For years, we have enjoyed a delicious appetizer at a local Mexican restaurant. It is simply called “prawns.” It consists of shrimp sautéed with mushrooms and spices in a special red sauce, all served over a bed of rice. The menu doesn’t really mention the creamy melted cheese. The cheese is a great addition to an already delectable appetizer. Like many appetizers, it also makes a great main course. We decided to add our touch and make this a “Tasty Low Carb” specialty.
We eliminated the carb-culprit called rice by using “riced cauliflower” instead. It is amazing how many recipes begin with this low-carb vegetable. It is even more amazing how much it looks and tastes like rice. Other vegetables in the recipe are mushrooms and a few green peas. The mushrooms are sautéed in a combination of butter and olive oil with the rice and smashed garlic cloves – delicious.
We peeled and deveined our shrimp. You can leave the tails on for presentation. Some people like having the tail as a handle when eating grilled or steamed shrimp. Since the shrimp are cooked in a red sauce and incorporated into the vegetable cheese mixture, we take off the tail – much easier to eat. We use 13-15 count shrimp for this recipe.
The final two ingredients make the dish standout. First, we used Monterey Jack cheese. It is creamy, melts well, and mixes perfectly with the rice and mushrooms. Each bite is very creamy and tasty. The sauce of the restaurant “prawn” appetizer is a mildly-hot tomato based mixture with a little vinegar tang. We inquired about the pepper they use for the restaurant sauce. Understandably, we really did not get an answer – chefs do protect their secrets. We believe it is a reconstituted papilla pepper blended with tomato sauce – you can use that as a guide for the heat level.
With the slight vinegar taste, the sauce is very similar to a standard red enchilada sauce. Purists would go for reconstituting chiles, blending fresh tomatoes, and adding just the right amount of vinegar for a homemade sauce. We agree this would be best . . . but our recipe already has a lot of steps and pans so we decided to make it simple and still have the taste we were hoping to enjoy. We used a top-notch La Victoria Mild Enchilada Sauce. Of all the canned enchilada sauces at the market, it is one of the lowest in sugar content. One-quarter cup yields only 2 net carbs.
We used two skillets for this recipe, but you could make it a one skillet dish if you prefer. The rice, mushroom, and garlic were sautéed in one skillet and the shrimp were cooked in the second skillet in the red enchilada sauce.
Once the vegetable mixture was ready (the rice should still be slightly firm and the mushrooms cooked through), we added the peas, topped with Monterey Jack cheese and placed the whole skillet under a broiler just long enough to melt the cheese. Any quality Mexican cheese will work well with this dish as long as it melts easily and is thick, creamy, and tasty. Sometimes we also garnish with crumbled Queso Fresco.
The shrimp in the red sauce will only take 2 minutes to cook and should be turned once. We plated the vegetable cheese mixture, topped it with some sauce, and added the cooked shrimp on top. It will continue to cook while you are assembling.
Also, the garlic adds a very unique flavor with the mild red sauce heat. The shrimp cooked in the red sauce tastes just like our favorite restaurant appetizer. The fresh uncooked cold avocado slices provide a contrast to the mild heat and tangy tomato sauce – a perfect garnish!
As we mentioned, two pans and some specific steps, but you have a delicious finished recipe when you are done!
Our drink of choice for this meal is our “low-carb margarita.” If you haven’t tried it yet, it is the best we have found and has less carbs than the most popular low-carb beer on the market. Enjoy our Shrimp in Red Sauce with Mushrooms and Rice tonight!
- 16 ounces shrimp (13-15 count, peeled and deveined)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 10 ounces mushrooms (sliced)
- 12 ounces cauliflower (riced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 8 ounces Monterey Jack (grated)
- 8 ounces enchilada sauce
- 1/4 cup green peas
- 1/2 avocado (sliced)
- sea salt (to taste)
- pepper (to taste)
- Melt olive oil and butter in an oven proof skillet on medium-high heat. Add sliced mushrooms and cauliflower and cook for 6 minutes.
- Add minced garlic and peas and cook for 2 minutes.
- Top mixture with Monterey Jack cheese and place entire skillet in broiler until cheese melts - 1 minute.
- While cheese is melting in the oven - salt and pepper the shrimp and cook over medium heat in the enchilada sauce for 2 minutes.
- Plate the vegetable mixture and top with a couple spoonfuls of sauce - add cooked shrimp, and peas and avocado slices for garnish.