What to Serve with Grilled Shrimp: 15 Superb Ideas
Honey grilled shrimp. Southern BBQ Shrimp. Lemon garlic grilled shrimp. Cajun shrimp skewers. The list goes on and on. If there’s a delicious flavor combination in the gourmet’s playbook, at some point it’s going to circle back to “S, for Shrimp.”
Whether it’s tiny bay shrimp or butterflied jumbos, lightly sautéed white shrimp or quickly grilled spot prawns, shrimp has a special place in our hearts from coast to coast.
The reason we’re so in love with these little guys is that they adore any type of flavor or texture you throw their way.
Toss in some citrus to lighten things up. Or bread and deep fry them for some guilty pleasure. Shrimp love vegetables and herbs, not to mention other seafoods (halibut anyone?) and proteins.
Did we mention that they play incredibly well with others?
Because shrimp have a slight natural sweetness and a toothsome tender snap, they pair with every conceivable texture and seasoning.
Hello, blank canvas on the palate! There’s basically no wrong answer for what to serve with grilled shrimp!
Every good shrimp dish deserves an equally adoring sidekick that longs to make the star on the marquee look even better.
What Goes with Grilled Shrimp: We Serve up a List of Sides
We’ve assembled a group of dishes that will compliment – nay – even elevate the shrimp dishes that people know and love.
From pastas to salads, from vegetables to other types of protein, the recipes on this list will round out your favorite shrimp dishes to make them the belle of the ball, the star of the evening, and the life of the party.
Let’s jump in and start planning the dinner for the perfect romantic meal, potluck, or barbecue — because grilled shrimp lend an effortless elegance to every casual or formal dining occasion – and they look good doing it.
1. ZUCCHINI MATCHSTICKS
A Mediterranean shrimp dish would pair perfectly with these light zucchini matchsticks.
The savory combination of parmesan and almonds lends itself to herbs like oregano, basil, parsley, and thyme. Maybe even a splash of lemon to round things out? Why not!
And did we mention these flavorful little zucchini matchsticks also have a kick of spice from garlic and red pepper flakes? That just makes everything better in our book.
Check out the recipe from Amy over at Belly Full: bellyfull.net
2. CARROT SLAW
Bright. Colorful. Joy on a plate.
Those are just a few of the things that will cross your mind when you serve some coconut shrimp with this stunning slaw.
The cool flavors pair well with lightly spicy food, so grab a big spoon, and get ready tuck into some huge flavors.
Jenn over at Peas and Crayons has the recipe for this Whole30 salad that will please even the most discerning eater. Check it out right here: peasandcrayons.com
3. SHAVED ASPARAGUS SALAD
Would you like one of your side dishes for grilled shrimp to have hearty farro, bright asparagus, edamame and stunning watermelon radish slices? If so, then this is the salad for you!
It’s lemony, and peppery from the arugula, and kissed with a little fresh mint. With all of these elements on the team, this salad swings for the fences and knocks it out of the flavor park.
Liz over at The Floating Kitchen put together a side dish that’s so loaded with textures and seasonings that it’s pretty as a boat at sunset.
Check out the recipe here: floatingkitchen.net
4. CREAMY PARMESAN ORZO
Do you know what your shrimp would love? This ooey, gooey, cheesy, garlicy, and herbalacious orzo. It’s grilled shrimp sides done creamy style.
It’s lucious, and flavorful, and has a little oomph from the cayenne.
What shrimp dish wouldn’t love to hang out on a plate with this deliciousness? Hello, darling! Come sit next to me!
Natalie over at Life Made Simple Bakes gives readers the recipe to this simple and creative side dish that will please everyone at the table. lifemadesimplebakes.com
5. BRAISED WHITE BEANS
Grilled pesto shrimp would love these creamy braised beans. Even though their braised, they come together in the blink of an eye because the base is canned cannellinis.
Garlic? Check. Onions? Check. Rosemary? Check. Pure perfect savory and creamy beans? Oh, yes.
