Fresh, a bit spicy, and filled with tender cooked shrimp, Greek shrimp saganaki is a traditional Mediterranean recipe that makes for the perfect light lunch or dinner!
If you’ve ever been to Greece, you’ve likely already seen shrimp saganaki on the menu! It’s typically served as an appetizer, and I never pass it up. I love it so much that I decided to recreate it in my own kitchen, and now I want to share it with you all.
If you aren’t familiar, allow me to explain. It’s a light seafood dish that features a slightly spicy tomato sauce (thanks to the addition of red chili pepper flakes) and is topped with fresh herbs and crumbly feta cheese. The pan gets deglazed with some ouzo (a dry anise-flavored aperitif)... Is your mouth watering as much as mine is?!
This Greek shrimp recipe is prepped and ready in under 30 minutes, making it an excellent choice for a light weekday dinner or a relaxed weekend lunch.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Shrimp - You need to use raw, 26/30 count, peeled and deveined shrimp for this recipe. If you decide to work from frozen, make sure to let them thaw in the fridge overnight before getting started.
- Olive Oil - This Mediterranean must-have is needed to cook the shrimp and prepare the tomato sauce.
- Greek Ouzo - This ingredient is a dry anise-flavored liquor and is optional, but I think it adds a lot to the other flavors. You’ll use it to deglaze the shrimp after it’s been cooked. This helps to release any caramelized pieces that get stuck to the pan. If you don’t like to cook with alcohol, you can use white wine vinegar instead.
- Tomatoes - This is the base of your sauce. I like using Roma varieties best.
- Onion - Another key ingredient for the sauce. Opt for medium red!
- Green Onions - This is optional, but I love the freshness it adds to the saganaki sauce.
- Garlic - For more added flavor! I can’t whip up a savory dish without it.
- Red Chili Flakes - This Greek shrimp recipe is a bit on the spicy side thanks to this addition! If you don’t like it, feel free to omit it.
- Salt & Pepper - Use it to taste in the sauce and to season the shrimp before cooking.
- Fresh Mint & Dill - Add these to your dish as a finishing touch!
- Feta - It wouldn’t be a Greek recipe without a bunch of crumbled feta cheese on top!
HOW TO MAKE GREEK SHRIMP SAGANAKI
1. Start With The Sauce. Place a bit of olive oil in a skillet and heat over medium heat. After about a minute, add in your onions and sauté them for 2 minutes. Then, add in the garlic, salt, and chili flakes and cook for another minute. Stir in the Roma tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover your saganaki sauce, turn the heat to low, and allow it to cook for 5 minutes while you prep your seafood.
2. Prepare The Shrimp. If you haven’t already, peel and devein the shrimp. Rinse them with plenty of water and then pat dry before tossing them in salt and pepper.
3. Cook The Saganaki. Heat up some more olive oil in a large skillet over high heat and add your shrimp. Make sure to cook them on each side, then deglaze the pan with Ouzo.
4. Finish Cooking & Serve. Next up, pour the tomato sauce over the shrimp, then add your fresh herbs and feta. Cover your Greek shrimp and continue to cook on low for 2 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Serve right away with a bit more fresh herbs and cheese sprinkled on top!
What Does Saganaki Mean In The Dish Shrimp Saganaki?
It’s all about how it’s prepared! Saganaki comes from the word sagani, which refers to a type of frying pan with two handles. Many traditional Greek dishes are made in this type of pan, so you’ll often see saganaki in the recipe names. Other examples include this Greek shrimp recipe as well as cheese saganaki and mussels saganaki.
What To Serve With Greek Shrimp Saganaki?
You can serve this dish as a light meal or even as an appetizer. If that’s the case, you can pair it with a variety of other small Greek dishes like these roasted potatoes or these zucchini fritters and a bit of pita bread. To make a heartier meal out of it, serve on a bed of rice with a side of this Greek feta salad.
Is Saganaki A Type Of Cheese?
No, saganaki is not a type of cheese but rather a way to prepare cheese. You’ll remember that I mentioned that there are several other types of saganaki recipes. Well, cheese saganaki is one of them! It involves pan-frying cheese (as you do the shellfish in this Greek shrimp recipe). It typically doesn’t feature tomato sauce though.
Greek Shrimp Saganaki
- 1 ½ lbs raw shrimp (26/30 count, peeled and deveined)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup Greek Ouzo (optional)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium red onion diced
- 2 green onions small slices (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 4 roma tomatoes diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill chopped
- 8 ounces feta cheese crumbled
- In a skillet over medium heat add the olive oil. After a minute add onions and saute for 2 minutes. Add garlic, salt and chili flakes, cook another minute. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn heat to low and cook 5 minutes (start shrimp).
- Peel and devein shrimp, rinse with water and pat dry. Toss with salt and pepper.
- In a large skillet over high heat add the olive oil. After a minute add the shrimp and cook 1 minute per side. Deglaze pan with Ouzo (optional).
- Spoon tomato sauce mixture over shrimp, add the herbs and feta cheese. Cover and cook on low for 2 minutes. Cheese should be melted. Serve immediately.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.