Chipotle-Lime Glazed Shrimp + The Search for Healthy Foods That Don’t Suck

Gluten-Free, Main Courses, Seafood / Sunday, January 4th, 2009


I bet you’re like me. Every year, you resolve to lose weight, but you get sick of counting and measuring and being hungry and giving up your favorite foods and having to cook something else for your family and eating diet food, created by insane people who think that their mixture of edamame, Brussels sprouts, cranberries and TVP tastes JUST LIKE Crunch ‘n Munch/Chili-Cheese Fritos®/Goo-Goo Cluster ice cream, etc.

You know what I’m talking about.

This year, I’m on a mission to find healthy foods that don’t suck. That doesn’t mean I won’t be posting things like chicken pot pie, caramelized onion and goat cheese focaccia and candy apple pie, but when I find something that’s delicious and healthy, I’m sharing that, too. And I’m kicking it off with Chipotle-Lime Glazed Shrimp.

I’m a Southerner, and we love fried shrimp, but recently I’ve discovered the wonders of pan-searing with glazes for added flavor. Pan-searing uses high heat to form a crust on the meat and seal in its juices, so when you pan-sear shrimp, it doesn’t get limp or rubbery. You get the benefits of fried shrimp without the breading and deep-frying.

Avoiding limp shrimp requires to things: a large skillet (at least 12 inches, preferably cast-iron) and cooking the shrimp in two batches. You want the shrimp to have plenty of space in the pan, because overcrowding leads to  steaming instead of searing.

The only problem with searing in two batches is keeping everything warm, but this recipe has a solution. Sear the first batch of shrimp on one side for one minute, then take the pan off the heat, flip the shrimp, and let it cook using only the pan’s residual heat for 30 seconds. Transfer the shrimp to a large plate. You’ll repeat the process with the second batch, but instead of transferring the shrimp to a plate, you’ll add the first batch back into the skillet (but still off the heat), add the glaze, toss to combine and cover the skillet for one to two minutes.

So, the total cooking time for pan-searing more than one pound of shrimp is less than five minutes.

The glaze is a mixture of minced chipotle chile, adobo sauce, a little brown sugar, lime juice and cilantro. It gives the shrimp a nice kick without being completely overpowering, and it’s a nice change from the usual garlicky or lemony shrimp. If you’re playing around, you might also try a ginger-hoisin glaze.

These Chipotle-Lime Glazed Shrimp are excellent over rice or stuffed into soft tacos, and they are very filling. If you love Mexican food but wouldn’t mind lightening it up a little, give these shrimp a try.

Happy 2009, and here’s to finding more healthy foods that don’t suck!

Pan-Seared Shrimp with Chipotle-Lime Glaze

From “Cook’s Illustrated”

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds 21/25 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo, minced
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  1. For Glaze: Stir together chipotle chile, adobo sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, and cilantro in small bowl.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until smoking.
  3. Meanwhile, toss shrimp, salt, pepper, and sugar in medium bowl.
  4. Add half of shrimp to the pan in single layer, and cook until spotty brown and edges turn pink, about 1 minute.
  5. Remove pan from heat; using tongs, flip each shrimp and let stand until all but very center is opaque, about 30 seconds. Transfer shrimp to large plate.
  6. Repeat with remaining tablespoon oil and shrimp.
  7. After the second batch has stood off heat, return the first batch to skillet, add chipotle mixture, and toss to combine. Cover skillet and let stand until shrimp are cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately.


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28 thoughts on “Chipotle-Lime Glazed Shrimp + The Search for Healthy Foods That Don’t Suck

  1. This looks delicious! Thanks for thinking about doing some healthy stuff this year. I just started Weight Watchers and I’m trying so hard to be good but it’s hard when I love to read food blogs. I have saved this try sometime in the next few weeks.


  2. Looks so delicious – WOW this is a must make!!! Your pictures are great and the flavors I can tell will just explode in your mouth with every bite!!

  3. oh i love chipotle. i put tabasco chipotle sauce on EVERYTHING.
    spicy chiles are such a good way to cut on the fat (and speed up your metabolism) while keeping flavor– that shrimp looks so succulent!

  4. Love this. We’re on the same mission. I’m trying to post things like this all month, so we’ll see how fruitful the search is. Can’t wait to come back and see what you’ve found!

  5. Except for my youngest we are serious shrimp lovers and that dish looks like a winner! Even better it’s healthy! Yay! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    Happy 2009!

  6. Wow, those look fantastic! I’ll have to give them a try. I’m a fan of shrimp… as long as I can ignore the fact that it’s a fishie.

  7. You have a mistype! GIVE ME $50 Dollars! Whoo hoo! On the shrimp side, i think it’s healthy if it gives you an inner feeling of peace. Healthy food makes me want to act out in violent ways, which means it cannot really be that good for me.

  8. This year, I tried in earnest not to miss any workouts the entire month of December, thinking I’d have a head start on the whole “healthy living” thing. Turns out, not so much. I gained five pounds last month.


    Bring on the healthy food. If you can find good for you stuff that tastes good and doesn’t suck – like this shrimp – I’m all for it.

  9. That shrimp almost looks too good to eat. It looks like it has the perfect sear. Shrimp is one thing I always have on hand. Thanks for the yummy post.

  10. This looks sinfully delicious…wow. Do you suppose, you could use a wok for this and just keep all those puppies moving so they all finish pretty much the same time, etc.? I don’t know…I was just wondering because I AM GOING TO TRY IT. Thanks for the recipe…you are such a great person to “know.”

  11. YUM – going to have to try this next week. Need to get some shrimp and chipotles!!
    Thanks for the recipe!!
    love big, bake often

  12. I just cooked this, I didn’t know what coriander was at the time, spent 20 minutes in the spice aisle and gave up. I substituted it for onions and garlic. It was awesome, I’m going to apply variations of the glaze to several dishes! I just finished eating 1.5lbs of shrimp and I wish I had more.

  13. Hi, I made this last night for my children and nephew. I doubled everything. It was awesome….my youngest (9yrs old) doesn’t like shrimp but loved the sauce and put it on her broccoli!

    Thanks again for passing along the recipe!

  14. Use real butter and drop the sugar if you want health food! Refined vegetable oils are heat processed, with a lot of omega-6s. Bad news!

  15. This is AWESOME as shrimp tacos. I made this for dinner with mango salsa and cabbage instead of lettuce. It was so good.

  16. This dish looks wonderful. I plan to make this weekend. Will subsitute canola oil for veggie oil, the results should be the same. Wil give you a reivew of the dish after I prepare it.

  17. We just made this shrimp and turned it into 1) quesadillas and 2) fried rice! We love these flavors….. I think our versions might have taken a bit out of the "healthy" part, though…….

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