Growing up, I was that basic city girl who was too picky for anything but burgers, fries, and if I was feeling adventurous, the occasional chicken nugget.
I missed out on a lot of fab food as a result. One being coconut shrimp. I first experienced it in college while on spring break. It immediately became my favorite seafood.
Since then, I order it in restaurants, buy the frozen boxes, and more than occasionally make it from scratch. It doesn’t matter what the weather is outside, it’s always the season for coconut shrimp in my kitchen.
The key to making this shrimp dish seasonal is the sides. So, when thinking about what goes with coconut shrimp, I do take the weather and seasonal ingredients into consideration.
In the winter, I’ll serve up some soup or hearty starches. During the summer it’s more salsa and salad.
Below I’ve explored all the fabulous seasonal sides that go perfectly with coconut shrimp.
Hopefully, they’ll have you wanting to put the lime in the coconut!
1. Mango Salsa
This tropical style salsa pairs perfectly with coconut shrimp during the warm weather.
There’s no stove involved, so I appreciate not having to heat up my house. Another bonus is it’s one of those 10-minute to toss together that I find endearing.
Just dice the mango, onions, and jalapeño then put it in a bowl with cilantro and lime (which offsets the heat of the pepper), mix it up and let it chill for an hour or so in the fridge.
This snappy Greek word translates to mean a tasty dip made from yogurt and cucumbers. For this recipe, you will need garlic, dill, and mint for a little zing. But overall, this is a nice dip for people who like neither spice nor heat.
The key to good tzatziki is to squeeze out the excess liquid from the cucumbers after grating them. Then add everything to a bowl, mix it together and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.
It’s a yummy smooth dip for coconut shrimp, veggies, and crackers.
This dip is one of my faves because I adore avocados and the other ingredients help bring out the nutty flavor and don’t overpower it.
Aside from the avocado, there’s only lime, Greek yogurt, and salt and pepper.
Everything goes in the blender until puréed to a creamy consistency. The gorgeous color mimics that of pistachio ice cream and is nice on the side of a plate of coconut shrimp, raw veggies, tortillas, or mixed in with salads.
When I tell whomever may ask about what sauces go with coconut shrimp, this sweet chili salsa is always at the top of my list.
It’s a fabulous combination of sweet and sour with hints of tart and garlic. I liken it to the duck sauce we all get without Chinese food, only the flavor is fresher and bolder.
I use Serrano chilies (feel free to choose what works for you).
After dicing, combine them with garlic, sugar, rice wine vinegar and Jet canning starch to thicken the mix. Put everything in a saucepan to simmer.
This sauce is easy to make if you want, but it’s not required. The salsa takes about 15 minutes and is a great dip for spring rolls, dumplings, and can be drizzled on anything from rice to meat.
1. Kale Slaw
Whenever I’m asked what salad goes with coconut shrimp, I’m happy to recall an island vacation where one of my favorite lunches consisted of a piña colada, coconut shrimp, and kale slaw.
Yes, you read it right, kale! This vegan treat is a tasty alternative for people that don’t care for cabbage, or just really like kale.
It takes only 15 minutes to mix the other ingredients of red onions, olive oil, lemon, and chili flakes.
I like to sprinkle in a few sunflower seeds before drizzling on the zippy Lemmon garlic dressing. There’s no mayo involved, so it’s a nice slaw for people with egg allergies.
2. Quinoa Salad
I’m so glad someone finally put together an easy salad featuring this earthy whole grain seed. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and can easily replace allergy-causing nuts in recipes.
The ingredients are a simple collection of tomatoes, spinach, onion, avocado, and cucumber, but a bowl of this always satisfies my most intense salad cravings.
Let the quinoa cook while you quickly prepare the veggies. It also allows you just enough time to mix some olive oil, honey, lemon, and balsamic vinegar for the dressing.
This Quinoa salad is a great start to a meal and great to make for crowds.
Aside from the tastiness, the inviting colors are one of the many reasons I love this salad.
While the noodles are great, it’s the creamy peanut dressing that truly makes the dish unique. I like to combine it with coconut shrimp for an authentic fusion meal.
