This recipe for Shrimp Bake with Tomatoes and Feta (aka Shrimp Saganaki) will transport you to Greece without ever having to leave your kitchen! It’s loaded with Mediterranean flavours and makes a great appetizer or main dish. Just don’t forget the crusty bread!
If you know a thing or two about Greek food then chances are you’ve heard the word “saganaki” before. And, if you’re like me, a second generation gal who grew up in Canada, I already know exactly what you’re picturing when you hear it. A piece of cheese, with crispy exterior edges and an oeey, gooey inside, lit on fire. Am I right? The key is the lighting on fire part as you can’t, or so I once thought, have saganaki without lighting it on fire. Wrong! Turns out they don’t actually light their cheese on fire in Greece and the flambéing of the thing only started in North America. Go figure.
Speaking of things I learned on my trip to Greece (particularly pertaining to the word “saganaki” if you will) is that Shrimp Saganaki is also a thing. And, to my surprise, has absolutely nothing to do with the fried cheese version of the word. Here I was, in some random restaurant in Greece, ordering shrimp saganaki expecting shrimp to come out on a piece of fried cheese. But what I got was not that at all. What I got was this baby, instead. Shrimps baked in a flavourful tomato sauce loaded with feta cheese. And let’s just say that the Greeks sure know how to do saganaki – whether we’re talkin’ fried cheese or baked shrimps.
If you’ve never been to Greece before and have no idea what I’m talking about, then worry not! Because this quick, easy and flavourful dinner will transport you there without ever having to get on a plane! It’s fresh, made with simple and easy to find ingredients and depending on how you want to serve it, can be a great party appetizer or a hearty main meal. This recipe for shrimp bake with tomatoes and feta cheese is one of my go-tos for many reasons and after just one bite, you’ll know that its deliciousness is number one.
INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE BAKED SHRIMP SAGANAKI
This recipe for Shrimp Bake is a good example of simple flavours coming together to create something magical. Let’s discuss exactly what you’ll need to create them in a little bit more detail down below:
- Shrimp: You can pretty much use any kind of shrimp you have on hand for this Shrimp Bake recipe. However, my preference is using medium sized peeled and deveined shrimp. It just makes the dish more pleasurable to serve and eat. Tail on or off isn’t a big deal here as either will work just fine. Thaw your shrimp out before using it as you don’t want the dish to become watery.
- Diced Tomatoes: The base and bulk of the dish. We use the tomatoes as well as all of their juices for this recipe for Shrimp Bake. For extra flavour, go for the diced tomatoes that come pre-seasoned with herbs and spices you can find at most regular grocery stores. You can also use fresh diced tomatoes for this recipe, if that’s all you have on hand. You’ll need 3.5 cups of fresh diced tomatoes in place of the 1 28 fl oz. can.
- Garlic: Adds flavour and freshness to the dish. Fresh minced garlic works best in this recipe. However, if all you have on hand is garlic powder, use 3/4 of a teaspoon instead of the 3 fresh cloves.
- Shallots: Adds flavour and texture to this baked shrimp dish. You can use red onion instead, if you prefer.
- Feta Cheese: One of the ever so popular cheeses from Greece (seriously, there’s nothing like a fresh block of Feta straight from Greece!). It has a salty, briney and tangy flavour that pairs well with a variety of tasty dishes. It adds flavour and freshness to this dish and takes it over the top!
- Parsley: Adds a herby freshness and pop of colour to the dish. Therefore, fresh chopped parsley works best in this recipe. However, if you don’t have any on hand, fresh oregano, basil or mint would also work just fine.
- Oregano: Adds flavour and gives this Shrimp Bake a delicious Mediterranean flare. I used dried oregano but you can use fresh instead, if you prefer. You’ll need 1 tablespoon of fresh oregano instead of the 1 teaspoon of dried.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil is an important ingredient in Greek cooking! It adds flavour and freshness to the dish and I wouldn’t recommend replacing it with a different kind of oil. As always, good quality and extra virgin works best in this recipe.
