Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Tomato, Garlic & Herbs


In this easy recipe, shrimp are quickly marinated in a bright and tangy mixture of olive oil, tomato paste, lemon, garlic, and herbs and then grilled until plump and slightly charred.  They’re perfect for entertaining — either as an appetizer or main course — because all of the prep is done ahead of time. All you have to do when your guests arrive is throw the skewers on the grill. But be forewarned: people will eat more than their fair share. Make extra!


For this recipe, try to find jumbo frozen shrimp (21-25 to a pound) labeled “shell split and deveined.” Come dinnertime, all you have to do is poke a few holes in the bottom of the bag, run the shrimp under warm water to quickly defrost, and then peel. Fact is, unless you live on the coast and have access to fresh shrimp, it’s best to buy frozen. The “fresh” shrimp you see in the seafood case at the supermarket are almost always thawed frozen shrimp, and you never know how long they’ve been sitting there. Most shrimp are cleaned and flash frozen shortly after being caught, so you’re better off buying frozen shrimp and defrosting them yourself.


Begin by making the marinade. Combine the tomato paste, olive oil, lemon juice, shallots, garlic, herbs, salt, sugar, and red pepper flakes in a mini food processor or blender.


Process until the mixture resembles a thick paste.


Toss the shrimp with the marinade and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.


Thread the shrimp onto skewers. This is optional, but I think the skewers make it so much easier to turn the shrimp on the grill.


Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, then grease the grates with a wad of paper towels dipped in oil.


Grill the shrimp about 1-1/2 minutes per side. It sounds crazy but I always set a timer — three minutes goes by faster than you think, and it’s a sin to overcook them!




Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Tomato, Garlic & Herbs

Print Recipe
Servings: 4
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes


  • 2-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large shallot, roughly chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds jumbo shrimp (21-25 per pound), peeled and de-veined (leave tails on if desired)


  1. To make the marinade, combine all of the ingredients except for the shrimp in a mini food processor or blender; blend until the mixture forms a smooth paste.
  2. Combine the shrimp and the marinade in a medium bowl and stir until shrimp are evenly coated. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes - 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Meanwhile, thread the shrimp onto skewers (going through the top and bottom of each shrimp). Lightly dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil and, using tongs, carefully rub over grates several times until glossy and coated. Grill the shrimp skewers about 1-1/2 minutes per side. Be sure not to overcook! Serve hot, room temperature or cold.
  4. *If you're entertaining and want to get everything done ahead of time, you can thread the shrimp onto the skewers right after mixing with the marinade.
Add your review or comment!

Leave a comment or review

  • Absolutely making this, it sounds amazing!

  • Liz Blythe

    I notice you use shallots a lot. Why do you prefer them to a small onion or green onions?

    • Jenn

      Hi Liz, I like their mild, slightly sweet flavor.

  • The marinade sounds SO good here. Will have to give this a try soon!

  • This recipe sounds wonderful. Very soon I am going to try this.

  • Jenn

    We made these last night for a cookout with friends and they were the hit of the night. So easy to make too. Even the kids gobbled them up. Thanks so much for all the recipes!

  • Kathy

    Made these for dinner tonite. They were fabulous! Everyone raved Was wondering if you could use on chicken too?

    • Jenn

      Hi Kathy, Yes but I would use on bone-in, skin-on chicken or boneless skinless chicken thighs and marinate much longer. I never use acidic marinades on boneless skinless chicken breasts.

  • Debbie

    Made these last night. Awesome! Ours did take longer than 3 minutes to grill. We brought them in to the table, then had to put them back on the grill. I guess our fire was not as hot as yours. It just tempted our diners more!

  • Sally

    What would you serve these with? Thanks!

    • Jenn

      Hi Sally, You could serve them on their own as an appetizer if you’re entertaining outdoors. For a main course, they’d go with just about anything…I typically serve them with either a pasta salad, fresh corn salad or green salad. They are also excellent with a simple sauté of diced zucchini, cherry tomatoes and garlic in olive oil.

  • Made these only using a small amount of the marinade for the shrimp, used the rest of it on chicken breast the next night and both were really good. Husband said keeper!

    • Jenn

      Good to know, Nancy. Thank you!

  • yesenia

    Definitely making it this weekend!!!

Add your review or comment!