These Beef and Popcorn Shrimp Tacos are definitely going to be a hit at dinner – or lunch! Delicious coleslaw base topped with tender ground beef and then topped with crispy popcorn shrimp and then topped again with a simple tomato and red onion salad – all this in a flour tortilla. It’s a handful of deliciousness, for sure!
Don’t let the amount of ingredients fool you. It really is simple. The beef does not take long to cook and the salads are quick and simple to make. Plus, you can always make extra coleslaw and extra tomato salad and you will have leftover salads in the fridge for the next day.
Main Ingredients for the Beef and Popcorn Shrimp Tacos:
- Beef: Use 80/20 or 90/10 lean-to-fat ratio for ground beef. This will produce more tender and flavorful meat.
- Shrimp: peeled and deveined. If you are using large shrimp, 3 shrimp per taco is best. If the shrimp are smaller, like the size of actual popcorn, you can make 5 to 6 popcorn shrimp per taco.
- Seasonings: you will need: salt, salt, ground black pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, and chili powder.
- Marinara Sauce: I love using marinara sauce in this recipe, although it is more common to use tomato sauce for beef tacos. Any marinara sauce will work. I use tomato basil marinara sauce.
- Coleslaw Ingredients: shredded red cabbage, grated carrot, and some diced lettuce is all you need. Season it with salt and add mayonnaise.
- Salad topping ingredients: Tomatoes, red onions, and parsley seasoned with salt and drizzled with olive oil. I used mixed-color cherry tomatoes, but they are not always available. It’s great for presentation if you find them available in your grocery store. You may also want to add cilantro and/or avocado. The possibilities are endless here. Instead of the salad, you may want to just add diced tomatoes, or salsa, or some grated cheese.
- Tortilla: 7-inch tortilla is best for tacos. They fit perfectly in your hand and are large enough to fit all your ingredients. I used flour tortillas, but you can, of course, use corn tortillas.
How to toast a tortilla:
Tacos taste a lot better when the tortillas are slightly toasted. They taste like the tortillas were just freshly made!
Here are the 3 best ways to accomplish this:
- Skillet: Heat a large pan (no need to grease) over medium-high heat and, once the pan is hot, place the tortilla into the pan and toast for approximately 30 seconds on each side, or until the tortilla has toasted with lightly browned spots. Transfer the tortilla onto a plate and repeat with the remaining tortillas.
If you have a non-stick griddle, definitely use it instead of the regular skillet. You’ll get those pretty grill lines on the tortilla!
- Burner: If you have a gas stove, you can toast the tortillas directly on the burners. Turn the burner to medium and place tortillas, one at a time, directly on the burners. Toast each side of the tortilla for approximately 10 seconds. Please be careful and use tongs when flipping the tortillas over.
- Grill: we love the grill! But, it’s not always feasible during our Canadian winters. In the spring, summer, and fall, our barbecue is always grilling something! To toast the tortillas, heat the grill to medium and place 4 tortillas directly on the grill. If your grill is smaller, you may only do 2 at a time. It’s best not to place more than 4 tortillas at a time, even if you do have a larger grill. This way you’ll be able to ensure non of the tortillas burn. Heat each side of the tortilla for approximately 30 seconds. Please be careful and use tongs when flipping the tortillas over.
How to prepare the Beef and Popcorn Shrimp Tacos:
See the recipe card below for full instructions, but here is a short summary:
- Saute onion and garlic until translucent. Add ground beef, saute breaking up the beef (about 5 minutes), add the seasonings and the marinara sauce. Cook until the meat has cooked through, stirring occasionally.
- Beat egg in a small mixing bowl. Place breadcrumbs in a separate mixing bowl. Sprinkle the shrimp with chili powder and dip each shrimp in egg and then toss in the breadcrumbs. Fry shrimp dipped in egg and breadcrumbs until fully cooked and browned (about 1 minute per side).
- Prepare the slaw by mixing together the shredded red cabbage, diced lettuce, grated carrot, salt, and mayo in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Prepare the topping salad by mixing together the tomato, red onion, parsley, salt and olive oil. Set aside.
- Toast the tortilla by placing it directly on the burner (if you have a gas stove) for about 15 seconds per side. Or, toast on a frying pan – see above for more on toasting a tortilla.
- Place slaw in the middle of the tortilla, top with the prepared ground beef, shrimp, and salad topping. Fold the tortilla in half and serve using a taco holder (see below for more on how to serve the tacos).
How to serve tacos:
When serving tacos, it’s all about the presentation! And, well, making sure all the ingredients actually stay inside the tortillas, without making a mess. That’s why tacos are best served in a taco stand. There are so many available out there. Stainless steel, wooden, plastic. You may even want to make your own. If you enjoy DIY projects, here is an interesting website on how to make a taco holder.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Because tortillas get soggy fast, they should be consumed once prepared. But, you can prepare the beef, shrimp, coleslaw, and salad topping up to 2 days in advance. Store separately in the refrigerator, in airtight containers. Do not season or add mayonnaise to the coleslaw until ready to serve – the coleslaw may also get soggy. When ready to serve, simply reheat the beef and shrimp in an oven-safe dish in the oven or in a pan on the stove, until heated through. Add the mayonnaise and salt to the coleslaw and toast the tortillas. Then assemble the tortillas when ready to serve.
I have tried making the recipe with both, chicken and turkey. It definitely did not turn out as good, but it was still delicious. Because chicken and turkey are leaner meats, the taco was a little bit more dry than when I made it with beef. Pork should work well too because it does have higher fat content.
Absolutely. To bake the shrimp, preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle shrimp with the chili powder and dip them in the egg and then tossin the breadcrumbs like you would before frying. Arrange the shrimp on the baking sheet evenly in one layer and spray with cooking oil, flip the shrimp over and spray the other side. Place in the oven and bake until the shrimp are golden brown and have cooked through- approximately 15 minutes. No need to turn the shrimp over.
What can I serve with the tacos?
- Red Cabbage and Mango Slaw
- Quick Blender Guacamole
- Oven Roasted Potato Cubes
- Easy 3-ingredient Baked Potato Wedges