Three fun ways to update the shrimp cocktail

photo by: Richard Gwin

Three updates on the classic shrimp cocktail, clockwise from left: Roasted shrimp with creamy sun-dried tomato sauce, confetti shrimp cocktail, and sauteed shrimp cocktail.

We all love shrimp cocktail, right? Extra spicy/horseradish-y? I don’t care if the 1970s called and want their appetizer back — it’s delicious. And it’s easy and everyone at your party will eat their weight in it.

The bonus is that it’s even healthy, which is not something we can say for most appetizer-y foods since they are typically laden with cheese, carbs, more cheese and sour cream.

I’ve been thinking about holiday snacks and parties, and what my go-to contributions are, and I’ve been feeling pretty guilty about hauling sausage balls and creamy dips into everyone’s lives. My friend Tim made it clear that some people actually appreciate an offering that isn’t quite as hard on the diet when they approach a snack table. Fine, then. Shrimp cocktail it is. But I can’t just do the regular old boring shrimp ring with the red stuff. I needed some new and fun ways to twist on the old favorite.

So, I give you shrimp cocktail party: three ways. All of the ways are fast, delicious and mostly health conscious.

Confetti Shrimp Cocktail


1 lb shrimp
1/2 avocado
1 jalapeno
1/2 red bell pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash hot sauce


Boil the shrimp, tails on. Dice all of the vegetables into very small pieces, in mostly a uniform size. Stir in the oil and spices. You can either arrange the shrimp on a platter and spoon the “sauce” over, or you can put it in a bowl or glass and arrange the shrimp around. Whatever presentation works for you!

Sauteed shrimp cocktail


1/2 lb small to medium-sized shrimp, no shells
1/2 cup chili sauce
1 tablespoons (or more — I like more) horseradish
Squeeze of lemon juice


Saute the shrimp in 2 tablespoons of butter until it’s almost cooked through. Meanwhile, mix up the rest of the ingredients into a cocktail sauce. Pour it over the sauteed shrimp and warm everything through. Serve with some crusty bread or good crackers on the side to serve as the vehicle.

Roasted shrimp with creamy sun-dried tomato sauce


1/2 lb large shrimp, peeled
Dash of olive oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
Dash salt and pepper
3 tablespoons prepared sun-dried tomato vinaigrette (salad dressing)
1/8 teaspoon garlic


Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Coat the shrimp in a bit of olive oil, and lay them on a baking sheet to roast for about 8 minutes.

Mix the sauce ingredients together, then arrange the shrimp on a platter and drizzle the sauce over. Garnish with a little something green for a pretty presentation.