In my book, you can do no wrong with peanut sauce. Especially a light, healthier coconut water peanut sauce served with fresh shrimp on crisp jicama as a bite sized appetizer. Some of my earliest restaurant memories actually involve some sort of Asian restaurant, something on a skewer and small saucer of peanut sauce. Be it with chicken satay, mixed vegetables and rice or on a spring roll, it is the ketchup of Asia and I love it.

While some peanut sauces can be overly thick, sweet or just plain oily, I used fresh red bell pepper and coconut water to add a new dimension to the recipe. Since coconut water is nutrient rich (what up electrolytes!) but crazy low in calories (45 per 8 ounce serving), it's a great addition to peanut sauce. With a hint of the tropical flavor it needs, it's smarter than adding tons of oil or plain water to the mix.

Shrimp and jicama appetizers with light coconut water peanut sauce

 For this recipe I started with fresh, head on shrimp. Interestingly enough, they were less expensive this way which is totally insane since shrimp dishes have more flavor this way. Having never actually cooked shrimp like this before, it was an adventure for me as well. As a bonus, the husband made shrimp stock for later.

This appetizer has big visual power but very few calories. It's a nice balanced bite which I love for my clients. With protein from the shrimp, a veggie base and a touch of healthy fat (peanuts), it is a MUCH better option for satiety than some lame artichoke spinach dip with a baguette all night.

Shrimp and jicama appetizers with light coconut water peanut sauce


  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 red bell pepper
  • 3 T Vita Coco coconut water
  • 1 lime, juice 1/2 and slice the other 1/2 for the skewers
  • 1/4 C peanut butter
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon peanut oil/vegetable oil
  • head on shrimp
  • jicama

 Directions:  Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until thoroughly combined. The sauce will take on a nice red from the peppers. Set aside and peel and cut jicama into squares. Use a vegetable peeler to create a 'nest' for the sauce in the center of each square without piercing all the way through. Cook the shrimp and remove the heads, shells and devein. Pierce lime wedges and shrimp with skewers. You want the lime over top of the shrimp so you can squeeze directly onto the bite. Add the peanut sauce to the jicama and skewer as the base.

So what do you think? Would you cook head on shrimp? 

Disclaimer: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Vita Coco and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.