This simple Mediterranean-style sauteed shrimp and vegetables recipe comes together in just over 20 minutes! Zucchini, onions, and bell pepper, paired with succulent shrimp, and protein-packed chickpeas come together in just one skillet. And you’ll love the bold Mediterranean flavors from spices, tangy lemon juice, and fresh herbs.
Want to cook shrimp perfectly every time? Be sure to read on for my tips, and grab suggested sides and salads too!
I love cooking with shrimp because it is packed with protein, lean, low in calories, and is one of the fastest foods you can cook! Since shrimp cooks in the blink of an eye, it makes it ideal for whipping together something quick, like this healthy shrimp and vegetables dinner, any night of the week.
Shrimp is also a huge part of a Mediterranean diet because fresh fish and seafood are key sources of healthy protein and other nutrients. We aim to eat seafood about two times per week (as the Mediterranean diet recommends,) and this sautéed shrimp is an easy way to do that.
You’ll love this healthy shrimp and vegetables recipe. Fresh veggies–zucchini, onions, and bell peppers–paired with succulent shrimp, and protein packed chickpeas. And the flavors will surprise you in the best way possible–a few spices, coupled with lemon juice and a bright pop of fresh basil! So good.
And if you’ve ever been intimated by cooking shrimp, fear not! It’s super easy to cook shrimp in the skillet, but a couple of tips make all the difference, so read on…
Why this Sautéed Shrimp Recipe Works?
Three things I love about this satueed shrimp and zucchini recipe: few ingredients; one skillet; and just over 20 minutes start-to-finish!
And the biggest draw for me is just how bright and wholesome this dish is. Tender zucchini, onions, and bell peppers pack the dish with fresh veggies. Chickpeas add more protein and fiber. And the additions of warm spices (oregano, cumin, coriander, paprika), along with bright lemon juice, fresh basil, and cherry tomatoes make the dish pop with color and flavor!
And…at 234 calories per serving; less than 6 grams of good fat; and loads of fiber and protein, this shrimp and vegetables recipe makes one light and feel-good weeknight meal.
Here’s what’s in it in detail…
Ingredients for Shrimp and Zucchini Recipe
Large Shrimp (Prawns) – Prawns are like large shrimp, which are great in this recipe since they are a little bigger and heartier. They are mild and sweet in flavor and are beautifully tender when cooked right(tips below)! However, shrimp and prawns are very similar in flavor and texture and can be used interchangeably.
Chickpeas – Chickpeas add great texture, volume, and plant-based protein to this sautéed shrimp and vegetables. They have a bit of nuttiness and a meaty texture. Using canned and drained chickpeas in this recipe keeps the meal easy-peasy.
Vegetables- Loads of beautiful veggies to bring in texture, flavor and color
- Onions, thinly sliced
- Bell peppers, sliced into sticks
- Zucchini, sliced into half moons
- Cherry tomatoes, halved
These fresh veggies are a tasty combo of flavors. Onions provide lots of sweet flavor and great depth, zucchini is tender and mild, bell peppers are packed with sweetness, and the halved cherry tomatoes at the very end give a tasty burst of freshness and make the dish feel extra light.
Lemon Juice- lemon is the perfect blast of acidity for the dish.Lemon and shrimp are a match made in heaven. Fresh lemon juice brings even more bright flavor to the sautéed shrimp and zucchini.
Fresh Garlic and Spices – Fresh garlic cloves go well in everything, I like to mince the garlic real small to capitalize on its flavor. The garlic is sauteed with the onions at first to kick start the flavoring process, while dried spices like oregano, coriander, cumin, and sweet paprika create depth of flavor.
Fresh Herbs – In this sautéed shrimp recipe, I used fresh basil at the very end. Do not skip this part, it really does make a difference. But, if basil is not available to you, you can use any fresh herb you like or have in the house. Fresh parsley or cilantro would go perfectly.
Tips for How to Cook Shrimp in a Skillet
Cooking shrimp in a skillet it as simple as it can get, but it is easy to overcook shrimp. A few tips do make all the difference for getting perfectly sautéed shrimp every time:
1. Cook Until Just Pink
Even large shrimp cook super quickly. Overcooking shrimp is about the only way you can ruin them (they become chewy and tough.) Cook the shrimp until they turn that pinkish color, they curl in a bit, and the translucent grey color turns white. That’s it, they are done! Usually they need no more than a few minutes of cooking time. In this recipe, they will not take longer than 4-5 minutes (about 2 minutes or so per side.)
2. Make Sure Your Skillet is Hot
Making sure that your skillet it on medium-high heat will give you the best cooked shrimp. Not only will the shrimp cook quickly, but they will get a bit of a browned crust on the outside, which provides a lot of delicious flavor.
For this recipe, to make sure everything is cooked properly, you’ll start by cooking the veggies first, then the shrimp separately. Here is how…
How to Make this Easy Mediterranean Sautéed Shrimp Recipe
Step 1: Make the spice mixture
In a small bowl, combine your dried oregano, ground cumin, ground coriander, and sweet paprika. Mix well. I like to mix my spices first to make sure the food will be seasoned evenly and no particular spice takes over in the wrong way.
Step 2: Pat the shrimp dry and season
Take your peeled and deveined shrimp and pat them nice and dry with a paper towel. Season with kosher salt and 1 ½ teaspoons of your spice mixture. You will use the rest of the spices later with your veggies. You can set the shrimp aside while you move on to the next step. You can also place the shrimp in the fridge.
