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South Carolina's Winning Recipe: Carolina Shrimp Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

“Every fall, shrimp season opens in South Carolina. My grandpa and I always go out and watch the shrimpers head into the ocean on their huge shrimp boats. We always buy shrimp fresh from the ocean and go home to think of creative new ways to cook them. This recipe is a combination of spicy flavors my grandpa likes, complimented by the sweet flavors I like.”

Kiana White, Age 12, the 2016 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winner from South Carolina


Makes 4 Servings

For the Salsa:

  • ½ chopped seedless jalapeño
  • ¼ cup chopped sweet Vidalia onions
  • ¼ cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • ½ cup finely chopped red cabbage
  • 2 fresh limes, juiced
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • ½ avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • ½ cup chopped pineapple
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

For the Shrimp Tacos and Quinoa:

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 20 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 whole-wheat tortillas
  • 1 cup quinoa rinsed
  • ½ cup spinach, chopped


  1. To make the Salsa: In a medium bowl, combine all the salsa ingredients. Cover and chill.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the tablespoon olive oil, garlic, cumin, chili, salt, and cayenne pepper (if using). Add in shrimp and toss to coat completely. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes to marinate.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium pot, bring 2 cups of water and the quinoa to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat and mix in spinach. Set aside.
  4. In a large nonstick skillet, warm the remaining teaspoon of oil over medium high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until pink and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and cover to keep warm.
  5. To Assemble: Warm the tortillas in the microwave. Arrange ¼ cup of the quinoa-fish mixture down the middle of each tortilla. Add ¼ of cooked shrimp and top with salsa. Tightly wrap the tortillas and cut in half to serve. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve with additional salsa, if desired.

383 calories 13g fat 53g carbohydrates 14g protein