Shrimp Tostadas with Cilantro Lime Cabbage Slaw

Shrimp tostadas are an even more delicious alternative to shrimp tacos. Sweet and spicy shrimp, creamy refried beans, and crunchy tangy cilantro lime cabbage slaw are piled high on crispy tortillas and finished off with more toppings including creamy avocado, salty cheese, and spicy jalapenos. 

A made tostada with all of the fixings surrounding it

Reasons to love this recipe 

It comes together quickly: Each component of this recipe is quick to prepare, making this recipe great for weeknights. Try it instead of your favorite tacos on the next taco Tuesday. The shrimp even thaws quickly, which means this is the perfect recipe to throw together when you forget to pull something out of the freezer. 

It is easily customizable for different tastes: The tostadas can be assembled before serving, or they can be served in a 'build your own' fashion. To do this place all toppings in individual dishes and let each person build their tostadas. This would be the ideal way to serve them if they are made for a party or entertaining a larger group. 

Raw shrimp in mixing bowl covered in spices

Recipe variations 

This easy slaw recipe is quick to come together and uses fresh cabbage, but to make it even more effortless, pre-shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix can be used. Consider using a combination of green and red cabbage for an even more colorful dish. It is the perfect accompaniment to this tostada recipe and is also delicious on your favorite fish tacos or shrimp tacos. 

Leftover slaw and shrimp can be stored for 2-3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Additional toppings such as fresh pico de gallo, sliced green onions, sour cream, sautéed bell pepper strips, or guacamole can be added to customize the tostadas even more. 

Wild for Salmon white gulf shrimp is perfect for this recipe and requires no prep, though another firm white fish such as halibut or cod could also be used. In this case, cut the fish into 2-inch cubes before seasoning it with taco seasoning and salt. Once the fish is cooked, gently flake it apart into large pieces. 


Sheet pan: A sheet pan is used to bake the corn tortillas to crispy perfection. 

Pastry brush: A pastry brush is helpful to spread the oil on the tortillas before baking, but if you don't have one available it's an easy enough job to just do with clean fingers. 

Mixing bowls: Two mixing bowls are used to mix up the shrimp and the cilantro lime slaw.

Food processor: A food processor makes the cabbage shredding process take mere seconds. If you don't have one, consider using pre-shredded cabbage or use a sharp chef's knife to cut the cabbage head into quarters and then carefully into thin strips. 

Small saucepan: A small 1-quart saucepan or skillet is needed to warm the refried beans. Alternatively, they could be transferred to a microwave-safe bowl and microwaved in 30-second increments until thoroughly warmed.

Cast iron skillet: A cast iron skillet is used to cook the shrimp. Cast iron is an ideal choice due to its consistent heat retention. If you want to kick this recipe up another notch, consider using a grill pan and cooking the shrimp on high heat to get a little bit of char. 

All of the single ingredients each in their own bowls


Wild for Salmon white gulf shrimp: It is already peeled and deveined and ready to use.

Taco seasoning: Taco seasoning is responsible for a large portion of the flavor in this recipe, and using the spice blend makes the recipe come together quickly. If you prefer, you can make your own seasoning by combining cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and oregano. Corn tortillas: The flavor of the corn compliments the sweet shrimp perfectly. If you prefer, small taco-size flour tortillas could be used. 

Avocado oil: Avocado oil is a neutral cooking oil with a high heat tolerance. If you don't have it, another neutral vegetable oil such as safflower, grapeseed, or canola can be used. 

Green cabbage: Green cabbage is used as the base of the slaw and adds a crispy texture to the tostadas. Purple cabbage can be used in addition to or in place of green cabbage.

Red onion: Red onion adds a fresh peppery bite to the slaw and lends a beautiful color to the dish.

Cilantro: Cilantro adds a wonderful savory flavor and bright color to the slaw. 

Limes: Lime juice makes up the majority of the 'dressing' for the slaw, and lends the bright citrusy flavor Mexican food is so well known for. 

Refried beans: Refried beans add additional protein to the dish and helps the other ingredients stay on the tortilla. Use refried pinto beans, or black beans, and look for a can that has seasonings added.

Avocado: Avocado adds a creamy texture to the tostadas. 

Cotijta cheese: Cojita cheese is a salty firm cheese commonly used in Mexican cuisine. If you have trouble finding it, another crumbly salty cheese such as feta can be used. 

Jalapeno peppers: Thinly sliced jalapenos add a bit of heat to the final dish. 

[[ recipeID=recipe-8lgmpq3wh, title=Shrimp Tostadas with Cilantro Lime Cabbage Slaw ]]

Chef Marisa chopping vegetables in her kitchen


Marisa Kerkvliet of Lemon Thyme Kitchen is a freelance recipe developer and food photographer with a Master’s degree in Nutrition. She was raised on her family’s farm in Northwest Washington and her appreciation for good food developed at a very early age. She is passionate about creating recipes and beautiful imagery that highlight high-quality seasonal ingredients. Marisa loves all types of seafood, but her favorites are salmon and scallops!
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