- Ouzo: Another famous word in Greece! It’s an anise flavoured liqueur and the national drink of Greece. It’s widely available in most liquor stores. However, if you don’t have any on hand, white wine can take its place. Or, you can omit the alcohol completely, if desired.
- Salt/Pepper: Brings balance to the dish and makes the rest of the ingredients ‘pop!’
- Bread: Not an ingredient that goes into the dish but a very important one that you should 100% serve alongside to soak up all that delicious sauce. It’s almost a crime to serve this dish without it! Try it with my easy homemade No Knead Bread!
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE FOR SHRIMP BAKE (KEY TIPS)
You can find full instructions for how to make this Greek Shrimp Saganaki in the recipe card down below, but here are a few quick tips to keep in mind:
- Don’t use frozen shrimp or you’ll end up with a watery tomato base. The shrimp should be fully thawed before adding them to the dish. To thaw frozen shrimp, either do so in a refrigerator overnight or run them under cold water for a few minutes then pat dry.
- Use peeled and deveined shrimp for best results. This is a dish you want to be able to dunk a piece of bread right into without having to worry about peeling shrimp in the process. Using shrimp that is already peeled simply makes this shrimp bake more pleasurable to eat. Besides, all the flavour from the sauce gets coated directly onto the shrimp and you won’t have to worry about losing most of it in the shell.
- Don’t overcook the shrimp. Shrimp is just one of those things that can go from uncooked to cooked reeeeal quick and overcooking it is pretty easy if you’re not careful. Shrimp doesn’t take long to cook so keep checking on it starting around the 8 minute mark. It’s done when it turns pink and opaque all over.
- Don’t forget the bread! The tomato and feta sauce base in so flavourful and best if soaked up with a piece of crusty bread!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Technically speaking, yes, you can bake shrimp from frozen. However, in this particular recipe, I don’t recommend doing that as the shrimp bakes directly on the tomato and feta cheese sauce base. Frozen shrimp will release water as it cooks and you’ll end up with a watery base and minimize the flavours of the dish.
For best results, thaw the shrimp before using it in this recipe. Either do so in a refrigerator overnight or run them under cold water for a few minutes then pat dry.
No, you don’t haaaave to peel shrimp before baking. Personally, I think whether or not you peel shrimp before baking depends on what kind of dish you’re making. One such as this, where you want to take full bites and dunk slices of bread into, works best with peeled shrimp. However, you can still use unpeeled shrimp, if you really wanted to.
Shrimp may sound intimidating to cook at first. However, it could not be any easier! It doesn’t take long at all (no matter which method you choose) and can be cooked in a variety of different ways depending on what kind of dish you need your shrimp for. It comes out amazing in all types of ways including pan fried or sautéed, baked, air fried, grilled or broiled!
- 1 pound medium sized Shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3 ounces Feta Cheese, crumbled
- 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 Shallots (or 1 small Red Onion), diced
- 1 (28 fl oz.) can Diced Tomatoes (with herbs and spices)
- 1/4 cup (2 oz.) Ouzo*
- 1/4 cup Fresh Parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Crusty Bread, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towel and set aside until ready to use.
- In a large oven safe skillet, add the oil. Once hot, add the shallots and sautée until soft and fragrant, a couple of minutes.
- Add the garlic and sautée, stirring frequently, a couple minutes more.
- Add the diced tomatoes and all of their juices, oregano, salt, pepper and ouzo. Stir until combined, bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, until slightly thickened and the alcohol burns off, 5-10 minutes.
- Stir in the feta cheese and parsley. Line the shrimp in a single layer over top of the sauce. Bake for 10-12 minutes, uncovered, or until the shrimp are pink/opaque and cooked all the way through, stirring to combine halfway. Garnish with more chopped parsley and serve immediately with slices of warm crusty bread.
Ouzo is anise flavoured liqueur and the national drink of Greece. It's widely available in most liquor stores. However, if you don't have any on hand, white wine can take its place. Or, you can omit the alcohol completely, if desired.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 179Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 172mgSodium: 959mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 20g
Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.
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