These Shrimp Rice Bowls with seasoned shrimp, steamed rice, and a creamy cilantro sauce are your new favorite healthy bowl recipes! They are quick, easy to make, and great for dinner or meal prep.
These easy Shrimp and Rice Bowls made with delicious sauteed shrimp, the most delicious creamy cilantro sauce, veggies, and rice come together in less than 20 minutes! Add all your favorite toppings and vegetables for an easy healthy meal.
You'll want to make these amazing shrimp bowls as soon as possible. As we continue to cook at home, I am craving new flavors and have been really missing this amazing shrimp, rice, and veggie bowl I love from a local cafe.
Inspired by those flavors, I whipped up these rice bowls last week. We have also been making this easy sushi bowl recipe on repeat.
The real star of this dish is the amazing green cilantro and mint sauce. It is inspired by Peruvian Aji Verde, a green sauce made with fresh cilantro, jalapeno, mint, garlic, and lime juice. It tastes good on everything.
Now when it comes to serving this dish, you can customize these bowls with all different veggies, fresh herbs, and extra lime. You can even swap out the protein (the salmon in these salmon sushi bowls would be delish) or grains. Just don't miss the sauce!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here is everything you need to make these tasty shrimp rice bowls.
- Shrimp: Any type of shrimp works in this easy bowl recipe, but medium to large shrimp are recommended. Make sure to buy shelled and deveined raw shrimp for the easiest option. Frozen shrimp are fine, just defrost them before cooking.
- Spices: To ensure the shrimp is full of flavor, give it a quick marinade in olive oil, lime juice, paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Switch up the spices to match the flavor profile you want. These are delicious with taco seasoning, blackening seasoning, or lemon pepper.
- Rice: Use any kind of rice you like including white rice or brown rice. The bowls can also be made with quinoa or another grain. Add some fresh lime juice and cilantro to the rice for even more flavor.
- Cilantro sauce: This sauce is made with a combination of Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, mint, and jalapeno. Leave out the jalapeno if you don't like things spicy. Swap in basil or parsley if you aren't a fan of cilantro.
Build Your Own Shrimp and Rice Bowls
When making any kind of rice or grain bow, always start with the ingredients that take the longest. Then while those cook, you can continue to prep everything else.
1. Prepare the rice or grains
Start by making white rice, brown rice, quinoa, sushi rice, or other grain. This can be made on the stovetop, Instant pot, or a rice cooker. To speed up prep, consider using precooked packaged or frozen rice.
For a lighter option, consider using a bed of greens or cauliflower rice. We love these bowls with this cilantro lime cauliflower rice.
2. Prep the toppings and sauce
Now it's time to make the amazing cilantro mint sauce. This sauce couldn't be easier to make!
Simply add the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, cilantro, mint, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper to a blender or food processor. Process the sauce until it is creamy and smooth. Taste and season as needed.
Like most sauces, this cilantro mint sauce only gets better the longer it sits in the fridge, If you can, prep it a day in advance
A few notes on the ingredients in the sauce. This sauce can be made with Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, or sour cream.
I like to use a combination of Greek yogurt and mayonnaise because it's lighter but you still get that rich, creamy, mayo flavor that cuts through some of the tartness of the yogurt. Play around with the ingredients until it's exactly what you like! This includes the amount of jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, and mint. It's all customizable!
This is also the time to prep any other toppings or vegetables you plan to add. Slice up the cucumbers, carrots, or avocado. Prep any beans or corn. Chop lettuce or herbs. Get it all ready to go since the shrimp cooks so quickly.
3. Cook the shrimp
Shrimp is a very fast-cooking protein, so don't cook it until you are almost ready to eat. Here are three easy ways to cook shrimp. Feel free to change up these spices as well, these bowls would be delicious with Cajun shrimp (like the ones in these shrimp tacos) or spicy shrimp, like in these spicy shrimp sushi bowls.
- Sauteed: It's so easy to cook shrimp in a skillet. Once the shrimp is seasoned with the spices, simply heat up the oil in a skillet and cook the shrimp for 2-3 minutes on each side until it is opaque, light pink, and has curled into a "C" shape. Make sure not to overcook the shrimp, the exact cooking time will depend on the size of the shrimp.