But it also stands on its own as a gluten-free and vegan option. The nice part about this recipe is that rice noodles are used, so there’s no boiling like traditional pasta.
It takes me no more than 20 minutes to toss together.
This salad is my go to when serving coconut shrimp during the fall. The rich colors alone are enough to motivate me to break out the pumpkins and scarecrows.
It’s simple enough to make on a weeknight with some burgers yet elegant enough to bring to a Thanksgiving celebration.
It’s loaded with an energizing array of fresh ingredients like spinach, cranberries, feta cheese, apples, and onions. It’s topped off with crispy bacon and an easy-to-make Dijon dressing.
The best part for me, the entire process takes only 15 minutes.
I’ve eaten this amazing cream-based soup with just about everything. I’ll say it’s outstanding as a side to coconut shrimp.
Its earthy smoothness is utterly incredible, yet it doesn’t steal the shrimp’s thunder. It’s the perfect soup for winter, but can be eaten cold on a sweltering summer day.
It’s a breeze to make and starts with sautéing the leeks and garlic in a stockpot. Then add the potatoes, milk, chicken broth, cream, and butter. While that’s going on, fry up the bacon. Once done, break up the strips and add it to the soup along with some salt, pepper, and dill.
The dill is key and will give an amazing layer of flavor, especially in leftovers. When the potatoes are done you can choose to leave them chunky or purée them.
I prefer doing half and half for a nice texture.
I always appreciate a soup that can adapt itself to my hectic and often picky family. This beautiful bright red bowl of creaminess is usually served chilled, but it can be heated, so no complaints from anyone that it’s too hot or too cold for soup.
The muted ingredients of fresh tomatoes, orange juice, carrots and cream make it compatible with anything from sandwiches to flavored meats and seafood.
It’s even better the next day for lunch and my son once poured it in a glass and had it for breakfast!
It takes about 25 minutes to sauté the carrots and garlic and purée all the ingredients together in a blender.
Then transfer it to a pit to simmer for about 40 minutes, and you’ve got an amazing all-season soup.
I was never a fan of pineapple, it was a bit too tart for me. But then a friend forced her grilled version upon me at a barbecue – I tried to be nice – but she was relentless.
So I just took a bite to make her take her fruit and go. To my shock, I instead found myself whipping out my phone to get the recipe as I downed another slice.
It wasn’t tart at all. In fact, the slight char made it delicious. The secret is in the buttery brown sugar glaze.
Since I love my sweets, I brush it on the pineapple slices both before and after it hits the grill.
My grill gets the slices done in about 8 minutes. When I’m looking for a bit of zing, I sprinkle a little chili powder on them.
Considered a savory snack in many Asian countries, spring rolls have many variations.
For this recipe, use a filling of sautéed cabbage, onions, carrots, and bell peppers. As you sauté them, sprinkle in soy sauce and vinegar.
Personally I like my rolls extra snappy, so I don’t let the filling go too long.
To make things move quicker, use store-bought wrappers that you can find at the local Asian market. After they’re wrapped, fry them in oil until golden brown, then pat dry.
The tangy filling is a nice contrast to the sweet and fruity coconut shrimp.
This simple recipe is the first to pop in my head when wondering what vegetable to serve with coconut shrimp.
This sautéed spinach and garlic is delightfully layered with earthy nuttiness and takes only 10 minutes to toss together in a pan with some oil. Just add a little salt, pepper, and chili flakes for some kick.
I like using the spinach as a bed on which to lay my coconut shrimp. It is simply gorgeous.
1. French Fries
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with frozen fries, but there’s something so tasty about the fresh cut homemade variety.
I know the thought of them can sometimes be intimidating, but never fear, this recipe is so easy.
I’m sure it will become a regular guest in your kitchen. The cooking is simple, just fry the sliced russets in 300-degree oil for 5–6 minutes. Take them out, blot them, and then fry again at 400 degrees for another 3–4 minutes.
Let them sit on some paper towels for a minute before adding salt and pepper and serving. That’s all there is to cooking them.
But the real secret to making these taters the crispiest is to let them soak in water overnight to remove excess starch.
