Go Back
+ servings
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Shrimp Rice Pilaf

A delicious Shrimp Rice Pilaf firm to the bite with whole shrimps. Cooked in the most delicious sauce made out of the shrimps' shells and heads!
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Dinner, gluten-free, seafood
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 722kcal


  • 2 cups (420 grams) long-grain parboiled rice
  • olive oil
  • 1 kilogram / 2.2 pound whole Colossal shrimp fresh or frozen (you may use jumbo shrimps instead if you wish)
  • 1 small red onion minced
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 500 ml tomato sauce
  • 1 green bell pepper cut into quarters
  • 2 small green garlic (or green onions instead)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic (bout 1-2 cloves)
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh parsley
  • 85 grams / 3 oz feta cheese crumbled plus some extra to serve with
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
  • OPTIONAL: 1-2 small chilli peppers


Prepare The Shrimps:

  • If using frozen shrimps, add them to a large bowl with lukewarm water for a few minutes to unfreeze.
  • For this recipe, I keep about 12 shrimps (3 for each portion) with their heads on to serve with. In Greece, that's the normal way of eating shrimp as most of the flavor comes out of the head. But if you don't like eating shrimps this way just go ahead and remove the heads from all the shrimps.
  • To serve them as in this recipe: clean the 12 shrimps by removing the legs and then the shells. Leaving only one small piece of the shell next to the head of the shrimp to hold it in place, and a small piece of shell on the tail. Repeat this process for all 12 shrimps.
    Then for the remaining shrimps, clean them this way: First, remove the head. Second, remove the legs. And thirdly, remove the shell leaving only one small piece of it holding the tail.
    NOTE: Do not discard the shells or heads. Keep them aside in a strainer.
  • Devein the shrimp: Using a toothpick, prick the shrimp right under its head (on its back) and gently pull out the end of the small black vein. Once you have pulled out the tip of the vein grab hold of it with your fingers and pull it slowly upwards, towards the head of the shrimp. This way it comes out all in one piece. But if it breaks (which often happens) just prick with the toothpick again somewhere in the middle of the shrimp and pull it out again.
  • Devein all shrimps and then rinse well. Place on a large plate and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place in the fridge and proceed on making the sauce.

Make The Sauce:

  • Heat a good splash of olive oil in a medium-sized cooking pot over high heat.
  • Add the shrimp shells and heads you kept and cook for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. The heads should turn a deep golden color and the bottom of the pot should look like you have caramelized butter with brownish bits here and there.
  • Drop heat to medium-low and add the onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes until it starts to soften and get some color. Pour in the wine and cook for a few minutes more until it evaporates completely and stops smelling of alcohol.
  • Pour in 1 liter of hot water. Add the tomato sauce, green bell pepper, green garlic (or spring onions), crushed garlic, dried bay leaf, and the sprig of parsley. You don't need to cut the green garlic or sprig of parsley. Just toss as is in the pot. The sauce will be strained afterward.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 45 minutes, partly covered until the sauce in the pot reduces by half.

Cook The Rice:

  • Meanwhile, in a different pot, cook the rice according to its package instructions. Once cooked, let the rice sit in a strainer until it is time to use it.

Finish It Off:

  • When the sauce is ready pass it through a sieve and set it aside.
  • In a wide cooking pot this time, heat a splash of olive oil over high heat. Add the shrimps and cook for 2-3 minutes flipping them once. Giving them a light searing.
  • Pour in the sauce and wait until it starts to boil again. Then drop the heat to medium and cook uncovered for 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove the shrimps with the heads from the pot, and add them in a bowl covered so they keep warm until you are ready to serve.
  • Add the chopped parsley to the pot and crumbled feta cheese. Cook for a minute for the cheese to dissolve in the sauce. Add the rice to the pot, stir, and cook for 2-3 minutes until it absorbs all of the sauce.
  • Serve in deep plates or bowls with 3 whole shrimps on each, and some extra crumbled feta on top. You may sprinkle some chopped fresh chilli peppers on top as well as they go so well with this dish. But that's optional and up to your liking. Enjoy!


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 722kcal | Carbohydrates: 97g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 334mg | Sodium: 2317mg | Potassium: 945mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1298IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 311mg | Iron: 3mg