shrimp ceviche cocktail

The Best Shrimp Ceviche Cocktail

This shrimp ceviche cocktail is my husband’s favorite! He doesn’t rave about recipes often, but this is one he loves so much he’ll drink the sauce when all the shrimp are gone. He’s got a thing for sauces!

Ceviche is a popular Latin American appetizer and is usually made with lime juice, onions, and peppers. This version has a tomato base, but it’s not like a shrimp cocktail.

This shrimp ceviche cocktail is based on a Mexican version that adds sliced tomato and ketchup to the mix of onions, peppers and lime juice. The contrast between the acid in the limes and the sweetness of the ketchup is fantastic. And then there’s the heat from the habanero peppers to push it over the top. Habanero peppers are a hot chili pepper used in Cuban cooking. You’ll want to get them when they are ripe (orange in color). If you can’t find habaneros, you can use jalapeños.

shrimp ceviche cocktail

Use Cooked Shrimp For This Ceviche

Ceviche is usually raw fish that is cooked in lime juice. But shrimp ceviche is often cooked and then mixed with lime juice and other ingredients. My son worked in restaurants for many years, and while fish ceviche can be raw, they always cooked the shrimp before making the ceviche because it contains some harmful bacteria

You only need to cook the shrimp for about 1-2 minutes, depending on size. Then dunk them in an ice bath to keep them from overcooking. It’s important not to overcook them, so your ceviche tastes fresh and light, with just enough bite without being rubbery. You can tell when they are done because they turn pink and start to curl into a C-shape. 

For this recipe, I used 21-25 count shrimp and cooked them for 2 minutes. But you can use any size you like.

shrimp ceviche cocktail

How To Prepare Shrimp Ceviche Cocktail

Preparing ceviche is super easy. You just chop everything, squeeze some limes and mix it all together. The trick to preparing this shrimp ceviche is to use a mandoline to thinly slice the red onions and tomato. While you can eat it right away, I like to let the ceviche sit overnight to soften the onion and meld the flavors.

I use large shrimp for this recipe because the sliced vegetables can be rather large compared to smaller shrimp. But it’s good with medium shrimp too. It really depends on your preference.

Also, it really helps to soak the red onions in a cold bath for a while to remove some of the bite. I start soaking the onions before I get started with peeling the shrimp or cutting the veggies. They also soften a bit more when you let the ceviche sit for a few hours or overnight.

stuffed tostones cups

Ceviche Stuffed Tostones Cups 

I love to serve this citrusy ceviche in tostones cups. It’s one of my favorite ways to enjoy these little appetizer cups made from fried green tostones. The warm crunch of the tostones cups complements the spicy, limey ceviche for a terrific balance of flavors and textures. It also looks so crazy impressive when you serve it. You can follow this recipe to make the tostones cups from scratch. You may also find the tostones cups in the freezer section. Look for the Goya brand. 

shrimp ceviche cocktail

Other Great Ways to Serve Shrimp Ceviche 

If you can’t make the tostones cups, you can serve this ceviche with plantain strips that you can easily find in your grocery store’s chip aisle. Tortilla cups are also another fun way to serve this ceviche. 

But shrimp ceviche cocktail is tasty on its own and can be served in a cocktail glass with extra cilantro or in little tasting spoons. However, you decide to serve it, eat it with friends. They are so much tastier that way!

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shrimp ceviche cocktail

The Best Shrimp Ceviche Cocktail

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 18
  • Cook Time: 2
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Boil
  • Cuisine: Mexican


This Shrimp Ceviche Cocktail recipe is easy to make and is a great, refreshing appetizer for summer parties! I like to serve them with plantain chips or tostones cups, but they are also wonderful with tortilla cups. 



2 pounds large shrimp

1 medium red onion

1 medium vine ripened tomato

2 habanero peppers

4 limes

1 navel orange

1/4 cup ketchup

1 bunch cilantro

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Prepping the Shrimp: Peel and deveined the shrimp. Set a pot of salted water to boil. 

Prepping the Onions: While the water boils, thinly slice the red onion using a mandoline affiliate link. Then place the red onions in a ice-water bath to remove some of the bite. Set this aside. 

Cooking: Get a bowl of water and ice ready for the cooked shrimp (you’ll need to get the cooked shrimp to cool immediately). Once the water on the stovetop is boiling, add the shrimp and cooke for 1-2 minutes. The shrimp should turn pink and curl into a C-shape. Immediately remove them from the water add to the iced water. 

