Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Lettuce Cups will wake up your taste buds! So many flavors and textures in every bite of this gluten free, low carb dish.
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If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know that my recipes lean towards the less-than-healthy. And nope, I’m not even going to try and apologize for that. Those are just the recipes that I tend to eat. However, I also know that those aren’t great for my waistline, so I try hard to achieve a good balance. I only make my most comforting recipes occasionally. When I eat an indulgent meal for lunch, I’ll go light for dinner, and vice versa. Now that it’s January, I’m looking to make better choices in the foods that I eat. Well, not just because it’s January, but it’s a great place to start.
To be honest, I do love to eat cleaner, healthier foods. A few of my favorites on the blog include:
A couple of my friends have been after me to create more lighter recipes for the blog, and also to create Gluten Free and/or Keto recipes. I started doing a little research, and it’s not easy to find ingredients that are gluten free, particularly processed and packaged foods. The great thing is that manufacturers are creating gluten free versions of popular products, but they’ve still got a long way to go. I don’t have any plans to fully follow the Gluten Free or Keto lifestyles, but I can certainly create more recipes that are, or can easily be converted with a few modifications.
HOW DO YOU TACO? HARD SHELLS, SOFT SHELLS, LETTUCE???
Okay, so back to carbs for a minute. I love tacos. And when I make tacos, I use hard taco shells 99% of the time. They’re inexpensive, easy, and I love the delicious crunch. I also love lettuce wraps, but I’ve never thought to make tacos as lettuce wraps. I don’t know why, because I love eating lettuce wraps at Asian restaurants. These days I spend way too much time on Pinterest, and I keep seeing recipes for tacos using lettuce cups, so I decided to jump in with both feet with Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Lettuce Cups
How fabulous do these Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Lettuce Cups look?! You eat with your eyes first, and you can’t help but want to dive right in. These Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Lettuce Cups are a wonderful mix of colors, textures, and flavors. The shrimp is quite spicy, but you can easily tone it down to suit your tastes.
KEYS TO THE PERFECT SPICY SHRIMP AND AVOCADO LETTUCE CUPS?
- Homemade spice mix: the spice mix couldn’t be easier, and you can adjust the heat to your tastes. The mix includes Chili Powder, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Cumin, Cayenne Powder, Salt & Pepper
- Avocado: the avocado helps cool your mouth from the spicy shrimp, and also adds a wonderful creamy texture
- Other vegetables: I roast red peppers and red onions, and combine them with the avocado. You can use another color of bell pepper, use the pepper and/or onions raw, or omit them.
- Avocado Oil: I discovered avocado oil a few months ago, and love the silky, buttery texture. Of course, Canola Oil is a great substitute
- Bibb/butter lettuce: what I use. But here’s the thing: this lettuce is expensive in comparison to others, and I swear almost every piece has a hole somewhere so you have to use 2 per cup. However, I like the smooth, silky texture
- Iceberg: I like the sturdy texture. However, it has the least nutrients of all types of lettuce
- Romaine: not quite as sturdy as iceberg, but will hold up a little better than bibb/butter
Really, though, the choice is up to you. You just need to make sure that the lettuce has a large enough surface area to hold the filling and not fall apart
SHRIMP, SHRIMP AND MORE SHRIMP!
For years, I bought the largest shrimp I could find, usually the Colossal (15-20 per pound). I recently began to scale back, and now buy Large (31-40). The key with shrimp is to not overcook them. The smaller they are, the faster they cook. And once they overcook, it’s too late. Most shrimp need no more than about 2 f/2 minutes per side.
Most of the time I buy frozen shrimp, because it’s convenient and I don’t have easy access to fresh. But when I do buy fresh shrimp, I go on a shrimp binge and eat it every day. I thaw my frozen shrimp in one of two very easy ways:
- Overnight, in a sealed container in the fridge
- If your’e in a hurry, place the shrimp in a container, cover with very warm water and let sit in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Drain the water, rinse and drain one more time, and it’s ready to go
Yes, I make these as lettuce cups. But you could just as easily make these in hard or soft taco shells. Or, just shred the lettuce and make it into a salad.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FILLING FOR LETTUCE CUPS?
- 12 Bibb/butter lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried
- 8 ounces large shrimp (31-40/pound)
- 1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 1/2 teaspoons avocado oil or canola oil
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season pepper and onion with salt and pepper, and drizzle with oil. Spread peppers and onion on foil-lined baking sheet and roast for 17-20 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool
Combine peppers, onion, and avocado in bowl, and mix thoroughly
Combine seasoning ingredients in large bowl. Drizzle shrimp with oil, coat both sides of shrimp with seasoning. Shake excess seasoning from shrimp.
In large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of oil to medium-high heat. Add shrimp to skillet. Cook 2-3 minutes per side, until shrimp curls. Remove shrimp as soon as it is done
For each lettuce cup, lay 2 pieces of lettuce flat. Add shrimp and pepper/onion/avocado mix to top.