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Grilled shrimp is a delicious and incredibly popular seafood dish that many people enjoy both at seafood restaurants or during home barbecues. Shrimp has a deliciously firm initial bite that gives way to deliciously tender meat that is wonderfully sweet, meaning that people will always be clamouring for more. However, when preparing some seafood on the grill, you may be unsure what to serve with grilled shrimp. If so, don’t worry because we’ve got you sorted.
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How To Make Grilled Shrimp
Grilled shrimp is a dish that can be quickly and easily made within a few minutes. As such, when wanting something that is both quick and tasty it is an excellent choice. However, due to how quickly it cooks there is also the risk of overcooking it and thereby imbuing the grilled shrimp with an unpleasant rubbery texture. In order to avoid this happening to your grilled shrimp, you should follow the process below:
- If your shrimp is frozen, allow plenty of time for it to fully thaw before grilling.
- Preheat your grill to a medium-high heat setting.
- Season your shrimp to your desire. A simple option is to drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt. Meanwhile, a more spicey paste can be made with crushed garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper, lemon juice and olive oil.
- Lightly oil the grate of your grill to avoid your shrimp sticking to it.
- Grill your shrimp on each side for roughly two minutes, or until the shrimp appears to be an opaque pink colour. At which point flip/remove it immediately.
- Place your grilled shrimp on a serving platter and garnish with lemon wedges or a drizzle of lemon juice.
What Goes With Grilled Shrimp?
As mentioned above, grilled shrimp is a slightly firm yet tender form of seafood that has a slightly sweet taste to it. Often it is compared to chicken in terms of the overall texture. However, depending on the techniques employed by the chef it can also come out deliciously crispy.
As such, when deciding on what to serve with grilled shrimp it is important to keep these traits in mind. This is because when deciding on your side dishes the best options will be those that contrast or reflect these flavours in a way that complements the shrimp.
What To Serve With Grilled Shrimp?
With the above in mind, it can be tricky to figure out what to serve alongside your grilled shrimp. Fortunately though, like with other seafood dishes such as scallops or ahi tuna, there are some tried and true classics. As such, when selecting side dishes to serve alongside your grilled shrimp you should consider the following options:
- Mashed Potatoes
- Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes
- Baby Potatoes
- Zucchini Noodles
- Macaroni Salad
- Caesar Salad
- Greek Salad
- Spinach Orzo Salad
- Caprese Salad
- Coconut Rice
- Creole Rice And Beans
- Almond Rice Pilaf
- Grilled Corn
- Green Beans
- Steamed Veggies
- Parmesan Asparagus
One of the most classic pairings with grilled shrimp is to pair it with potatoes. This is because the earthy and hearty potatoes pair excellently with the rich flavours of your shrimp in a way that is contrasting and complementary.
In particular, mashed potatoes make for a wonderful choice as they add an extra velvety creaminess to the meal. This makes for a lovely textural contrast to crispy fried shrimp in particular by adding an extra layer to the affair. Additionally, the buttery tastes, along with potentially those of cheese, sour cream and garlic add extra richness and nuance to the flavour.
Another classic option for potatoes is to bake some classic baked potatoes. These will be more earthy whilst providing a wonderful contrast between fluffy and crispy to the meal. Additionally, with some melted butter, both the potato and your shrimp will truly shine.
Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes
If feeding a large group or just wanting to do something different with potatoes then a pan of deliciously creamy au gratin potatoes is sure to hit the mark. Especially if you’re goal is to serve a deliciously decadent dish.
The combination of thinly sliced golden Yukon potatoes, cream and cheese makes for a wonderful dish that is cheesy, hearty, rich, decadent, heavy and of course absolutely delicious. Especially so with a little added garlic along with some herbs like rosemary to add some extra flavour to the dish.
With crispy fried shrimp, the crispy potato edges will synergise wonderfully. Meanwhile, the soft potatoes underneath and creamy, sticky cheese adds wonderful contrasting sensations.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, a lighter potato side dish option you can go for is some baby (or new) potatoes. These are essentially potatoes that have been harvested from the ground before being fully matured.
The result is that these potatoes are much smaller, with thinner more delicate skins and an overall more tender texture. In particular, these will taste wonderful when served with butter garlic and chives.
These can either be steamed or for some extra crispiness they can be roasted. If doing the latter though, a sprinkling of parmesan cheese beforehand can make them even more delicious.
If looking for a low carb or veggie equivalent to pasta noodles then zucchini noodles are an excellent choice to pair with grilled shrimp. Grilled shrimp pairs well with all sorts of pasta, including spaghetti, as such whilst zucchini noodles or “zoodles” don’t taste exactly the same, they are an excellent and flavourful pairing option.
