Sometimes, when faced with a piece of protein, the obvious question in front of you—How should I cook it?—can feel daunting. Good news: Whether it’s steak, shrimp, or tofu, there’s definitely an easy way to do it that will result in a delicious meal.
To prove it, we asked Nutritious Life-Certified holistic health coach and culinary nutrition expert Erin Parekh to show us how it’s done. Parekh coaches clients, hosts cooking classes, and does kitchen makeovers, and her website hosts a treasure trove of flavorful recipes that fit into her philosophy of “Living Well, Simply.”
In this series, “Simply Cooked Well,” she’ll be sharing simple ways to prep and cook different proteins, with flavor-boosting options if you’ve got a few extra minutes. First up: what to do with that random bag of shrimp you’ve been meaning to take out of the freezer.
How to Roast Shrimp (and Add Flavor)
I love having a bag of frozen, wild-caught shrimp in my freezer at all times, because it means I can have a no-fuss, lean protein cooked and ready in no time.
When buying shrimp, I always opt for frozen and wild-caught for several reasons.
First of all, frozen shrimp is actually fresher, since it was frozen almost immediately upon being caught. Most “fresh” shrimp from the seafood counter has already been defrosted, meaning the freshness clock started ticking at least a few hours ago.
When it comes to wild-caught shrimp, the flavor and texture are simply more shrimp-like! Look for a seal from either Wild American Shrimp or the Marine Stewardship Council. And if you can’t find wild-caught, opt for sustainably-raised that has a Best Aquaculture Practices label. This ensures the shrimp was raised without antibiotics and that the fishery’s practices meet certain regulations.
Lastly, whether it’s wild-caught or farm-raised, always opt for shrimp caught in North America—never imported.
Okay, to cooking!
First of all, to thaw frozen shrimp, place it in the refrigerator, covered, for one day. Or, place it in a bowl filled with cool water and let it sit for 15 minutes.
And though I’m sure you’re familiar with both grilled and sautéed shrimp, my favorite method is actually roasted. I find there’s less of a chance to overcook it this way. Plus, if you line your pan with parchment paper first, there’s almost zero clean-up.
One important tip depending on how many people you’re cooking for: You can store leftovers for two to three days in an airtight container in the fridge, but cooked shrimp does not reheat well. I like using the leftovers cold for topping salads (especially this one) or as a quick, protein-packed snack.
Get my recipe for Simply Roasted Shrimp, here. It comes with two delicious flavor boosters—Rosemary Lemon and Cumin Lime—so you can throw the shrimp in a simple salad or pasta or use it to make tacos. There are so many possibilities.
(Photos: Erin Parekh)