- Grilled: Shrimp is really delicious on the grill. The easiest method is to do this in a grill basket or on skewers since the shrimp can fall through the grates. Cook it for 2-3 minutes on each side.
- Baked: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the shrimp in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 4-6 minutes until cooked through or broil it for 3-4 minutes.
When is shrimp done? Shrimp is done well it is opaque and light pink in color. It will also slightly curl into a C shape, but it shouldn't curl into a circle. When shrimp curls too much, it is a sign it is overcooked.
4. Assemble the bowls
Now it's time to put the bowls together! Start with the rice or grains. Layer in the shrimp and vegetables. Drizzle on the cilantro sauce!
If prepping these in advance, pack the sauce and any fragile vegetables or toppings separately. More on that is below.
Shrimp Rice Bowl Variations
These delicious shrimp bowls can be customized based on what you have at home in your fridge, freezer, and pantry. They can be made spicy or mild, with rice or a low-carb option, with shrimp or another protein - the options are endless.
- Make it low carb: For a low-carb option, serve this over some cauliflower rice, greens, or zucchini noodles.
- Go Mexican: Add black beans, corn, and pickled red onions to turn this into a burrito bowl.
- Add fun toppings: Get creative by adding this Salsa Criolla, Mexican Coleslaw, Mango Black Bean Salsa, or Corn Salsa.
- Add vegetables: This shrimp and rice bowl is delicious with cucumbers, carrots, edamame, red cabbage, Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, or any cooked veggies you have on hand.
- Add beans: Add extra protein and fiber with black beans, pinto beans, white beans, or chickpeas.
- Make it less spicy: For those who don't like spice, leave the jalapenos out when making the cilantro mint sauce.
- Change the protein: If shrimp isn't your favorite, this will work with chicken, pork, steak, salmon, or another fish or seafood. It also works with tofu or tempeh.
- Tropical twist: To add an additional layer of flavor, make coconut rice using canned coconut milk to replace some of the cooking liquid for the rice. Add shredded coconut and a touch of sugar to bring out the sweetness of the coconut.
- Change the sauce: Make these bowls with different sauces to change up the flavor. We love them with bang bang sauce (like in this Bang Bang Cauliflower), Chipotle Sauce, or Peanut Sauce.
Meal Prep Tips and Storage
These shrimp bowls are a great option for meal prep since the shrimp, rice, and sauce can all be made in advance. The shrimp bowls keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days. The sauce will keep for up to 2 weeks.
Make sure to let the shrimp and rice fully cool before packing them into individual containers. Then pack the sauce on the side along with any vegetables or herbs so that it can be added after heating up the bowls.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making these shrimp and rice bowls.
Any rice can be used for a rice bowl! It's all up to personal preference and what you have on hand. A few things to consider:
- White rice is usually the quickest option since it cooks quicker than brown rice.
- Brown rice is slightly more nutritious than white rice since it has more fiber.
- Wild rice takes the longest to cook, but is packed with vitamins and minerals.
- Quinoa is a great quick cooking substitute for rice and it has more protein.
To quickly defrost shrimp, add them to a bowl with cold water. Let them sit for about 10 minutes and then change out the water. Let them sit for another 5-10 minutes until fully defrosted. Drain and pat dry with a towel.
Shrimp Rice Bowls
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- 1.33 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tbsp olive oil (sauce)
- 2 tbsp lime juice (sauce)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1 Salt and pepper (sauce)
- 1/4 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt (sauce)
- 2 tbsp light mayonnaise (or sour cream)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (sauce)
- 2 tbsp fresh mint (sauce)
- 1 jalapeno (seeded if you don't want it hot, for sauce)
- 1 clove garlic (sauce)
- 2 cups cooked white rice
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Make the shrimp: Toss the shrimp with the olive oil, lime juice, cumin, brown sugar, paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper. Let sit for 15 minutes. Preheat your grill or grill pan or regular pan to medium high heat. Cook the shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side or until shrimp have started to form black grill lines/charred edges and are opaque in the middle.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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