Then Prince them twice. Trust me – that will give you some great fries every time!
Pair this herb-infused rice with the contrasting flavors of coconut shrimp whenever you yearn for a taste of the islands. It’s also a nice, easy way to impress dinner guests.
The blend of flavors is top-notch and will have even the pickiest of eaters go back for more. It takes only 30 minutes, so it’s great for a weeknight as well.
Cook the rice in chicken broth to give it a more layered flavor. But before adding the broth, toast the rice with some oil, garlic, lime juice, and butter. Once it’s fragrant, add the broth and simmer.
I’m not a huge fan of the can or jar when it comes to tomato sauce, but I don’t always have the time to make a huge pot of sauce and watch it simmer for hours.
If you feel the same, I’ve found the perfect solution for us both. This colorful recipe is easy to make and is done in the time it takes to cook the pasta.
The best part is – there’s no simmering involved. In fact, the only time it’ll see a lot is when you add it to the drained pasta.
As your pasta is cooking, core tomatoes then grate them down into a large bowl.
Leave some chunks to have a nice texture. Then mix in some olive oil, garlic, a bit of sugar, lemon juice, and fresh pepper. Let it sit and marinate for a few minutes.
After stirring it in with your pasta (I use Angel’s hair), top things off with some Parmesan and fresh basil.
It’s an amazing side dish that will round out any seafood or meat dish, but can also stand on its own as a vegetarian meal.
On the surface, sweet potatoes may not seem like the most exciting side when thinking about what to eat with coconut shrimp, but stay with me.
I say it’s exactly that unassuming simplicity that gives sweet potatoes endless potential.
They’re super easy to make, just wash them, poke a few holes, and bake for about 45 minutes.
They’re extremely healthy, and have a nutty flavor with a texture that can be even smoother than its cousin, the russet.
This leads me to the potential part of this recipe, which is honestly more of an idea.
I put out a toppings bar. It’s the perfect solution for anyone who dare say the potato is too plain, they don’t like it without butter, etc.
I put out bowls of just about everything, including butter, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, chives, cilantro, even black beans, and scallions.
That’s how I serve a simply delicious baked sweet potato. Everyone is well-fed and has fun making their custom potato!
All I can say about this fresh and easy recipe is, once you try it, you will never buy frozen garlic bread again.
Not only is it tastier with gobs of garlic, butter, and seasoning, but it’s less expensive, and you’re in control of how much garlicky goodness gets spread on top.
Use a French loaf, but Italian is good too. Split it in half, then make smaller pieces from them. Then place the butter, fresh, minced garlic, parsley, and Italian seasoning into a bowl and pop it in the microwave for about 20 seconds, just to let the butter melt.
The final prep step is my favorite, where you slather on the buttery garlic mix. I’ve been known to add some Parmesan, but that’s totally your call.
In 15 minutes your toasted bread will be ready to help kick off any meal.
These deliciously nutritious chips have been a part of my life since childhood. As I got older, I began buying fresh plantains and making my own.
They have a similar starchy texture to potatoes, but are heftier on the starch and have a nice earthy flavor. This recipe uses only a few ingredients to bring out that natural flavor.
Just fill a pan with good quality cooking oil, place your peeled and sliced plantains in when the oil is hot.
Then sprinkle in some salt and hot chili flakes. The key is to keep flipping and moving the plantains around until they’re a crispy golden brown.
This tasty carb takes a mere 20 minutes. They go with anything, but I love serving them up with coconut shrimp, kale slaw, and a big bowl of avocado crema for dipping.
Since I developed this recipe, I haven’t even bothered looking for any other way to make chocolate mousse.
This decadent dessert uses dark chocolate, espresso powder sugar, and eggs to deliver a fluffy cream that’s perfect for every occasion from Valentine’s Day with your spouse to dinner at home with friends.
The keys to making this mousse magnificent is to use top quality dark chocolate and allow the eggs to reach room temperature before using them. It usually takes me about 30 minutes to make, but I promise it’s not complicated.
The mousse will need 4 hours to chill before serving. I like to serve it in individual cups with a dollop of homemade whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top.
