These Garlicky Shrimp Tostadas Are My Family’s Current Weeknight Obsession

published Feb 23, 2023
 Shrimp Tostadas with Salsa Verde and Quick Curtido Recipe

Garlicky shrimp served on a crispy tosada with a quick curtido

Makes8 tostadas

Prep15 minutes

Cook12 minutes to 25 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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shrimp tostadas
Credit: Amelia Rampe

In my house, we love tostadas. With a few ingredients you can turn a crunchy tortilla shell into a meal that satisfies your entire household. The latest version to be making the rounds in my kitchen: shrimp tostadas with quick curtido and salsa verde. It’s crunchy, deeply flavorful, and makes a great lunch or dinner.

Tostadas are super customizable. Don’t just follow the recipe: You can add or take away whichever elements you want. I really loved mine with a drizzle of Jenn de la Vega’s Salsa Macha recipe. For extra creaminess, feel free to smear the tostada shell with crema or add avocado. Have a different type of salsa in your fridge? Swap it in for the salsa verde. The possibilities are endless.

What Is Curtido?

Curtido is an El Salvadorian and Central American slaw made with cabbage, carrot, onion and habanero that has been fermented with an acid-based brining liquid. It’s bright, it’s crunchy, and it adds great flavor to the overall dish. For this recipe, I swap in jalapeños and skip the fermenting process to make a quick curtido. While the slaw wilts in a vinegar-based solution, I prepare the shrimp and tostada shells.

My Favorite Shrimp Marinade

My favorite method for marinating shrimp is simply tossing the shrimp with a generous amount of chopped garlic. The shrimp acts like a sponge to the garlic, soaking up all the delicious flavor. Some of my favorite shrimp recipes — Yasmin Fahr’s Garlicky Shrimp with Creamy White Beans, Meghan Splawn’s Shrimp Scampi, and my Garlic Butter Baked Shrimp — use this method. In this recipe, I also add lime zest to amp up the flavors.

Homemade Versus Store-Bought Tostada Shells

Making a tostada from fresh corn tortillas is my favorite way to prepare a tostada. If you have the time, I highly suggest frying small corn tortillas in a skillet. But if you are short on time or would prefer to skip this step, you can of course use pre-made tostada shells. Simply re-warm the shells directly on the oven rack for two minutes until fragrant.

Shrimp Tostadas with Salsa Verde and Quick Curtido Recipe

Garlicky shrimp served on a crispy tosada with a quick curtido

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 12 minutes to 25 minutes

Makes 8 tostadas

Nutritional Info


  • 1/4

    medium green cabbage (about 5 ounces)

  • 1

    medium carrot

  • 1/4

    large white onion

  • 1

    medium jalapeño pepper

  • 1/4 cup

    apple cider vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons

    granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 4

    cloves garlic

  • 1

    medium lime

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    uncooked large shrimp (16 to 20 per pound)

  • 8

    (about 5-inch wide) corn tortillas, or 8 store-bought tostada shells

  • 2 cups

    plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

  • 1/4

    medium bunch cilantro

  • 1/2 cup

    salsa verde


  1. Prepare the following, adding each to the same medium heatproof bowl as it is completed: Core and thinly slice 1/4 medium green cabbage until you have 2 cups. Peel 1 medium carrot and grate on the large holes of a box grater, (about 1/2 cup). Thinly slice 1/4 large white onion (about 1/2 cup). Trim and halve 1 medium jalapeño pepper lengthwise, then remove and discard the seeds and white ribs; finely chop the jalapeño (about 3 tablespoons).

  2. Place 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Pour over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, marinate the shrimp.

  3. Finely chop 4 garlic cloves and place in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Finely grate the zest 1 medium lime directly into the baking dish. Cut the zested lime into wedges and reserve for serving. Peel and devein 1 1/2 pounds large uncooked shrimp if needed; add to the baking dish and toss to combine. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven and fry the tortillas or toast the tostada shells.

  4. If using corn tortillas, fit a wire rack onto a rimmed baking sheet and top with a paper towel. Heat 2 cups of the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Fry 3 (5-inch) corn tortillas at a time: Add to the hot oil and fry, flipping halfway through, until deep golden brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to the wire rack. Repeat until you have 8 fried tortillas.

  5. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400ºF. If using store-bought tostada shells, place 8 in a single layer directly on the oven rack and bake until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

  6. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil oil and the remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt to the shrimp and toss to combine. Arrange the shrimp in a single layer. Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake uncovered until the shrimp are just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, finely chop the leaves and tender stems from 1/4 medium bunch fresh cilantro until you have 2 tablespoons; pick some more for garnish and reserve.

  7. When the shrimp are ready, add the chopped cilantro and toss to combine.

  8. To assemble: Top each tostada with 1 tablespoon salsa verde and spread into an even layer. Top with 1/4 cup curtido and 3 to 4 shrimp. Garnish with the cilantro leaves and serve with the lime wedges.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

This post was originally published on Kitchn. Read it there: Shrimp Tostadas with Salsa Verde and Quick Curtido

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