Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
16 Jul

Creamy Macadamia Shrimp

Macadamia nuts are often used as a crispy coating for seafood and that’s exactly where the inspiration for this recipe came from. We were craving something like macadamia nut crusted shrimp, but we didn’t want to take the time to dredge each little shrimp in a nutty coating and we didn’t want to deal with the mess of deep-frying. Occasionally, laziness in the kitchen can be a source of inspiration and leads us to create new dishes that take very little time to make but deliver big flavor. Creamy Macadamia Shrimp is exactly one of these dishes.

In twenty minutes or less you’ll be sitting down to a bowl of shrimp flavored by one of our favorite nuts, the macadamia. If you recall, it made the “10 Foods I Couldn’t Live Without” list where we mentioned mixing the mild, tropical-tasting nut with blackberries and Greek yogurt. This combo is perfect for breakfast or dessert, but if you want to bring macadamia nuts into your main course too, then Creamy Macadamia Shrimp is a recipe you definitely have to try.

A handful of ingredients come together to make a creamy, crunchy, rich sauce that has the slightly sweet flavor of macadamia nuts, the savory bite of shallot and a hint of coconut. It’s simple to make, but tastes complex. We can imagine serving the shrimp with a side of sautéed greens or on top of steamed cauliflower rice to make it a complete meal.

Be generous with the finishing squirt of lime – it will tie all the ingredients together and heighten the flavor of the dish.


2-3 servings

  • 1 pound of raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • Fresh lime juice to taste


Puree shallot, salt and macadamia nuts in a food processor until fairly smooth.

Melt butter in a pan over high heat and add shrimp. Saute one minute then add shallot-macadamia mixture. Stir the shrimp several times while they continue to sauté for three more minutes. Add coconut milk to the shrimp and cook one minute more.

Remove from heat and squeeze a generous amount of lime juice on top to taste.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Thanks, this recipe looks wonderful and I have all the ingredients. What’s for dinner has just been answered a our house!

    Goldengrokette wrote on July 16th, 2011
  2. Oh boy. You’re killing me Mark. I guess I need to pick up some shrimp and macadamia nuts. Maca’s have become my favorite nut and I have fallen in love with shrimp as well.

    Looks, sounds, smells, feels and seems like a perfect combo!

    Primal Toad wrote on July 16th, 2011
  3. This would work well with langoustines, too.

    sugarbaby wrote on July 16th, 2011
  4. This looks AWESOME. Some grilled summer squash on the side… yum.

    Sarah Due wrote on July 16th, 2011
  5. I’m literally making this for lunch today.

    It sounds that awesome.

    Laws of the Cave wrote on July 16th, 2011
    • How does one figuratively make this for lunch? Hm? :)

      Aly wrote on July 16th, 2011
      • LOL, I was ‘literally’ thinking the same thing.

        Krystal wrote on July 17th, 2011
      • Temporal hyperbole, wherein someone actually uses “today” to mean “sometime very soon”. Laws wants us to know they have no such wishy-washy timeline.

        Lauren wrote on July 17th, 2011
  6. OMG, I cannot wait to try this and share it with my weight loss clients. AND I just so happen to spend $40 today on a huge jar of coconut oil and several cans of coconut milk. Can’t wait to try this! And it feels like I need a rum based libation to go with it!

    The Primal Recipe wrote on July 16th, 2011
  7. Gah! I went to the store for coconut milk and macas and I forgot the shallot! Would an onion do fine?

    Aly wrote on July 16th, 2011
    • I just asked the resident food geek in my house and he says onion’s too “bright,” that if it were him he’d substitute a leek or a wild onion (as in out of your yard). I pointed out to him that most of the wild alliums in yards in North America are actually wild garlic. He said he guessed maybe use regular garlic instead.

      You could *try* the onion and probably it’d be OK but it wouldn’t have near the same flavor.

      Dana wrote on July 16th, 2011
      • Thanks! I tried the garlic and it came out great! Served with green beans and a small bowl of beef broth, it was delicious!

        Aly wrote on July 16th, 2011
      • What does too “bright” mean?

        Juli S wrote on March 29th, 2012
  8. Looks amazing! But whenever I try to cook something in butter over high heat, I burn the pan – what am I doing wrong? I thought maybe it was because the butter has a low burning point and I needed to try lard or coconut oil instead, but this recipe calls for butter over high heat… what am I missing? Thanks!