Tip – Patting the shrimp dry with paper towel will ensure the spice mix will stick to the shrimp well and they brown nicely in the skillet when you cook them. Be sure to give the shrimp a good toss to make sure it’s well-coated with the spices.
Step 3: Cook Onions, Garlic
In your large cast iron skillet (or a skillet of your choice) heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking (I use Private Reserve Extra EVOO.) When the oil is warmed, add thinly sliced onions and half of the minced garlic. Stir around until you can smell the onions and garlic. This will take about 3-4 minutes.
Tip – You do not want to burn the garlic because burned garlic tastes bitter and unpleasant. To ensure this doesn’t happen, stir frequently while the onions and garlic are cooking.
Step 4: Cook the Zucchini, Bell Peppers, and Chickpeas
Take the zucchini (sliced in half and then into moons,) bell peppers (cored and sliced into sticks,) and drained canned chickpeas and add to the hot skillet. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add your reserved spice mixture. To make sure your veggies cook nicely, you might want to raise the heat to medium-high. Keep tossing your veggies in the pan to make sure they all get a chance to cook evenly. It will take about 5-7 minutes for them to become tender.
Tip – You can use 1 zucchini and 1 yellow squash if you are looking for more color in your dish! You can also only use zucchini or yellow squash if that is what you have on hand.
Step 5: Cook the Shrimp
Take the cooked veggies and set them aside on a large plate or bowl. Return the same skillet to the heat (medium-high) and add a drizzle of olive oil. Take the set side seasoned shrimp and the rest of the chopped garlic and add to the pan. Toss the shrimp occasionally until cooked through. Depending on how many shrimps you have and how large the skillet it, it will take about 4-5 minutes.
Tip – Keep a close eye on the shrimp in the pan. They will cook very fast! Cook until they are just pink and the tails have curled. Overcooked shrimp will have a rubbery texture.
Step 6: Combine Shrimp and Vegetables & Finish Cooking
Once your shrimp are cooked, take the veggies and add them back to the pan. Add your halved cherry tomatoes and squeeze in the juice from 1 lemon. Toss all together to warm the veggies through and garnish with fresh basil!
Tip – You can use any type of tomato you want. Grape tomatoes work well and if you are in a pinch a good of regular tomato cut into cubes can work too. And if basil is not available to you, you can use another fresh herb like parsley or cilantro.
You can store leftover satueed shrimp and vegetables in an airtight container for about 3 days.
How to Reheat Shrimp?
The best way to reheat shrimp and your leftovers is by heating a skillet over medium-high heat and giving it a quick warm through, don’t keep it on the heat too long. Your goal is to warm the food, but not completely overcook your shrimp.
What to Serve these Shrimp and Vegetables with?
In this sauteed shrimp recipe, we already have our protein and veggies in one skillet. You barely need to add anything else! But here are a few suggestions, if you’re looking for something more to add:
Sides: Greek lemon rice; plain orzo; or grain of your choice
Looking for more Mediterranean diet recipes to try? Check out our growing collection of Mediterranean diet recipes here.
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- 1 ½ tbsp dry oregano
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp sweet paprika
- 1 lb large shrimp (prawns), peeled, and deveined
- Extra virgin olive oil (I used Private Reserve Greek EVOO)
- ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 5 garlic cloves, minced and divided
- 1 bell pepper, cored and sliced into sticks
- 1 to 2 zucchini, halved length-wise, sliced into ½ moons (you can use 1 zucchini and 1 yellow squash)
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas (from canned chickpeas), drained
- 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 large lemon, juice of
- Handful fresh basil leaves, torn or sliced into ribbons (you can use a different herb, depending on what’s available to you)
- In a small bowl, combine the spices (oregano, cumin, coriander, and paprika.)
- Pat shrimp dry and season with kosher salt and 1 ½ tsp of the spice mixture. Set aside briefly or refrigerate till later. (Reserve the remaining spice mixture for the vegetables.)
- In a large cast iron skillet, heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and ½ the amount of garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, tossing regularly till fragrant (do not allow the garlic to burn.)
- Add zucchini, bell peppers, and chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper and the remaining spice mixture. Toss to combine. If needed, raise the heat just a bit and cook the veggies until tender, tossing regularly (about 5 to 7 minutes.)
- Transfer the veggies to a large plate for now. Return the skillet to the heat and add a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. Add the seasoned shrimp and remaining garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until shrimp is totally pink (about 4 to 5 minutes).
- Add the cooked vegetables back to the skillet with the shrimp. Add cherry tomatoes and lemon juice. Give everything a good toss. Finish with the fresh basil.
- Cook’s Tip: Do not overcook the shrimp. Even large shrimp cooks very quickly, so watch carefully, and once it turns from grey to pink in the thickest part, your shrimp is ready. Depending on the size of your shrimp and how many you have in the pan, this will usually take 4 to 5 minutes.
- Visit our online shop to browse our selection of extra virgin olive oils (including Private Reserve Greek EVOO) and our all-natural spices, including cumin, coriander, and paprika.
- Category: Entree
- Method: Sauteed
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: Sauteed Shrimp, Shrimp and Zucchini, Shrimp and Vegetables, Healthy Shrimp and Vegetables