This is the perfect weeknight side dish.
Follow this link over to Yeah I Made It, where they recreate this dish from a popular restaurant. Mmm. Braised beans: yeahimadeit.com
6. CREOLE RICE AND BEANS
“Nom, nom, nom,” is what your grilled shrimp is going to think when you lay it next to this colorful and spicy Creole dish.
Beans, bell peppers, and celery cooked to perfection in bacon grease – yes, bacon grease – to create the side dish to beat all other side dishes.
Nom, nom, nom, indeed.
Elaina over at The Rising Spoon makes this impossibly fantastic concoction sing and dance. Follow the link below for the instructions: therisingspoon.com
7. LEMONY BROCCOLI AND CANNELLINI BEANS WITH BACON
Grilled shrimp loves lemon, and lemon returns the favor in this hearty side dish, loaded with white beans and bacon.
Did we mention that the broccoli is charred for amazingly deep and decadent flavor?
Get your salty and smoky broccoli on!
8. GARLIC CHIVE BUTTER BABY POTATOES
Is there any shrimp dish that wouldn’t adore buttery baby potatoes enveloped in chives and garlic?
You’re right. We can’t think of one either. This is one of our favorite options for what to serve with grilled shrimp.
All shrimp would metaphorically walk a mile for those flavors!
And did we mention that there’s parmesan cheese too? This really is “the only roasted potatoes recipe you’ll need!”
Join Bee over at Rasamalysia, while she lays out the simple steps for this stellar side dish. Dig in to the recipe here: rasamalaysia.com
9. ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS
Simple. Elegant. A classic. Caramelized Brussels sprouts are the ultimate pairing for lemon shrimp. Or coconut shrimp. Or grilled shrimp.
These Brussels sprouts are almost as versatile as the main dish!
Dani over at Clean and Delicious shows viewers on her YouTube channel how to prepare these wonderfully simple and flavorful green veggies.
They’re perfect for a quick weeknight meal because they come together in the blink of an eye and evaporate off the serving platter.
She also has some handy tips on how to get them perfectly charred. Boo ya!
Head over to her channel for instructions.
10. FRIED CAULIFLOWER RICE
Savory, gingery, lightly spicy, and deeply nuanced teriyaki shrimp will love this stir-fried “rice.”
While it’s loaded with umami flavors like sesame oil, it also has a kiss of sweetness from carrots and peas.
And here’s a fun bonus: You can prep the majority of the ingredients in advance and freeze them.
Now, that’s a present to yourself – from yourself – on a busy weeknight when you just want the good stuff without much effort.
Kaylie over at Paleo Gluten Free Eats has step-by-step instructions on how to make this stunning side dish. Learn all about her recipe here: paleoglutenfree.com
11. ITALIAN ROASTED MUSHROOMS AND VEGGIES
How fantastic would it be to pair Mediterranean shrimp fra diavolo with this garlicy – oh so amazingly garlicy – combination of vegetables that are chock-a-block loaded with Italian flavors?
Make enough so that everyone can be sated. Because people are going to want their plates heaped high and large with this vegetable medley.
You can even try throwing these same veggies on the grill and make some grilled shrimp kabobs on wooden skewers. Too good.
Jo over at Jo Cooks has this stunner of a recipe that’s nearly hands off. It will keep everyone around the table begging for “just another spoonful.” Seriously. See her recipe here: jocooks.com
12. AVOCADO QUINOA SALAD
Lemon shrimp will beg to hang out on a plate with this bright and vibrant avocado quinoa salad that’s loaded with crunchy cucumber, lightly spicy red onion, fresh spinach – and joy of joys – deliciously salty crumbled feta.
The salad is as simple to prepare as it is satisfying to indulge in.
Sure, it’s healthy too, but that’s just a side benefit to the incredible flavors tossed together in a tart and citrusy lemon vinaigrette.
