Worknight Dinner Recipe: Shrimp and Spinach Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa (Recipe for Cinco de Mayo!)

by Maris Callahan on May 4, 2010

Shrimp and Spinach Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa

Sometimes I daydream about the things that I would do or buy if money was no object. That might sound selfish or vain but really, I’m just looking forward to a time when I can buy shoes without having to check my bank account first. In case you think I might have completely succumbed to capitalism, don’t worry. I also daydream about the things I would do if time were no object.

If I didn’t have to work full-time, if there were more hours in the day or if I suddenly stopped needing sleep – any at all – I would definitely do a few things differently. In my day dreams, I would never have dishes in the sink, I would paint my apartment and finally hang some pictures on my too-naked walls and of course (and you had to have known where I was going with this) I would cook everything from scratch. I’d bake whole grain wheat sandwich bread and English muffins, I’d make homemade sauce and homemade salsa.

Sure, I make those things sometimes. But more often than not, I buy them at the grocery store. Even if you love to cook, could spend all day cooking and sometimes do spend all day cooking, it can be difficult to find the time to make everything you want to make. Since I can’t do everything, I prioritize.

So I prioritize. I buy jarred salsa and I’ve welcomed Arnold into my life with open arms. What I’m trying to say here is that sometimes it’s okay to cut corners. Even if, like me, you prefer to cook entirely from scratch, life gets in the way sometimes. Especially if you’re just starting a job, are newly married or are going through one of the many transitions that the quarter(ish) life stage has to offer.

Shrimp taco recipe

I had the best intentions to make these soft tacos with fish and spinach from the New York Times on Sunday but I had shrimp in my freezer, a jar of tomatillo salsa mocking me from the cabinet and a few packages of La Tortilla Factory’s brand new line of hand made style tortillas, which they sent me to try….yes, I took the shortcut and I don’t regret it.

Shrimp & Spinach Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa
Makes 6 tacos

What you need:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
1-1/2 pounds frozen, uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed (31-40 size)
1 cup tomatillo salsa, or salsa verde
2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
Queso Blanco
6 La Tortilla Factory white corn tortillas
Fresh cilantro, if desired

What you do:

1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and sauté for about a minute, or until fragrant.

2. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes, until the shrimp are no longer translucent, turn pink and begin to curl.

3. Add salsa and let simmer over lowest heat for about 8-19 minutes longer, stirring frequently. You’ll want the shrimp to soak up the flavor from the spicy salsa, without overcooking.

4. Meanwhile, warm the tortillas according to directions on the package. When shrimp is done, spoon shrimp mixture into each tortilla and top with queso blanco. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Caroline May 4, 2010 at 8:01 am

These were so good. It’s a great lesson in realizing that shortcuts don’t have to mean shortchanging on qualiy or flavor!


Susan May 4, 2010 at 9:46 pm

I just had fish tacos last night, woah!


Bethany May 4, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Ha! I actually watched you make these and didn’t register the fact that you were using jarred salsa — who cares?? They were awesome, and looked quick to whip up. Perfect for a weeknight, because let’s be honest, I can’t actually complicated recipes after work!


theUngourmet May 5, 2010 at 1:07 am

I’m all about semi-homemade! This looks wonderful! Perfect for Cinco de Mayo. I’ve been wanting to make English muffins too. Someday. :)


Kelly May 5, 2010 at 11:49 am

I have to admit, I feel SO guilty about taking shortcuts. I love cooking from scratch so anytime I buy something store-bought I get a pang of guilt. Trying to slowly get over it though.


Tickled Red May 5, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Yummy. It’s not Cinco de Mayo unless you have fish tacos but shrimp ones… even better! I know what you mean. It is expensive to cook and I would a plethora of kitchen gadgets if my purse was deeper :)


bodyhacker May 5, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Love your Shrimp & Spinach Tacos recipe! They look delicious and definitely agree that sometimes you have to take those small shortcuts to let yourself focus on the bigger picture!
Thanks for sharing.


mandy May 5, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Sometimes you just have to take the shortcut. These look delicious and the perfect thing for a cinco de mayo dinner.


thatShortChick May 5, 2010 at 10:50 pm

I’m loving all of your recipes featuring spinach lately! Currently, we have an abundance of it due to my newfound favorite drink: green monster smoothies.


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