracruz, another one-pot Quick Supper ♥ Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy. Low Carb. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly. Gluten Free.

A Kitchen Parade "Quick Supper". Real Food, Fast & Fresh. Budget Friendly. Easy Weeknight Supper. One-Pot Meal. Low Carb. Low Fat. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free. All that? Hey, what're you waiting for?!

You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for ... Quick Suppers.

"Quick Supper" is shorthand here on Kitchen Parade, a tradition of home cooking, family-friendly meals and a repertoire of healthy weeknight dinner ideas.

Since way back in 2005, Quick Suppers are my antidote to the prevailing trend for "quick" recipes. You know how Rachael Ray 30-minute recipes result in a huge pile of pots and pans and a bazillion calories? You know how too many quick recipes call for $25/pound fresh salmon?

It's always a balance but with each Quick Supper recipe, I shoot for two, three and even all four of these goals:

  • ... go easy on the budget (with pantry staples and less expensive groceries)
  • ... go easy on the clock (mindful that hungry folk need to eat asap!)
  • ... go easy on the waistline (with lots of veggies and healthy proteins)
  • ... go easy on the dishwasher (with lots of one-skillet, sheetpan and other low dish-count meals)

If you haven't checked out Kitchen Parade's Quick Suppers recipe collection for awhile, maybe now's the time? Maybe it warrants a bookmark? :-)

Weight Watchers people, you'll find Quick Supper recipes highlighted among all the Weight Watchers recipes, all sorted by points, of course.

Kitchen Parade's entire Recipe Box is super-organized, I hope you find lots of weeknight meal inspiration!

Let's start with Shrimp Veracruz.

Um. So Food-Wise, What Is Veracruz, Anyway?

The state of Veracruz is on the eastern coast of Mexico, a long skinny state stretching along the Gulf of Mexico. The cuisine in Veracruz has three main influences: indigenous cultures, Spanish and Afro-Cuban. But let's add a fourth influence: proximity to the sea!

Nowadays, a dish dubbed "Veracruz" suggests seafood, olives and capers. And sure enough, Shrimp Veracruz calls for all three.

For Word Dancers! What other words similarly provide a shorthand understanding of what's in a dish? Think Florentine (anything with spinach and mornay sauce) and Provençal (from the south of France, with garlic and olive oil). Who can add others? My mind's gone blank!

Shrimp Veracruz, another one-pot Quick Supper ♥ Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy. Low Carb. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly. Gluten Free.

What's In Shrimp Veracruz? Pantry Ingredients!

In all my recipes and most well-written recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

  • Shrimp (duh) Frozen shrimp is easy to keep on hand for impromptu suppers. Fresh shrimp would work too.

  • Piles of Veggies Onion, garlic, red bell pepper, eggplant and lots of tomato.

  • Three Different Tomato Products This is a flavor-building trick I learned when translating restaurant recipes for home cooks for my (now former) column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
    Canned tomato offers convenience and consistency in bulk. (I'm recently enamored with fire-roasted canned tomatoes. Anyone else using them too?)
    Then dense, tomato-y tomato paste helps deepen and darken the tomato flavors in a hurry. (And hey, you know how it seems like you only use a tablespoon or two of tomato paste and the rest goes to waste? No more! How to Freeze Tomato Paste, it works so-so well!)
    But the real trick comes at the end. Toss in some fresh tomato! There's just something wonderful about the texture and temperature contrast. If you want to taste this contrast in a big way, try Fresh-Tomato Chili.

  • Seasoning Cumin and smoked paprika are a wonderful combo, the recipe calls for just enough to deepen and darken the sauce, not to shout out their presence.

  • Salt! Even with the other seasonings, it's important to be generous with the salt here, so many vegetables to light up a little.

  • The Last-Minute Additions: Fresh Tomato, Olives & Capers Tomato is explained just above. But the olives and capers go in last so they don't really cook, per se, they just get warmed through and add lovely bursts of texture and saltiness. And besides, olives and capers are what make this a "veracruz" dish!

You Might Wonder Be Wondering ...

Can You Use Fresh Shrimp? Yes! Frozen shrimp is handy but there's nothing like fresh shrimp for big-big flavor. Since fresh shrimp cooks more quickly than frozen, watch the recipe instructions for details on both.

Are There Good Substitutes for the Shrimp? Yes! A firm-fleshed white fish would work well, especially snapper, I think.

Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

What Makes This Recipe Special

  • Easy clean-up, thanks to one skillet
  • Easy stove-to-table serving, thanks to one skillet
  • Lots of vegetables seasoned to form a spiced (not spicy-hot) sauce that hugs the shrimp and soaks into the rice served alongside
  • Nearly all the ingredients are easily kept on hand for days and even weeks, the exception is the eggplant, which needs cooking within a couple of days of bringing it home
  • Filling but low in calories and high in protein, leaving room for, I dunno, how about Mexican Mango Trifle (Ante de Mango)? or a tres leches cake (recipe coming next spring!)? Or stay in healthy mode with a summer version of Mexican Fruit Salad ...

  • Ready to get started? Here's your recipe!
Shrimp Veracruz, another one-pot Quick Supper ♥ Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy. Low Carb. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly. Gluten Free.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time-to-table: 45 minutes
Makes 7 cups
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt!

  • 1 medium eggplant (1lb/450g), diced in 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt!

  • 1 15-ounce (411g) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 "can" water (just use the tomato can to measure)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 pound peeled still-frozen shrimp
  • Salt!
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1/2 cup chopped olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato
  • White Rice cooked with 1 teaspoon cumin seed

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil until shimmery on medium heat. Stir in the onion and pepper, coating with oil; let cook until just beginning to soften and turn color, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute. Along the way, season with salt!

Stir in the eggplant, cumin and paprika and let cook, stirring often, until eggplant is fully cooked. Along the way, taste and season with salt!

Stir in the canned tomatoes, water and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Along the way, taste and season with salt!

Stir in shrimp and return to a boil. Let simmer gently for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as necessary, until the shrimp is fully cooked and the tomato mixture thickens slightly, cooking off much of the liquid. Along the way, taste and season with salt!

Just before serving, stir in the capers, olives and fresh tomatoes and warm through.

Serve with white rice or crusty bread, something to lap up the gorgeous sauce.

FRESH SHRIMP TIP Fresh shrimp cooks much more quickly than still-frozen shrimp. So add fresh shrimp later in the cooking process, I'd aim for about five minutes in the simmering sauce, right before adding the fresh tomato, capers and olives.

HOW TO TELL WHEN SHRIMP IS COOKED With both fresh and frozen shrimp, be sure to fully cook the shrimp. Here's how to visually tell when the shrimp is done. The shrimp will tighten and curl a bit. The flesh will turn from gray/translucent to white/opaque. Watch as it happens, soon you'll be a master at cooking shrimp for just the right amount of time!

TIMING TIP If you're making rice, get it started while the onions and pepper cook.

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS Best made and served on the spot.

LEFTOVERS taste good but the shrimp becomes increasingly tough when reheated.

VARIATIONS Sprinkle with feta or mini balls of fresh mozzarella? Not traditional but who cares? Delicious!

ALANNA's TIPS As you cook, keep tasting and seasoning! Help the flavors develop by seasoning throughout the cooking process rather than just at the end. This dish needs a good measure of salt, just think how many pounds of vegetables go into the skillet! For a real shrimp feast, double the shrimp, there's plenty-plenty sauce. Cooking rice with cumin seed? Oh my heavens. So simple, so good.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup: 113 Calories; 2g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 40mg Cholesterol; 734mg Sodium; 12g Carb; 4g Fiber; 6g Sugar; 13g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 0 & PointsPlus 2 & SmartPoints 3 & Freestyle 1 & myWW green 1 & blue 1 & purple 1

Shrimp: Perfect for Summer!

~ shrimp recipes ~

Stir-Fried Shrimp with Asparagus or other Fresh Summer Vegetables, another Quick Supper ♥, just shrimp and your choices of vegetables tossed in an addictive sweet 'n' sour sauce. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly. Gluten Free.
Sweet-Corn Soup with Shrimp ♥, familiar ingredients combined into something unusual and surprising. Serve chilled in summer, warm in the spring. Fresh & Seasonal. High Protein.
Shrimp with Tomatoes, Spinach & Feta ♥, one of my favorite suppers in a long time, shrimp cooked in a nest of fresh or canned tomatoes, spinach and feta cheese.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ bell pepper recipes ~
~ eggplant ~
~ tomatoes ~
~ shrimp ~
~ capers ~
~ olives ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.