Prep the rest of the veggies: While the shrimp cools and the onions are soaking, cut the rest of the vegetables.

  • Thinly slice the tomato using a mandolin (discard the ends).
  • Remove the seeds and ribs from the habanero peppers and finely chop (be careful not to touch your eyes or mouth when handling the peppers). 
  • Chop the cilantro until you have about a 1/2 cup. You may want to add more or less to taste, and you’ll also want to add some fresh cilantro right before serving. 
  • Juice the limes and the orange, reserve the juice and discard of the fruit. 

Mixing: In a large bowl,  mix the ketchup, olive oil and lime and orange juices. Add the shrimp and the veggies. Mix and salt to taste. 

Let it sit for 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with more cilantro before serving. 

Serve with plantain chips, tortilla cups or stuff the shrimp in tostones cups



If you can’t find habanero peppers, use jalapeño peppers. Also, if you don’t like a lot of heat, you can omit the peppers or add a small amount, to taste. 

You can eat the shrimp ceviche cocktail right away, but it tastes better if you let it sit for a while. The onions and tomatoes also soften a bit more as it sits. 

You really need a mandoline affiliate link to get the thin slices that are best for this ceviche. I’ve tried to thinly cut the onions and tomatoes, but they were still too chunky and overpowered the shrimp. 

Don’t skip soaking the onions in a cold bath, it really helps to remove some of the bite of the onion. 

Keywords: Shrimp ceviche cocktail, Shrimp ceviche recipe, Best Shrimp ceviche recipe, How to make Shrimp ceviche, Easy Shrimp ceviche recipe, Shrimp ceviche ingredients, Easy Shrimp ceviche, Cooked Shrimp ceviche recipe

smoked salmon avocado toast

Easy Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast For Brunch

Brunch is absolutely the best weekend meal! I love hanging out with friends and family sipping on a mimosa and munching on these super tasty smoked salmon avocado toasts. On their own, smoked salmon and avocado toast are brunch stars but paired together they are Oscar material!

Crostini plays a supporting role to thinly sliced avocado topped with smoked salmon and a red onion and capers gremolata. I first tried making these little salmon toasts with cream cheese, but it was overpowering. The avocado has a more subtle flavor that lets the salmon shine through. And the gremolata was the perfect complement for both.

This brunch recipe doesn’t require any cooking and can be prepared in advance and assembled just before serving. If you can’t find ripe avocados, substitute avocado mash for the sliced avocado. However, don’t use guacamole for the base because it’s a bit too much with the gremolata. 

Let’s review this cast of characters.

salmon avocado toast

How This Easy Brunch Appetizer Stacks Up

Crostini – I used half inch slices of French bread cut diagonally. This gives you more room for smoked salmon and makes it more than just a bite. If you’re pressed for time, you can use store-bought crostini, but it’s better if you can make them. Store-bought crostini tends to be thinner and crispier. And having a thicker slice with a bit of a chew gives you a more satisfying bite and mouthfeel.

Avocado – I used thinly sliced avocado fanned out on the crostini. It looks super fancy and it’s so easy to make. You slice the avocado in half, peel it and thinly slice it from top to bottom. Then you run your fingers over it slightly to flatten and fan the slices like a deck of cards.

Smoked Salmon – I love the way the smokey flavor stands up to the other ingredients in this salmon toast. I had tried making a marinade for the smoked salmon, but it overpowered the salmon. The gremolata gives you a great punch without drowning out the delicate salmon flavor. 

Gremolata – I love this part! Gremolata is a traditional Italian herb condiment made with lemon zest, parsley and garlic. My take on it includes red onion, capers and cilantro, instead of parsley. The cilantro tastes so good with avocado!

smoked salmon canape

These Smoked Salmon Toasts Are Super Versatile

These tasty little toasts are perfect for Easter brunch, but they are so friendly and versatile you can serve them at just about any occasion.

Change the crostini for two thick slices of sourdough bread to make smoked salmon avo toast breakfast for two. 

Or cut the French bread into half-inch rounds to make smoked salmon canapes for your next party. This recipe makes eight little salmon toasts, but you can double the amount by cutting the bread crosswise into 16 small half-inch rounds.

Hanging out with friends having wine? These are perfect little montaditos, a Spanish tapas dish made with bread piled high with toppings. 

This little avocado toast has range, baby!

Don’t know about montaditos? It’s a special type of Spanish tapas (appetizer) made with baguette-style bread topped with all kinds of good stuff.  Check out my Ropa Vieja Montaditos recipe to get a better idea. 

