Grilled Shrimp Cocktail with Two Green Sauces


With the typical hot September weather in San Diego (it’s when we get our summer), I broke out the grill so I could avoid heating up the house. I  made these grilled shrimp once before in a grill pan, but they’re even better on a real grill! What makes these so great is how simple and fresh they are — and light, which is ideal for when it’s hot out. You can serve them hot, cold or room temp, and with a wide variety of dips, from the green ones here to cocktail sauce to a vinaigrette. They’ll be a hit, so make a lot.

The green dips here are really fresh and interesting. The Tunisian pesto uses almonds instead of your traditional pine nuts, and parsley and cilantro instead of basil. The chutney has a Mediterranean influence, with kick from a jalapeño, plus ginger, yogurt, mint and cilantro — it’s spicy and herby and delish.


TW’s Tips

  • The dip recipes make a lot — freeze the pesto and serve with salmon or chicken another time.
  • The dips also involve a fair amount of food processor work — make them ahead to save on the headache.
  • Make sure you skewer the shrimp well so they don’t become grill martyrs.
  • I prefer larger shrimp versus medium.
  • Serve with a green salad or as an appetizer.


Grilled Shrimp


  • 1 pound medium shrimp with tails, peeled and deveined
  • Oil or melted butter for grilling
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lime


Preheat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium-high. Toss shrimp with just enough oil or butter to coat lightly, then season with salt and pepper to taste. If cooking on an open grill grate, thread the shrimp on skewers or place in a grill basket. Grill shrimp under they just curl and are translucent, about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Squeeze lime over the shrimp and serve warm or at room temperature with dip.

Tunisian Pesto


  • 2 cups packed fresh cilantro (leaves and some stems)
  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley (leaves and some stems)
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch Cayenne pepper (optional)


Combine the cilantro, parsley, almonds and garlic in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add about 1/3 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Add the salt and pinch of cayenne pepper. Serve immediately. Makes 1 cup.

 Fresh Green Chutney


  • 1 1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 scallions (white and green parts) cut into large pieces
  • 1 cup fresh mint (leaves and some stems)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro (leaves and some stems)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed (with seeds for more heat, without seeds for less)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water (optional)


With the machine running, drop ginger into the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add scallions, mint, cilantro, yogurt, jalapeño, lime juice and salt. Process to a textured paste similar in consistency to pesto, adding water to adjust the consistency, if desired.


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