Shrimp is a great weeknight meal option because of its quick cooking time. And sheet pan dinners that allow you to cook the majority of the meal (other than the rice) in one pan?

Hallelujah!

I knew my night was going to be tight on time to get dinner on the table and this promised a 17-minute turn-around.

That kind of timeframe is right up my alley. Did it deliver? Keep reading…

We always have sesame oil, hoisin sauce, tamari, and Chinese five spice on hand. If those aren’t part of your pantry, I’d recommend adding them. We also normally have frozen shrimp, but didn’t this night so it was off to the store for shrimp and bell peppers.

Shrimp Snobs…Disband!

Quick note: We’re landlocked here in Colorado, so we don’t have access to off-the-boat fresh shrimp.

Does that mean our shrimp stir fry suffers? Absolutely not!

In fact, most shrimp is immediately thrown on ice and frozen after being caught.

So, even if it is “fresh-off-the-boat,” it’s most likely been frozen.

What about the “fresh” shrimp at the grocery store, you ask? Well, hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that is just previously frozen shrimp that has been pre-thawed for you by the fishmonger. And now it’s no longer frozen so it’s becoming less fresh as the minutes tick away…

All of this begs the question: What’s fresher—fresh or frozen shrimp?

The answer is…frozen. Check out this article from Bon Appetite for the full scoop.

GF Chinese Five Spice Shrimp Stir Fry Sheet Pan Dinner

Next time you’re in a pinch, give this quick stir fry a try. Drop us a note and a photo of your weeknight recipe rescue!

Simple to Make–Gluten Free Chinese Five Spice Shrimp Stir Fry Sheet Pan Dinner

Source: Abbey’s Kitchen

Let’s talk a bit about Chinese Five Spice. If you’ve never used Chinese Five Spice, it’s time to start. This five-ingredient spice mix is popular in Chinese, Vietnamese, and Taiwanese cooking.

The traditional ingredients of star anise, fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon, and Szechuan peppercorns hit all five tastes—sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami. The star anise gives it a distinct licorice flavoring; the cinnamon and fennel a warm note; and the Szechuan peppercorns add a necessary peppery flavor.

Chinese Five Spice not only amps up the flavor of stir fry, but also works well in soups, added to fried rice, as seasoning on roasted vegetables, and used as a spice rub on pork, lamb, chicken, or steak.

And, you can also add a dash of Chinese Five Spice to cakes, pies, and cookies! It works especially well with chocolate, pumpkin, gingerbread, and spice-based treats.

Keep in mind, Chinese Five Spice packs a flavor punch, so a little goes a long way.

Check out this article from The Spruce Eats for a deep dive on Chinese Five Spice’s origin, ingredients, taste, usage, storage and more.  

Eight things to know about the Gluten Free Chinese Five Spice Shrimp Stir Fry Sheet Pan Dinner Recipe:

  • This recipe is easily scalable. Just double the sauce ingredients if you’re using double the protein and veggies.
  • Tamari is the gluten free soy sauce option. It provides a thicker, richer depth of flavor than soy which is thinner and saltier. If you don’t have tamari, you could substitute soy sauce, but you would want to try half the indicated amount and taste test the sauce before adding additional soy sauce.
  • If you’re using “fresh-off-the-boat” shrimp and you need to peel and devein them, your prep time will go up considerably. Here’s a quick tutorial from Kitchn on how to peel and devein shrimp.
  • If you’re using frozen shrimp, you must thaw them before cooking. Place the shrimp in a bowl and either run cold water over the shrimp until they’re thawed or fill the bowl with cold water and let the shrimp sit until they’re thawed. Both methods work well. One just uses less water.
  • My all-in time for this meal was around 20-22 minutes. That included about 10 minutes to prep (as opposed to the five minutes noted in the recipe) and 12 minutes to fully cook the shrimp and veggies. Still a super quick weeknight dinner!
  • This recipe allows for unlimited veggie variations and would be great as a “use up what’s in the fridge” dinner.  We added asparagus to our stir fry. If you’ve got mushrooms, carrots, baby corn, sugar snap peas, throw those in, but note that you may need additional sauce to coat additional ingredients.
  • The recipe doesn’t specifically call for the stir fry to be served over rice, but we just assumed that was the standard presentation. White rice or brown rice will work well.
  • For an added crunch, you could sprinkle on crispy wontons or chow mein noodles just prior to serving.