Ready to brunch? Dale!

Download Brunch Menu Recipe Book

Make brunch even easier with this Brunch Menu e-book that includes an easy-to-make brunch menu, complete with a shopping list and all the recipes you need. Download the book and let’s get cooking!

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smoked salmon toast

Easy Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast For Brunch

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Category: Brunch
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: American


These smoked salmon toasts are an easy brunch recipe that requires no cooking. Smoked salmon and avocado piled high on a crostini with a lemon and caper gremolata is the perfect dish for breakfast, brunch or a party. 


8 slices of French bread cut on the diagonal, half-inch thick and 5 inches long

2 small Hass avocados

4 ounces smoked salmon

1/4 cup red onion finely diced

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped capers

3 tables olive oil, divided

zest of 1 lemon

salt and pepper to taste

chives for garnish


These smoked salmon avocado toasts require no cooking, just a little toasting for the bread. 

Crostini: Cut 8 slices of French bread on the diagonal. The slices should be half-inch thick and 5 inches long. Brush with one tablespoon of olive oil and lightly toast. 

avocado toast

Avocado: Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Peel and thinly slice each half. Gently push on the avocado slices to fan them out like a deck of cards. Take about 1/4 for each piece of toast. Place the slices on the toast and gently mold to fit. 

Salmon: Portion the salmon into 8 equal portions of half an ounce each.

Gremolata: Take the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil, the lemon zest, onions, capers and cilantro and mix in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Assemble: Top each avocado toast with one portion of smoked salmon and a spoonful of the gremolata across the top. 

Garnish: Cut 8 chives about 5 inches long and top each toast with one chive.


You can use mashed avocado in place of the sliced avocado. 

You can make the gremolata and toast the bread ahead of time and then assemble when you’re ready to serve. 

smokes salmon canape

You can turn this avocado toast into smoked salmon canapes. Just double the servings from 8 to 16 by cutting the French bread into half-inch rounds (crosswise not diagonal) and top with 1/8 of an avocado and a quarter ounce of salmon. 


  • Serving Size: 1 toast

Keywords: smoked salmon avocado toast, salmon toast, salmon avocado toast, smoked salmon canape, brunch recipe

Paella Pan

Paella Mixta Is The Perfect Party Food

Paella Mixta is party food! Actually, Paella Parties are very much a thing in Miami. Catering companies dazzle party guests with their paella pan the size of a kiddie pool and proceed to cook it right in front of them like it’s no big deal. I love Miami! 

Paella is originally from Spain, but my recipe is Cuban Paella (of course!) made with chicken, shrimp, and chorizo. As much as I loved Paella, I had never made it myself so I invited Mami to a paella party in my kitchen. While it had been years since she’d made paella mixta, she still had it! I loved watching my mom in her element, in the kitchen, cooking up a storm and telling me what to do! She does love to tell me what to do ;-) 

chicken and shrimp paella

I’ve since made this paella mixta many times. It’s my daughter’s favorite! Recently my son helped me make this dish, and he wanted to make a few edits to my recipe. I was very resistant initially, but seeing as he’s a professional cook, I gave in. The end result was much tastier! 

Not gonna lie. I’m both excited and annoyed that his is better. So here are a few things he did to level up my paella recipe.

My Son’s Edits To My Cuban Paella Mixta Recipe

  • He used ground chorizo instead of sliced. This added more flavor and color to the whole dish. 
  • Instead of adding paprika to the sofrito, he seasoned the chicken and shrimp with the paprika and salt and then added more to the sofrito. Seasoning at every stage really stacked the flavor. 
  • He dried the proteins before sauteing, so they got some really good color and crispness.
  • He killed the heat after the rice came to a boil. Once I add the rice, I usually bring to a boil and lower the heat and simmer it without a lid. He brought it to a boil, turned off the burner, and covered the rice. It came out with just a bit of bite, but not as wet as mine. While mine is excellent the first day, the rice did tend to get a little mushy when reheating leftovers. (I always make enough for leftovers!)

The paella spices in this dish are paprika and saffron. I like using smoked paprika and a generous pinch of saffron. Pound for pound, saffron is the most expensive seasoning you can buy. Luckily you don’t need to use more than a pinch. I paid about $8 for enough saffron threads to make 2-3 recipes. Don’t skip this ingredient because it’s an essential paella seasoning. It gives your dish authentic paella flavor.   The rice you use is also a key factor. You need to use short-grain rice similar to risotto. Cubans use Valencia rice, but if you can’t find it, use Arborio rice.