    Carrie B wrote on July 16th, 2011
    • You could try adding the butter only when you’re ready to use it rather than putting it in the pan at the beginning. And I wouldn’t go higher than medium-high heat with it.

      Also, I believe if you use clarified butter or ghee, it has a higher smoking point because the solids have been removed.

      Karen P. wrote on July 16th, 2011
    • Your pan might be too thin for the amount of heat your stove puts out. Try a heavier vessel as well as a lower heat. Not all stoves are created equal . . .

      Mary C wrote on July 16th, 2011
  9. That looks tasty, and easy to make. My two criteria for any recipe.

    Mary Hone wrote on July 16th, 2011
  10. Wow! Just bought a pound of macadamia nuts…..looks like dinner on Sunday! Thanks Mark.

    Cindy McDonald wrote on July 16th, 2011
  11. Looks yummy, I bet that recipe goes just as well with scallops!

    Sungrazer wrote on July 16th, 2011
    • That’s exactly what I was thinking – bay scallops FTW!

      PrimalGrandma wrote on July 16th, 2011
  12. Is the coconut milk that comes in a half gallon refrigerated carton (with Jillian from Biggest Loser on it) the same as coconut milk from a can? It’s so flavorless–just tastes like thick water but is 100% fat. I’d think you’d want something tasting coconutty in this recipe, no?

    Jana Bouc wrote on July 16th, 2011
    • I don’t think they are the same. The coconut milk in the half gallon refrigerated carton I looked at had all sorts of added ingredients.

      I get classic (full fat) Native Forest in a can. The contents can vary in thickness. I love it when I get a batch with creamy thickness that is like soft whipped cream.

      Sharon wrote on July 16th, 2011
      • Thank you Sharon. I’m a newbie when it comes to coconut (since it’s always been about the only food in the universe I don’t like — but I’m trying to learn to). I’d hoped for some yummy creaminess from the carton but I think they’ve somehow denatured it so it has no flavor whatsoever.

        It says it’s organic and the other ingredients are just guar gum and vitamins/minerals since it’s meant to be used as a dairy replacement. I’ll get canned next time since I’ve found almond milk makes a better milk replacement and will use the coconut milk in recipes.

        Jana Bouc wrote on July 16th, 2011
        • Look for canned coconut milk. Ingredients should be relatively “pure”; my can says “coconut cream, water”, and that’s it.

          The stuff in the carton has been engineered to be more like a substitute for lowfat milk. It usually has junk in it like evaporated cane juice and gums. I wouldn’t use it for cooking.

          Coconut milk in the can is closer to cream than moo-juice milk. It’s also super addictive once you figure out how to work it into recipes!

          Steph wrote on July 16th, 2011
        • I use Arroy-D coconut milk from a (green) 1L tetra pack carton. Ingredients: coconut, water. BPA free, as are their canned CM. High enough in fat that it solidifies in an ice-like shelf on top of the liquid.

          Lauren wrote on July 17th, 2011
  13. Nom nom nom!! Can’t wait to try this!!! Thanks!

    The Real Food Mama wrote on July 16th, 2011
  14. Sounds yummy, can hardly wait to try. You can even serve it over spaghetti squash.

    Gerri Slaughter wrote on July 16th, 2011
  15. This recipe looks awesome!! Wonder if Almond milk would suffice as I hate anything cocanut?

    Tate Mayers wrote on July 16th, 2011
    • Yeah, I’d probably use cream also instead of almond milk because of the lack of fat content in the almond milk. Also, I’d think the macadamia nuts would overpower any coconut flavor from just 2 measley TBLS of coconut milk, but then if you aren’t comfortable using the coconut, then definitely try something else. (Problem is you’d have to buy a whole can of coconut milk just for 2 TBLS, and if you don’t like it, then you’d be stuck trying to figure out what to do with the rest of the product in the can besides just throwing it out!)

      Just a side note, My DH hates anything coconut – or thought he did – until he realized that all coconut is not made the same! He pictured that shredded, sweet, disgusting sticky stuff on top of coconut cakes and German chocolate cakes. When I started using organic, cold-pressed coconut oil for cooking, he had a fit until he tasted the final results (and I told him he’d better keep an open mind or else – lol).

