I haven’t had a yummy shrimp appetizer in a very long time. Restaurant shrimp appetizers aren’t gluten-free. I ate plant-based for four years. And last year, when my diet changed because of migraines and Meniere’s, I found out that shellfish tends to be naturally high in sodium. If you can find unbrined shrimp that’s wild-caught, and you don’t eat too much of it, shrimp is healthy and high in protein. Plus it’s delicious.
While researching my migraine diet book, I learned that only 10% of the shrimp eaten in the U.S. is U.S. farmed or wild-caught. The other 90% comes from shrimp farms in Asia and South America, which have much lower environmental and farming standards. They might be contaminated with antibiotics (banned in the U.S.) or antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Even U.S.-produced shrimp has issues: nearly all is treated with sodium bisulfite, sodium tripolyphosphate (which quadruples the sodium content), and/or Everfresh (4-hexyl-resorcinol, a xenoestrogen that may increase breast cancer risk if ingested at high levels).
Sustainably raised brands include Shrimper’s Pride, Dominick’s, and Wild Planet (canned). Look for the Seafood Watch logo to help you choose. Untreated raw shrimp has 119 mg sodium / 100 grams / 3.5 ounces, or 140 mg/4 ounces. I used frozen wild-caught Argentinian shrimp from Trader Joe’s, which is labeled as 160 mg/4 ounces.
I decided to do a play on popcorn or coconut shrimp, making this recipe grain-free.
I had to try more than eight different methods for preparing the shrimp to get the crispy coating I was hoping for. I tried baking, broiling, and pan frying, with a variety of coatings and timings. Finally we have a winner. (Note that the photograph is from one of the earlier methods.) The spicy cocktail sauce was adapted from a recipe in Real Simple I had pulled a few years back. It’s pretty easy; make it ahead so it can chill. Or you can simply whisk some chili pepper sauce or Sriracha into mayo for a quick dipping sauce.
reduced-sodium, migraine, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, grain-free, reduced-sugar diets
super-low-sodium, vegan, or vegetarian diets
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Coconut shrimp with spicy cocktail sauce
- 1 pound shrimp raw and unbrined, fresh or frozen, shelled
- 2 ounces coconut flour divided, 1/2 cup total
- 1 ounce coconut (flakes, unsweetened) (small flakes) 1/2 cup
- 1 tbsp tapioca flour tapioca starch
- 2 tsp curry powder
Spicy cocktail sauce
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 shallots small
- 1 clove garlic large, or 2 small
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp ginger (dried)
- 1 tsp cumin (dried)
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar (organic) or stevia = 3 tsp sugar (use stevia for migraine diet)
- 6 ounces tomato paste 1 small can
- 1 tbsp molasses (omit for migraine diet)
- 3/4 cup water (filtered or spring)
- If using frozen shrimp, place in a colander over a bowl and thaw 8 hours in the refrigerator. (Cover the entire thing with a plastic bag.) It's best if the shrimp is still slightly frozen in the center.
- Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
- In one bowl, place the shrimp. Spray with oil spray or drizzle with melted coconut oil and toss to coat.
- In another bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, tapioca starch, curry powder, and flaked coconut.
- Roll the shrimp in the coating until thinly coated. If broiling, spray with oil spray to moisten the coating on both sides.
- Broil on high on a foil-lined pan or pan fry in a small amount of oil until crispy and dark golden brown on both sides, about 4-5 minutes per side. Serve immediately.
Spicy cocktail sauce
- Melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat in a saucepan.
- Peel and finely mince the garlic and shallot while the oil is heating.
- Sauté the garlic, shallot, mustard seeds, ginger, and cumin in the oil until golden brown, about 8 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste, sugar or stevia, molasses (if using), and 3/4 C. filtered water. Mix until smooth.
- Cook for 10 minutes until the flavors meld.
- Quick-chill in the freezer or refrigerator until cold.
- If you don't have time to make this sauce, mix chili pepper sauce or Sriracha with mayo for a quick dipping sauce. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime if you're not following the migraine diet.
- 203 calories
- 10 g fat
- 8 g saturated fat
- 1 g monounsaturated fat
- 1 g polyunsaturated fat
- 0 g trans fat
- 115 g cholesterol
- 126 mg sodium
- 240 mg potassium
- 13 g carbohydrate
- 4 g fiber
- 5 g sugars
- 17 g protein
- 5 Weight Watchers Points Plus