Cuban Paella

Now let’s talk paella pan. The traditional paella pan is wide and shallow and doesn’t have a lid. But you can use any wide skillet. I make mine in my mom’s caldero, a HUGE dutch pot that’s older than me. I know I was cooking in it when I was in my teens, and it was old then. These calderos are very common in Cuban cooking, and it’s what I use for most of my mom’s signature recipes. You can buy the calderos in various sizes, but Mami’s is extra-large because mom often cooks for a crowd. Yea, she’s extra.  

Oh, and the cool thing about paella leftovers is that you can make these amazing fried rice balls. You’ll love them as much as the paella!

Wondering what to serve with Paella? My favorite paella side dishes are twice-fried plantains (tostones) and a side salad. You can use this recipe to make the tostones or buy toston chips at the supermarket.  Now let’s get cooking! 

Bean Train Food For Thought header

Sometimes we can be too stubborn to change, even when it’s for our betterment. Standing in the grocery store arguing with my son about switching up my chorizo is an example. Here’s the kid whose diapers I changed telling me how to make Paella! I have pots older than him! 

But the truth is that my son is a very talented chef. I let go of my pride and allowed him to show me his techniques, which turned out to be an improvement. Pride gets in the way of our growing unless we learn to eat a little humble pie. The flavor is actually better than you would imagine ?

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chicken and shrimp paella

Cuban Paella Mixta

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Cuban


Paella is party food, a delicious crowd pleaser with a Latin flair. This chicken and shrimp paella has a little chorizo thrown in for an irresistible spicy flavor.  


  • 1/3 cup olive oil   
  • 2 cups white onion, medium dice (about 1 large)   
  • 8 cloves garlic, pressed   
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced   
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley   
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste   
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, more to taste* 
  • 1 tablespoon paprika, or a bit more* 
  • 3 cups Valencia rice  
  • 4 cups chicken broth  
  • generous pinch saffron affiliate link threads (Do not crumble the saffron.) 
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails on 
  • 2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • ½ lb ground Spanish chorizo (this is already cooked) 
  • 1 cup white wine   

For Garnish   

  • Jarred pimento peppers, cut into thin strips   
  • Frozen sweet green peas, thawed 


  1. Heat paella pancaldero or skillet over medium heat for a few minutes.  While it heats, prepare your ingredients.
  2. Trim the excess fat from the chicken thighs and thoroughly dry them. Then season with smoked paprika and salt on both sides. Set aside. 
  3. Peel and devein the shrimp. Thoroughly dry and season with smoked paprika and salt on both sides. Set aside. Dice the onion and peppers.  
  4. Rinse the rice. (I usually just rinse once.) 
  5. Now that the pot is hot add the chorizo and cook for 2 minutes until it’s starting to crisp. Remove from the pot but leave the drippings.  
  6. Add the chicken thighs in one layer and don’t crowd them. Cook it in stages if necessary. Cook on each side for about 5 minutes each. Remove it and let it rest.  
  7. Add the shrimp and cook on one side for about 3 minutes (you don’t want it to overcook and get rubbery. It will finish cooking with the rice. Once it’s done on one side, remove it and let it rest.  
  8. Saute onions, garlic, pepper for about 5 minutes, until softened. 
  9. Stir and cook for one more minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook one more minute. 
  10. Add the rice and cook it for about 6 minutes.  
  11. Add the chicken broth, wine, and saffron threads. Add the chicken, shrimp, and chorizo and stir and adjust seasonings if needed.
  12. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and cover. Let it coast for about 20 minutes. Rice should be a bit al dente. If you want to cook it a little bit longer, let it coast for another 10 minutes. If you’re not serving right away, you can transfer the pot to a 250-degree oven while you get everything else ready.  
  13. Once the rice is al dente, add the garnish and serve. Let’s get the party started! 


Seasoning: You’ll season each element individually, so you may end up using a bit more (my son does not measure his spices). I usually use the measurements provided, so I suggest you measure out the spices first and then sprinkle them from your measured portion. If you end up running out, just use a little more, it will be fine. 

Pans: I used an extra large caldero affiliate link that has been in my family for decades. But you can use a paella pan affiliate link. I’ve also linked to a caldero that’s similar to the one I have. Keep in mind that this is a very large pot and you may not have many uses for it, unless you cook for large groups. 

Keywords: cuban paella, paella mixta, paella spices, chicken and shrimp paella

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