These shrimp tostada bites are a mouthwatering, two-bite appetizer with loads of zesty, southwest flair. Prepared with diced, blackened shrimp nestled atop of mashed avocado, wispy red onions, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and Cotija cheese, these delectable shrimp tostada bites are sure to bring a touch of spice and zip to your next gathering!
A Two-Bite Appetizer with Zesty Flavors
For my hubby and I, the weekend signifies a break from the busy pace of the work week, some much needed rest and relaxation, and the opportunity to “let down our hair” and perhaps find some inspiration in the unexpected.
Little speaks of that lovely vibe better than mixing up a cocktail or two on a Friday or Saturday evening, and putting together a delectable finger food or appetizer to refresh and uplift our spirits.
One of our new favorite treats to prepare to accompany a fresh and zippy margarita, or even a smoky mezcal cocktail, are these shrimp tostada bites, brimming with lots of zesty, warming spices and fresh, colorful ingredients...
Mildly spicy, blackened shrimp is the star in these delicious and smoky two-bite morsels, along with cool and creamy mashed avocado kissed with lime, some thinly sliced red onion, sweet and juicy quartered cherry tomatoes, plus a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and tangy Cotija cheese as a finishing touch.
These shrimp tostada bites are the perfect appetizer to share and enjoy when we're craving something with a hint of heat and spice, and something to awaken our tastebuds and make us feel like we're tucked away in a little cantina somewhere with a warm, vibrant atmosphere!
Brimming with Fresh, Colorful Ingredients
To keep this fun and colorful recipe super easy to prepare, I'm opting for store-bought round corn chips as the mini tostada base, so there's no frying needed—yay!
The only stovetop cooking required is to very quickly sear off the shrimp after coating it in a tasty blackening seasoning mix, to create that delicious crust and deep, golden color which equals lots of zesty flavor.
The rest of the ingredients are all fresh, and meant to be the bright, sweet and colorful toppings for these shrimp tostada bites, offering some balance and a touch of coolness to the warmth of the freshly blackened shrimp.
Here's a glance at my shrimp tostada bites recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I season my shrimp and allow it marinate while I prep my mashed avocado.
- Then, I sear the shrimp off in a hot cast iron skillet for a few minutes, just until it becomes slightly charred and smoky.
- Next, I dice each piece of shrimp into 6 smaller chunks, to make it easier to add atop of each mini tostada and bite through. (This creates a shrimp topping that's reminiscent of a ceviche-style dice.)
- To assemble my shrimp tostada bites, I use round corn chips as the base, spoon some of my mashed avocado over each of them, add pieces of the warm blackened shrimp and a couple of cherry tomato quarters, then sprinkle some thinly sliced red onion, some cilantro and Cotija cheese over each, and serve immediately to enjoy both a cool and warm experience in each bite.
Shrimp Tostada Bites
by Ingrid Beer
These shrimp tostada bites are topped with avocado, red onion, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and Cotija cheese for lots of zesty flavor!
Yield: 18 tostada bites
Nutrition Info: 242 calories (per 3 tostada bites)
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
- 18 pieces of shrimp (26/30 count size), roughly ¾ pound
- Avocado or olive oil
- 2 teaspoons creole or blackening seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
- Black pepper
- 2 medium-large, ripe avocados
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- ½ teaspoon lime zest
- 9 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- ¼ cup (scant) thinly sliced red onion
- ¼ cup Cotija cheese, crumbled
- Micro cilantro or regular cilantro leaves, for garnish
- 18 round corn tortilla chips
- Lime wedges, for garnish/squeezing
- Hot sauce, optional topping
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Add your shrimp to a bowl, drizzle over them about 1 tablespoon of avocado or olive oil. Then, sprinkle over the creole or blackening seasoning, cumin, paprika, granulated garlic, a couple of pinches of salt, and black pepper, toss to combine, and allow the shrimp to marinate for about 10-15 minutes.
- While the shrimp marinates prepare you smashed avocado: cut both avocados in half, remove the pit, and peel away the outer skin. Add the avocado flesh to a bowl, add the lime juice and zest, plus a sprinkle of salt, and using a fork, smash/mash the avocado to your desired level of chunkiness. Cover with plastic and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
- To prepare the shrimp, place a cast iron (or other heavy-bottom skillet) over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 1-2 tablespoon of oil. Once the skillet is very hot, add about half of the marinated shrimp in, and allow the shrimp to sear/blacken on the first side for about 2-3 minutes, or until charred and cooked through. Flip, and sear another 2-3 minutes, until charred on the second side. Add to a bowl to hold, and repeat with remaining shrimp.
- Cut each piece of shrimp into 6 small pieces so that you have a dice out of them (it'll be reminiscent of a ceviche-style dice), then add the diced shrimp back to the bowl.
- To assemble the tostada bites, spoon a small dollop (roughly a scant tablespoon worth) of the smashed avocado into the center of each corn tortilla chip round, then top with 6 small pieces of the diced shrimp, about 1 shrimp worth. Add two quartered tomato pieces, then sprinkle over a couple of wisps of red onion, a sprinkle of Cotija cheese, and a sprinkle of micro cilantro or regular cilantro leaves.
- Place onto a serving platter or tray, and enjoy warm, or room temp, with extra lime and hot sauce on the side, if desired.
Tips & Tidbits for my Shrimp Tostada Bites recipe:
- Store bought corn chip rounds for the tostada base: While you could certainly cut out (using biscuit cutters) small rounds from fresh corn tortillas and then fry them, I'm simplifying things a bit and using thicker, round corn chips as the crispy tostada base for these—no frying required! (Avoid corn chips that are too thin, as they won't hold the topping as well and may break.)
- Use 26/30 count shrimp: I typically like to use this size shrimp for a recipe like this because they are not too small nor too large. And since these shrimp tostada bites are meant to be just a couple of bites each, I'm actually dicing each piece of shrimp into about 6 small pieces for an easier bite. You can purchase fresh peeled and deveined shrimp for ease, or even use frozen and allow the shrimp to thaw.
- Mashed avocado, or even store bought guacamole: Because it only takes a moment or two to mash an avocado with a fork and add a touch of lime and salt, I'm using fresh avocado for this recipe. But if you prefer, you can certainly buy some pre-made, good quality guacamole and use that to dollop over the corn chip rounds.
- Bright, fresh toppings, plus other tasty options: The flavor of sweet red onion, cherry tomatoes, cilantro and Cotija cheese is my favorite way to enjoy these shrimp tostada bites. But you could substitute some black beans, corn, or jalapenos for flair—feel free to get creative!
Craving more zesty appetizers? Check out this Mexican Corn Dip, these Thai Chicken Salad Wonton Cups, these Steamed Mussels, these Pan Seared Scallops with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, or these Chicken Taquitos with Avocado Ranch Dipping Sauce!