Achiote Marinated Shrimp and Couscous

Achiote Marinated Shrimp and Couscous
Achiote Marinated Shrimp and Couscous

This is quite a simple dish to bring together, but the flavors are spectacular. By looking at the components, it almost seems like it could be a Cajun pasta dish, but the flavor profile is a bit unique. Shrimp and andouille sausage are very common to Cajun cuisine. However, we went in a completely different direction with the spice blends and flavor profiles here, especially with the achiote marinade for the shrimp. This Achiote Marinated Shrimp and Couscous dish is booming with flavor and great for a simple but tasty experience.

Achiote Paste

The achiote paste is very common in Latin American cuisine. In Texas, there are many influences from Mexico that have permeated our cuisine. But, for some reason, achiote paste hasn’t become that widespread here. Its basis is the annatto seed, which is then ground with a variety of spices such as cumin, oregano, pepper, and many others. Achiote paste is easy to find either in Latin grocery stores or online.

What’s in this dish?

Besides the tasty shrimp, this dish is composed of Israeli Couscous (or Pearl Couscous) with Andouille sausage, red bell peppers and onions. We do love the sausage and the flavor it lends to the couscous part of the dish. This is where you could be creative in what kind of sausage you use, but we opted to use a small quantity so it would just compliment the shrimp.

The lemon and wine added to the shrimp at the end is sort of the flavor enhancing secret to the dish. They bring some acidity to a quite earthy marinade and turn the shrimp into nice flavor grenades!


We hope you enjoy this recipe for Achiote Marinated Shrimp and Couscous! If you give it a try, leave us a comment below or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!

Achiote Marinated Shrimp and Couscous
Achiote Marinated Shrimp and Couscous

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Achiote Marinated Shrimp and Couscous

5 from 2 votes
Course: DinnerCuisine: Latin-inspiredDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time



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  • For the Marinade
  • 1 Tbsp 1 minced ginger

  • 1 oz 1 Achiote paste

  • 1 tsp 1 ground coriander

  • ½ tsp kosher salt

  • 1/8 tsp 1/8 black pepper

  • 2 Tbsp 2 minced shallot or red onion

  • 3 Tbsp 3 orange juice

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 1 pound 1 medium shrimp (bite size – U30)

  • For the Couscous
  • 5 oz 5 smoked sausage (andouille is our choice) – small dice

  • ½ cup bell pepper – small dice

  • ½ cup onion – small dice

  • 1 1 ½ cup water

  • 1 tsp 1 salt

  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes

  • 1 cup 1 Israeli/Pearl (large format) couscous

  • To Cook the Shrimp
  • 2 Tbsp 2 lemon juice

  • 3 Tbsp 3 dry white wine


  • Marinate the Shrimp
  • Combine all of the ingredients for the marinade except the shrimp, lemon juice, and white wine in a blender and blend until smooth. Put the shrimp in a zip top bag and pour the marinade over them. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Prepare the Couscous
  • In a nonstick skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat until they start to render their fat. Add the pepper and onion and continue to cook until the vegetables soften. Transfer the sausage, pepper, and onion to a bowl. Put the water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, covered. As soon as it boils, stir in the couscous, sausage mixture, salt, and red pepper flakes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes covered.
  • Cook the Shrimp
  • While the couscous cooks, strain the shrimp in a colander, removing most of the marinade. Heat a large skillet over medium, then add the shrimp. They will cook fast. You can either toss them or turn them to ensure they cook on both sides. After a couple of minutes, add the lemon juice and wine and cook until the liquid is mostly gone.
  • Assemble and Serve
  • When the couscous has finished, fluff it with a fork and put in a serving bowl. Top with the shrimp along with any leftover cooking liquid and serve.

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