Zoodles can work great with a variety of different sauces and extra ingredients. However, when pairing them with grilled shrimp an excellent option is to use an oil-based sauce like pesto which will add garlicky, nutty and sharp cheese tastes.
Alternatively, if you want it to have more of a salad feel, then some fresh vegetables like tomatoes and onions, along with some herbs are a great choice. Especially if also paired with a nice light salad dressing.
Another option for a pasta themed salad you can serve with your grilled shrimp is to prepare a simple but delicious macaroni salad. This picnic classic pairs wonderfully with all sorts of seafood including grilled shrimp with this cool and refreshing pasta salad adding a nice balance and contrast to your meal.
This makes for a filling side dish that is filled with flavours that will bounce perfectly off of your main attraction. Traditionally these will include celery, onion, bell peppers, boiled eggs and of course macaroni pasta. These will then all be mixed together in a delicious creamy dressing.
For a more traditional but still absolutely delicious salad dish to pair with grilled shrimp, you absolutely can not go wrong with the caesar salad.
Now, if you want a healthy salad option then this is probably not going to be it, unfortunately. This is because the rich, creamy dressing that this dish is iconic for adds a lot of calories to the dish along with its delicious flavour.
That said though, the combination of all the aspects of a caesar salad makes for a wonderful accompaniment to pair with your grilled shrimp. The croutons and romaine lettuce add a wonderful crisp and crunchy texture. Meanwhile, the parmesan adds a sharp cheese taste and the dressing adds creaminess along with an assortment of other complimentary tastes.
For a wonderfully light, zesty and refreshing salad to pair with your grilled shrimp, the Greek salad is a wonderful choice. Seafood is often a staple of the Mediterranean diet. As such pairing your grilled shrimp with a Greek dish is an obvious choice.
The traditional Greek salad will often consist of sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, and olives and dressed with salt, pepper, Greek oregano, olive oil and of course feta cheese. That said some variations may remove the olives or also include chopped bell peppers and caper berries.
The result of these flavours is a wonderfully light salad dish that perfectly complements grilled shrimp and any other hearty and heavy side dishes. This is because it helps bring some lightness to the meal along with cutting through the richer and more decadent flavours with a distinctly refreshing counterbalance.
Spinach Orzo Salad
Another Mediterranean salad option is to serve a delicious spinach orzo salad. Often this will be served with shrimp scampi, however, we believe it can work just as well with some grilled shrimp.
In a sense, you can almost compare this to a happy middle ground between the macaroni and Greek salads. This is because whilst it does contain orzo pasta, this recipe tends to be much lighter than a typical cheesy pasta dish.
The core ingredients of this dish are creamy goat cheese, cranberries, fresh spinach, tender pasta, topped with a tangy vinaigrette. All of which come together to create a salad that contrasts the textures and flavours of your shrimp wonderfully.
Additionally, this is very much a salad that can easily be served well in advance, making the meal prep for your grilled shrimp a doddle. Also, the option of whether to have it warm or cold adds extra variety to your choices.
For an Italian salad that is as simple to make as it is delicious though, the caprese salad is a fantastic choice. This simple salad consists of creamy mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes, flavour-filled basil leaves and olive. All of which is topped off with a delicious balsamic reduction which adds a sweet tang that pairs well with your grilled shrimp dish.
The beauty of this salad really lies in its simplicity since the core flavours each contrast with the grilled shrimp excellently Additionally, the freshness of the ingredients make for an excellent balance for the rich and sweet shrimp.
If you want to make some adjustments to the classic caprese salad there are a few excellent ways to do so. Including additional ingredients such as avocado slices, peaches, green tomatoes, burrata, or honeydew melon can add extra layers of taste and texture to the dish. Meanwhile, for a little bit of extra sweetness, a light drizzle of honey works perfectly.
For the quintessential seafood side dish, coleslaw is probably going to be one of the top competitors. Especially so as it is commonly seen in seafood restaurants. As such, when looking for something to pair alongside your delicious, juicy, fried shrimp meal, coleslaw is an excellent option.
At its core, the basic recipe for coleslaw includes mayonnaise, vinegar, cabbage and carrots. All of which will contrast excellently with grilled shrimps. This is especially true for garlic shrimp since garlic and mayonnaise are a heavenly combination.
If, however, you want to break from convention and spice up the recipe somewhat there are plenty of extra ingredients you can add to your coleslaw. Some great options, in particular, include mangos, jicama or lime juice.
Another classic side dish for near enough any form of seafood is a bowl or pile of fluffy, steaming white rice. Naturally, the same is true for grilled shrimp as it pairs excellently with rice. However, why don’t you step this up a notch by making coconut rice?
