Grilled Shrimp with Pineapple-Ancho Chile Salsa and Tortillas

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Editor's Note: Add some fun to your next get-together with friends when you include this recipe for Grilled Shrimp with Pineapple-Ancho Chile Salsa and Tortillas on the menu. This shrimp appetizer recipe has more than 10 ingredients, but don't let that deter you. It's actually pretty easy to make! With its bold use of flavors and fresh produce, this is one appetizer that everyone will want to scoop up as soon as it is served. If you'd like, you could even serve this recipe as a light main course.

I first tasted pineapple and cilantro in a salsa in San Bias, on the west coast of Mexico, which possesses some of the best shrimp I ever ate, as well as the longest rideable wave in Mexico. Taking breathers from many hours in the water, we would come up to a palapa (a beachfront stand) to eat bowlfuls of shrimp and drink beer. You can serve the shrimp in a heap with piles of chopped onion and thinly sliced cabbage. You have to have fresh, soft tortillas and just slap them on the grill for a second to warm them up.

This is one of your basic guest participation dishes, calling for folks to create according to their own taste. 

Serves4 as an appetizer

Cooking MethodGrilling


Total Timea day or more

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Game Day

Recipe CourseAppetizer

EquipmentBlender, Grill


Taste and TextureCrisp, Fruity, Herby, Hot & Spicy, Savory, Sharp, Smoky, Sweet


  • 24 16/20 count (medium-size) shrimp
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • ½ ripe medium pineapple
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • ½ large red onion
  • 4 ancho chile peppers, soaked in water for 12 hours, drained, and puréed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 6 tablespoons lime juice (about 3 limes)
  • ¼ cup pineapple juice
  • 16 soft tortillas (flour or corn), warmed slightly in the oven
  • ½ head green or red cabbage, shredded
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh red or green jalapeño chile peppers


  1. Peel and devein the shrimp and remove their tails.

  2. Thread the shrimp on skewers, salt and pepper them to taste, and grill over medium heat, 3 to 4 minutes per side, until they are opaque.

  3. Remove the shrimp from the skewers and chop each shrimp into 3 or 4 pieces. Set aside.

  4. Make the salsa: Dice the pineapple, red pepper, and red onion. Add the pureed ancho chile peppers, and mix together in a medium bowl with the oregano, cumin, and lime and pineapple juices.

  5. Warm the tortillas slightly on the grill.

  6. Put the shrimp, salsa, and tortillas out on a table, along with the shredded cabbage, sour cream, and jalapeños as garnishes, and let people make their own rolled tortillas.

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