      Let us know what you tried and how it came out!

      PrimalGrandma wrote on July 16th, 2011
  16. Tate,If you don’t like coconut, I would go with cream or a mix of cream and almond milk. I’m guessing there is not enough fat in almond milk by itself. And be sure to use unsweetened almond milk. Personally, I love all things coconut, so to me this sounds wonderful as is. Will definitely pick some shrimp up at the Farmers’ Market and try it soon. Thanks.

    Margaretrc wrote on July 16th, 2011
  17. made this today, and was floored by how flavorful and delicious it was with so few ingredients. this WILL be on heavy rotation at my house. Roommates and primal boyfriend scarfed it down! WOW. so frik’n good!!

    Pettygirl wrote on July 16th, 2011
  18. Looks simple and delicious. Might have to get the ingredients tomorrow and give it a try. Thanks.

    hiker wrote on July 16th, 2011
  19. If and when I try this recipe, I’ll report back. But after reading, I think I’ll give the coconut milk a try. It is 2 measly ol’ TBLs after all!!

    Tate Mayers wrote on July 16th, 2011
  20. I tried this last night … yum! My DH despises coconut, but he ate this and liked it, this recipe is definitely a keeper. Thanks!

    PattyF wrote on July 17th, 2011
  21. That’s the way I like shrimp “tempura” if I may say so. I assume fresh macadamia nuts are used, no roasted or dehydrated ones.

    Savorique wrote on July 17th, 2011
  22. It looks as if you’ve addressed the two issues I have with cooking nut-crusted dishes– the hassle and mess of dredging and deep frying. I’m traveling now, but I can’t wait to try this as soon as I get home.

    julietx wrote on July 17th, 2011
  23. made this today substituting garlic and a tiny bit of ginger for the shallot. Super yum and very rich, definitely going to make again!

    celticcavegirl wrote on July 17th, 2011
  24. Wow. Just wow!

    I’ve been reading Mark’s site for about 1 to 2 weeks (reading the various PB articles) and saw this recipe.

    Made this with the cauliflower rice earlier, this was SO delicious! Went perfect with the cauliflower rice recipe! I was really pleased to see these recipes because just steaks/meat and veggies can get boring. This is far from boring!

    Eric wrote on July 18th, 2011
  25. This looks amazing.I’ll be making this tomorrow once I’ve been shopping for the ingredients xx

    kim wrote on July 18th, 2011
  26. That is definitely going on to the menu. Especially since it was inspired by laziness in the kitchen, which resembles me.

    Thrive Lancaster wrote on July 18th, 2011
  27. Why can’t you try some honey over this . This will make things more beautiful .

    echoworldin wrote on July 19th, 2011
  28. Making this for the second time. It truly is delicious! ~Rosemary

    North American Paleo Network wrote on July 28th, 2011
  29. That was good eats!! Thanks!!

    Marla wrote on July 29th, 2011
  30. Made this recipe this past Friday for the first time (it was an excuse to show off my new food processor to the girlfriend)! I liked the flavor of the macadamia nuts and the coconut milk, but the shallot was way too strong for our tastes and overpowered the dish. Tasted mostly onion. Might try sauteing the chopped onion first and then adding the other ingredients or else using something like garlic or less onion. Also ran across my usual problem of not having access to things like macadamia nuts. I live in a small town, so my options are Kroger, Ingles, and the Freshway. Oy!

    Travis wrote on July 31st, 2011
  31. Wanted to know if anyone had experience eating this cold. I want to be able to make this and chill for the next day.

    Ben M wrote on August 3rd, 2011
  32. I feel that the fact that they are sauted makes them less suitable as a cold dish although there is lemon. And cooked fish that’s been cooled is not as tender, it tends to stiffen. If you want it cold, I personally think you are better off preparing the dish “a la ceviche”. No more cooking, no more butter, just let all ingredients sit in generous amount of lemon juice overnight.

    Savorique wrote on August 4th, 2011
  33. We ate it cold and it was great. Had it with chopped roasted cauliflower. Enjoy! ~Rosemary

    North American Paleo Network wrote on August 4th, 2011

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