To give your rice a wonderful tropical feel add extra flavour, making it into coconut rice is an easy way to do so. Simply cook your jasmine or basmati rice in a mixture of coconut milk and chicken broth to add lock in these extra flavours. Following which you should add in some mangos and pistachios in order to add some extra flavour and texture.
Creole Rice And Beans
For a more heavy, hearty and flavourful rice dish to serve alongside your grilled shrimps then this creole dish is a delicious choice.
This side is slightly spicy and incredibly flavourful thanks to the inclusion of ingredients such as celery, beans and bell peppers. Additionally, it will typically be cooked in bacon grease which provides porky, smokey and salty flavours to the rice.
The resulting rice dish is teaming with flavour that pairs perfectly grilled shrimp. Texture-wise the fluffy and slightly sticky rice and crunchy veggies contrast with the juicy shrimp meat. Meanwhile, the sweet shrimp taste is contrasted by the slightly spicy rice.
Almond Rice Pilaf
Another nutty rice option like coconut rice but slightly more substantial and hearty is to serve a delicious almond rice pilaf alongside your grilled shrimp dish. This dish is a delicious and varied rice option that has both nutty and spicy notes.
This dish is not only delicious but also incredibly varied with versions of the dish often containing carrots, parsley, celery, butter and of course almonds. Additionally, in order to make it a true pilaf, it will also be cooked in stock. Most commonly, this will be either beef or fish broth.
Corn on the cob is a classic staple of barbecue sides along with being a wonderful accompaniment to any seafood dish. As such when grilling up some shrimp on the barbecue why not grill some corn alongside it?
Naturally melted butter will be an excellent addition to corn on the cob. However, there are other potential options you can use to get the most flavour out of your meal.
One popular and delicious option is to make elote-style corn. This simply means that the corn will be topped with a smothering of mayo, cotija cheese, chilli powder, lime juice, and chopped cilantro after grilling. The result is a delicious Mexican inspired spin on corn on the cob that is practically oozing with flavour.
If wanting to add a delicious veggie crunch texture and nice earthy flavour then an order of delicious green beans is what you’ll be needing. Truly the contrast in texture and taste between grilled shrimp and green beans is an excellent but simple way of adding more variety to your meal.
If though you want to take things a step further then sauteing your green beans is an excellent way to do so. Simply sauteing them in butter with some garlic, salt and pepper adds significantly more flavour to this side dish whilst also adding that wonderful butteriness that your shrimp will adore.
When you grill shrimp it will naturally inherit some extra smokey flavour from the grill. This is true whenever you grill food such as vegetables. As such, if you want more of a contrast in flavour then a side of steamed veggies is a wonderful direction to go in.
When steamed veggies can be imbued with a more cooked feel and the benefits of seasoning whilst still retaining their raw freshness. As such it is best to only lightly steam your vegetables to achieve the best results.
The beauty of this side dish option though is that the veggies and seasoning you use can be mixed and matched. As such, you should pick a selection that you particularly like to steam and serve with your grilled shrimp.
An ever-popular and high-end vegetable are of course asparagus which is often seen served alongside meat and seafood dishes in gourmet restaurants. As such, if you want a luxurious crunch and earthy yet bitter flavour alongside your grilled shrimp then asparagus is the way to go.
One excellent way to do this whilst adding some extra flavour is to make some roasted parmesan asparagus. To do so, simply mix your asparagus with some freshly grated parmesan, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Following which roast for roughly twenty minutes for delicious results.
Answered: What To Serve With Grilled Shrimp?
When serving a delicious seafood treat like grilled shrimp, there are truly a wide variety of options open to you. Naturally, when you want your shrimp to shine, the other foods you serve alongside it should play a supporting role rather than a dominant one flavour-wise. As such, dishes such as mashed potatoes, parmesan asparagus and coconut rice are excellent choices.
Ultimately though, which of these dishes appeals to you the most will come down to your palette. As such it’s always a good idea to trust your culinary instincts whilst maybe experimenting a little.
FAQ – What to Serve with Grilled Shrimp?
What sides go good with shrimp?
Shrimp will pair excellently with a wide range of different dishes. Some great choices are grilled corn, Caesar salad, mashed potatoes, parmesan asparagus and coconut rice.
What can you eat with grilled shrimp?
Shrimp makes for an excellent pairing with a wide range of different side dishes. Some great options are grilled corn, Caesar salad, mashed potatoes, parmesan asparagus and coconut rice.
What is a good vegetable to serve with shrimp?
Veggie dishes always make for an excellent choice of side dish for shrimp. Some great examples are grilled corn, parmesan asparagus, mashed potatoes and green beans.
What is a good seafood side dish?
A wide variety of dishes will pair excellently with seafood. Some great near-universal options though are grilled corn, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, caesar salad and coconut rice.