Crispy, crunchy, lightened up Coconut Shrimp that are baked, not fried – perfect for a quick dinner or to serve as a party appetizer. This is just what you need to cure a case of the winter blues. This meal was such a breath of fresh air after eating my fill of soups and stews this winter. And it’s a meal I will be making again and again, guaranteed.
This home version of one of my favorite restaurant meals is baked, not fried, so it won’t undo a week’s worth of careful eating and exercise all at one sitting. It took me only 20 minutes to have a platter full of coconut shrimp ready for dinner. That means I can put them on the menu any night of the week, or save them for a relaxing weekend meal when I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
It took quite a bit of coaxing, but I finally talked my five year old into trying a bite of this. She loved it as much as I did – hooray! I’m always thrilled when I find something new she likes. They may be baby steps, but progress is progress!
The original recipe I found for making this coconut shrimp used sweetened shredded coconut, but after checking out those ingredients I opted to go with an unsweetened coconut from Bob’s Red Mill. It is dried coconut, so plan to soak it in some water for a few minutes to rehydrate it before using. You could also do this overnight or in the morning before leaving for work. I sweetened it with just a sprinkle of sugar and was very happy with the results. But if you prefer to use the pre-sweetened kind then just omit the addition of the sugar below. I also made these using gluten free ingredients, but you can easily change those ingredients to suit your own needs. Other than that I didn’t make any changes to the recipe – it was already perfect.
Lightened Up Coconut Shrimp
1 pound medium sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tablespoons gluten free all purpose flour, or use regular
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (such as Bob’s Red Mill, see above for tip on using dried coconut)
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs, or gluten free bread crumbs (I use stale gluten free bread to make bread crumbs in the food processor, then freeze unused portion for other recipes)
3/4 – 1 teaspoon sugar, depending on your taste
1/2 cup apricot preserves (I used Santa Cruz brand)
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or more to taste)
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Rinse shrimp and pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle lightly with salt to taste. Set aside. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or mist with canola oil – I use a Misto for this.
Place flour on a plate. Place eggs in a small bowl and beat well. Combine coconut, breadcrumbs, sugar, and a pinch of salt in another small bowl.
Working in an assembly line place one shrimp into the flour and turn to coat both sides. Coat shrimp with egg, then cover with coconut mixture. Place shrimp onto baking sheet. Repeat with each shrimp individually. Spray tops of shrimp with cooking spray or oil.
Bake for 7 minutes, then turn shrimp over and bake for 3-4 more minutes, or until shrimp is completely done. Larger shrimp will take a few minutes longer and smaller shrimp will need a shorter amount of time. Do not overcook shrimp.
Meanwhile, stir together preserves, vinegar, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.
Serve shrimp warm with dipping sauce on the side.
Recipe slightly adapted from Skinny Taste.