Shrimp Enchiladas with Grilled Salsa Verde

in Cinco de Mayo, Lighter & Healthier, Mexican & TexMex, On the grill, Seafood, Tacos, Enchiladas & Quesadillas

Shrimp Enchiladas with Grilled Salsa Verde

In our house, enchiladas are a weekend food. There isn’t anything overly complicated about them, but the clock ticks away as I’m making the sauce, making the filling, and then rolling and baking the enchiladas. All while stopping every 2.3 minutes to attend to the 2-year old. Instead of eating dinner flustered at 8pm on Wednesday, I’ve found that it’s just easier to make them for Saturday at lunch without the pressure.

And then have them as leftovers all weekend.

Shrimp Enchiladas with Grilled Salsa Verde

These green enchiladas bear almost no resemblance to the greasy, over-cheesy versions you get at a restaurant. These are light and flavorful and pretty healthy. And the homemade sauce is a total rockstar – it’s infused top-to-bottom with smokey flavors from the grill and is what separates these enchiladas from other green enchiladas.

And if the tomatillo plant in our garden turns out to be as prolific as it seems to be, I’ll be making vats of this sauce for the freezer.

We took the ingredients for the sauce, tossed them in a little vegetable oil, and threw them on the grill to caramelize and char just a bit. We added lime, a little heat in the form of serrano, and then tried to stop ourselves from eating it all before we finished rolling the enchiladas. The sauce is good with chips (thank goodness we were almost out of chips!) and has now replaced the sauce in our favorite Green Chicken Enchiladas.

Shrimp Enchiladas with Grilled Salsa Verde

A lighter green enchilada topped with a smokey, grilled salsa verde and Mexican cheese. Use the sauce over chicken or shrimp enchiladas.


  • For the sauce:
  • 4 poblano peppers
  • 1 serrano or jalapeno
  • 2.5 lbs tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed, and sliced in half
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 4 green onions, roots sliced off
  • Vegetable oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup (packed) cilantro
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • For the enchiladas:
  • 1 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 1/4 lb medium uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 12-14 small tortillas (I used flour)
  • 12 oz queso fresco, crumbled


  1. Heat your grill to medium-high and preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Rub oil over the tomatillos, whole poblanos, serrano, green onions, and garlic cloves.
  3. Grill 5 minutes per side, flipping once. (Take care when placing the green onions, try to make sure the thin green tops aren't over direct heat.)
  4. Transfer the poblanos and serrano to a bowl and cover tightly to let cool, ~10 minutes.
  5. Transfer tomatillos and green onions to the bowl of your food processor.
  6. Peel garlic cloves and add to the tomatillos.
  7. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the stems and skins, and slice in half to remove the seeds.
  8. Add 2 poblanos to the food processor. Finely chop the remaining poblanos and set aside.
  9. Add lime juice and cilantro to the food processor and processor for 10-15 seconds until you get the consistency of a chunky salsa.
  10. To make the filling, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  11. Saute red onions until softened, 2-3 minutes.
  12. Toss shrimp with a pinch of salt, pepper, cumin, and chile powder.
  13. Add to the pan and cook for another 3 minutes, until mostly cooked through.
  14. Add 3/4 cup green sauce and chopped poblanos to the pan, mixing thoroughly.
  15. Place 3/4 cup green sauce in the bottom of a 13x9 pan.
  16. Wrap tortillas around a scoop of filling, topping with a pinch of queso fresco, and placing seam-down in the pan.
  17. If you're using corn tortillas, you might want to dip the tortillas in the salsa if that's how you normally prepare enchiladas - the original recipe suggests this but I don't use corn tortillas.
  18. Top with remaining green sauce and queso fresco.
  19. Bake for ~20 minutes, until heated through and the cheese begins to brown.
  20. Leftovers will keep 2 days covered in the fridge.


Yields: 6-7 servings

Adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2009

Estimated time: 1 hour 30 minutes

14 comments… add one
  • Debra Kapellakis


  • these are absolutely gorgeous! and so flavorful. 🙂 yum!!!

  • I just ate a breakfast burrito for breakfast and now you’ve got me craving enchiladas for lunch. These look sooo good!

  • These look glorious! I love the sounds of that salsa verde!

  • dear goodness, i need one or five of these in my life right now! They look so fresh and flavorful, especially with those gorgeous roasted veggies. Wow.

  • Jennifer

    Looks so good!

  • Jiminy, these look amazing. And you may have inspired me to plant some tomatillos. They are just so darned cute in their little wrappers.

  • I know the first recipe I am going to make with the tomatillos from the CSA this year. That recipe for the enchilada sauce sounds right up my alley. I usually just use the canned stuff to save time, but this sounds well worth the extra effort!

  • My biggest pet peeve with eating at Mexican restaurants is all the unnecessary grease! I’d much rather make the food at home…but you’re right, it does take a bit of effort. Love the sound of that salsa verde! I NEED to get my hands on a grill.

  • Mark Dixon

    Made the salsa for Memorial Day and it was a hit! Thanks

  • These look amazing and I love the idea of making them for lunch and enjoying the process so much more than when everyone is getting hungry at dinner time!

  • Enchiladas are my FAVORITE leftovers! These look absolutely delicious – love salsa verde! 🙂

  • Tracee

    Joanne, you can do this successfully by broiling veggies in your oven. That’s what I do in the winter since I moved into a snowbelt and can no longer grill year round!

    I love the shrimp, but I roast me a chicken and debone it. I then put all the meat in a container with a can of Rotel and let it sit overnight. Then I divide it into three portions. That way, all I have to do is make the sauce! Enchiladas all the time! So looking forward to our trip back to Austin next week to get our fill of TexMex and BBQ…

  • Kristina

    I made the sauce this evening for a taco bar and it was fantastic. Next time I will try a Serrano pepper instead of a jalapeño to give it a bit more heat. The tomatillos gave the salsa a sweetness. Thanks for a great recipe.

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