These Mini Tacos with Shrimp and Pineapple are filled with slightly spicy shrimp and diced pineapple, and topped with a creamy yogurt sauce. These tiny tacos are healthy, easy, and perfect for parties!
There’s a new(ish) tapas restaurant that opened up downtown, and I am EXCITED about it! My wallet is less excited, however, so I’ve had to space out our visits. The idea of tapas*– or small plates of finger food that are meant to be shared with friends– isn’t new at all, but finding a tapas restaurant in my small corner of Central Appalachia is still pretty rare.
On my last visit to the local tapas place, I was surprised to find fish tacos on the menu, since that seemed more like a meal, and less like a small plate. (I quickly decided that I didn’t care if it seemed too big, and ordered them anyway.) It made me think though, and I decided that yes– tacos could DEFINITELY be an appetizer!
These Mini Tacos with Shrimp and Pineapple are a healthy appetizer option, and are perfect for dinner parties, cocktail parties, and game day.
Making Tacos into Appetizers
How do you turn tacos into appetizers? Make them smaller! Most grocery stores should have mini taco shells– these are 4″ shells that are just toooooo cute! These shells are perfect for mini tacos, and hold just enough fillings to make tiny Pineapple Shrimp Tacos fantastic.
The other issue you might run into with your taco appetizers is that tacos… well, tacos don’t stay put. If you happen to have a taco serving tray, use that, but otherwise I recommend holding the tacos in place with toothpicks. Specifically, the longer decorative toothpicks, because they’re just big enough to make them visible for any unsuspecting taco eater. (Trust me, you don’t want invisible taco toothpicks. It’s not safe.)
Making Mini Tacos with Shrimp and Pineapple
To make these tiny little tacos, start by tossing some raw, peeled shrimp in cayenne and smoked paprika. (Don’t worry- these won’t be super spicy because the cheese and yogurt sauce tame the spice.) Next, sauté them for a few minutes until the shrimp are bright pink. Take them off the heat.
Learn More: Find out how to find ethically and sustainably sourced shrimp in this Ultimate Guide to Shrimp!
Heat your tortillas, and then divide the shrimp up into the taco shells. Top the shrimp with a few pieces of pineapple, a dollop of the yogurt sauce, a little freshly grated queso, and then add fresh herbs.
Make sure not to overstuff these– remember, they’re MINI tacos! Serve them as tapas at your next party, along with a some shrimp cocktail, cajun shrimp and grits appetizers, and some crab fries, and enjoy!
Note: Traditional Spanish Tapas usually include a fairly specific set of classic Spanish small plates. Recently, the term has come to include more non-traditional small plates as well. (These tacos ARE NOT traditional Spanish tapas.)
Mini Tacos with Shrimp and Pineapple
This recipe makes 8 mini tacos, and assumes one taco per person, but is EASILY doubled or tripled.
As written, this recipe uses mini taco shells, but it could easily be adapted to full size tacos or even burritos by using larger shells.
Ingredient measurements in these tacos are estimates- use more or less of each ingredient according to preference, but avoid over-stuffing mini taco shells.
- 1 lb raw shrimp, thawed (tails off, medium size)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 TB smoked paprika
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 lime, juiced
- 8 4" mini flour taco shells (I use Mission brand mini taco shells)
- 1 cup finely diced fresh pineapple
- 2 oz queso fresco (use more if desired)
- 2 limes, quartered
- (Optional) fresh cilantro, green onion, or chives
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Toss shrimp in salt, cayenne, red pepper, and paprika. Set aside.
Add olive oil to a heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat. When the oil is shimmering and the pan is hot, add the shrimp. Allow the shrimp to cook, untouched, for 1-2 minutes, or until one side is completely pink. Flip shrimp, continue cooking until all the shrimp are pink.
Remove shrimp from the pan, and set aside.
Add yogurt, garlic, lime juice, and salt to a bowl and stir together.
Heat taco shells on the racks of your preheated oven for about 2 minutes, or until they start to bubble up. Use tongs to pull them out of the oven.
Begin filling taco shells by dividing the shrimp and pineapple into the shells. Drizzle each taco with a little yogurt sauce. Grate the queso onto the tacos, and top with fresh herbs (if desired). Serve with lime quarters, or drizzle fresh lime juice over just before serving.
Serving Tips: Serving pre-filled tacos on a party platter can be tricky if you don't have a taco serving tray. To hold them together, you can use toothpicks, but make sure that the toothpicks are visible so that no one accidentally bites into one!
Food Safety Tips: Avoid leaving the shrimp out at room temperature for hours.