2. Key Lime Pie
This dessert is so refreshing I can almost feel the breeze of the Florida Keys in each bite of this iconic pie.
If I had to name a favorite part, it would have to be the macadamia nuts in the crust. It’s not only got an amazingly unique flavor, but a terrific texture as well.
That’s not to take away from the vibrant green filling. The creamy filling uses wholesome basics like eggs, condensed milk, sugar, and lime juice to gain its smooth texture and refreshing flavor.
The prep and cook time for this dessert is little less than an hour, but it needs to chill in the fridge for at least 90 minutes.
It’s the perfect summer dessert to serve after an equally tasty meal filled with fresh salad and coconut shrimp.
I feel like this decorative cake doesn’t get the respect it deserves. It’s such a classic, such a part of so many cultures, that we take it for granted.
The fact is, it’s an outstanding dessert in both flavor and presentation.
The process of making a pineapple upside down cake can really be compared to creating art. This recipe takes almost 2 hours from prep to plate, but it’s totally worth it. What makes this version unique is the use of pineapple juice in the cake batter.
It not only adds flavor, but a unique moisture level that is heavenly when combined with the crisp brown sugar and butter glaze.
The key to making this cake perfect is to let it sit for 20 minutes before turning it upside down and releasing it from the pan.
1. Piña Colada
I don’t know about you, but I never seem to get my fill of tropical fruit. Which is why I love pairing up my coconut shrimp with a creamy, ice-cold piña colada.
The flavors from both blend together seamlessly, making me feel like I’m lying on a beach listening to Jimmy Buffett.
This recipe calls for just 4 ingredients and takes only 15 minutes. Grab the blender and drop in pineapple juice, coconut cream, and some light rum, and some crushed ice.
The key is not to over blend. The ice should break down but not be completely pulverized, like a slushy.
This is one of my most beloved drink recipes because I can easily make a mocktail version for anyone who doesn’t drink alcohol.
As far as adult beverages go, nothing screams summer more than a refreshingly sweet mojito. This classic Cuban highball takes only ten minutes to whip up.
The crisp clean ingredients of lime, mint, club soda, sugar and white rum combine to make a light cocktail that will keep you going at outdoor summer parties.
It’s also a great before dinner drink that will clean the palate and get everyone ready for some tasty coconut shrimp.
3. Mango Lassi
Whenever I sing the praises of this delightful drink, I tell people to imagine if a fruit-filled smoothie met a rich cup of chai tea.
My kids can’t get enough of this creamy yogurt-based drink and that’s fine by me because it’s easy to make and full of nutrition.
The fresh mango, yogurt, milk, and cardamom powder make this traditional Indian treat a great alternative to after-dinner ice cream or juice with the morning breakfast.
Depending on when I serve them, I’ll sometimes switch out the sugar for honey. After blending all the ingredients, I let it chill for about an hour before serving.
Feel free to add some fresh mint or saffron for garnish.
What To Serve With Coconut Shrimp - 25 Sides
Sauces & Dips
- Mango Salsa
- Avocado Crema
- Sweet Chili Salsa
- Kale Slaw
- Quinoa Salad
- Asian Noodle Salad
- Honey Dijon Apple Bacon Cranberry Salad
- Potato Leek Soup
- Chilled Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
- Grilled Pineapple
- Veggie Spring Rolls
- Sautéed Spinach With Garlic
- French Fries
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Spaghetti With Fresh Tomato
- Baked Sweet Potatoes
- Buttery Garlic Bread
- Plantain Chips
- Dark Chocolate Mousse
- Key Lime Pie
- Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- Piña Colada
- Mango Lassi
- Pick a sauce.
- Pick a salad.
- Choose a drink.
- End with a dessert!
My name is Beth, Elizabeth Evelyn to be exact. A native Tennessean, I was born in the South.
I am the author behind Local Milk Blog.
Local milk is a journal devoted to home cookery, travel, family, and slow living—to being present & finding sustenance of every kind.
It’s about nesting abroad & finding the exotic in the everyday.
Most of all it’s about the perfection of imperfections and seeing the beauty of everyday, mundane life.