Head on over to Chelsea’s Messy Apron for all of the goodness: chelseasmessyapron.com
13. SWEET POTATO FRIES
Impress your friends and astound your taste buds with some southern fried shrimp served with sweet potato fries.
These baked fries aren’t tossed in everyday oil. Oh, no. They’re combined in decadent ghee and utilitarian cornstarch to create super crispy and lightly buttery sweet and savory fries.
Join Emily over at Layers of Happiness for all of the tips on how to make these chili and garlic treats: layersofhappiness.com
14. SCALLOPED POTATOES
Join Dennis over at The Mobile Home Gourmet for a wonderfully in-depth look at scalloped potatoes. Think of blackened shrimp on a plate with these creamy potatoes, and imagine how well they’ll meld together.
Excuse us, while we take a moment to ruminate on that.
There’s also heavy cream, cheddar cheese, and fresh thyme involved.
We feel comfortable saying that this is definitely the side dish you’ve been daydreaming about.
15. ARUGULA PESTO AND PEA SALAD
Peppery arugula makes everything better. And when you combine it with fresh mint, lemon juice, garlic, peas, and pine nuts – well, that’s a base for a side dish that any shrimp lover will adore.
Serve it alongside lemon shrimp, grilled shrimp, or just a good herbed shrimp dish and you will have people clamoring for more. More, please!
The pasta comes together in minutes with a couple of short cuts, and looks pretty as a picture on a fine china plate and a linen-draped table.
Or, for that matter, on a wooden park bench while watching kids play ball.
Read all about Kelly’s recipe over at Eat Yourself Skinny: eatyourselfskinny.com
What to Serve with Grill Shrimp and Beyond
WE EAT IT! AND WE MEAN, EAT A LOT OF IT!
We love shrimp so much that we harvest over 650 million pounds a year of it. And we import another 200 million pounds. Yes, we consume 850 million pounds of shrimp a year.
It boggles the mind! But it’s also not that surprising when you stop and think about it.
Shrimp is not only scrumptious, it’s amazingly versatile, sublimely easy to prepare, and readily available even if you’re not right on the East or West Coasts.
There are so many reasons to take advantage of this bounty!
A historical abundance of shrimp has a big reason for its popularity in certain regions – not to mention it was pivotal in the creation of one of America’s favorite dishes.
A REAL CLASSIC
The abundance of other ingredients has also provided a base for one of the most classically American dishes – shrimp and grits.
The Muskogee tribe started one half of the classical combination by grinding corn in a stone mill – which made the corn “gritty.” You can learn more here.
Then settlers went nuts for the ground corn and used it for currency. (That’s some delicious corn-ency!)
Gullah Geechee slave descendants from West Africa also used to catch shrimp and cook them in a myriad of ways – including with grits.
The combination of shrimp and corn stayed a fairly local, low-country dish for many years.
That is until a northern food writer stumbled across a young Chapel Hill chef in 1984. That food writer was Craig Claiborne from The New York Times.
The restaurant where the chef worked was Crook’s Corner and the chef was Bill Neal who ingeniously combined cheddar and parmesan in the grits.
And a star was born. When Claiborne published the recipe, shrimp and grits burst onto the culinary scene in a meteoric way. (And it’s stayed there – as any fan of Top Chef knows.)
So, when it comes to side dishes – grits will always be the little black dress, the V8 engine, representing the ultimate classic on the plate.
GRILLED SHRIMP RULES THE MENU
Americans love grilled shrimp. And whether it’s a spicy dish, a hearty one, or just a quickly grilled dish, these little sea creatures rule the menu from rural diners in the south to white linen spots in N.Y.C. (And vice versa.)
And now that you have a collection ideas for what to serve with grilled shrimp to play with too, what’s going to be on your table tonight?
Related Meals, More Great Sides
Check out these side dishes for your other favorite, similar meals.
- Crab Cakes sides: One of the best seafood dishes invented. Period.
- Coconut Shrimp sides: Yes, there is another delicious way to eat shrimp.
- Lobster Tail sides: Side dishes never tasted better.