Shrimp Pilaf

Pilaf, also called “pulao”, is a rice casserole dish that is traditional in India, Pakistan as well as the Middle East. In India, vegetable pilaf is very commonly made with rice cooked along with a few vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, green beans and bell peppers in the same pot. Whole spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and black pepper are added to give a mild aromatic flavor to the dish. Pilaf is usually paired with some curry and a yogurt side dish called “raita”. Chicken and shrimp pilaf can also be cooked in the same manner and it is really an easy and convenient one pot meal!

Shrimp pilaf is something that I make very commonly in my house because it is so easy to pull some shrimp out of the freezer and dinner can be ready in under 30 minutes! You cannot go wrong there! In my AIP version, I just replace the rice with cauliflower rice and eliminate a few of the spices. Cauliflower rice cooks faster than regular rice so this AIP shrimp pilaf comes together even faster than traditional shrimp pilaf. If you would like to make this pilaf even more special, just add a few strands of saffron.

Shrimp Pilaf
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • 12 large shrimp (about 16 medium size), thawed, peeled and deveined
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 2-in cinnamon stick
  • ¼ of a medium size red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2½ cups fresh or frozen cauliflower rice
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 6-8 strands of saffron (optional)
  • ¼ cup water
  • Additional chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
  1. In a small bowl, add the shrimp, sea salt and turmeric. Mix using your hands and keep aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat a stainless steel skillet or wide bottomed saucepan and add the avocado oil. Turn heat to low and add the whole cloves, bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Stir for 30 seconds and then add the sliced onions.
  3. Saute for 2-3 minutes until the onions turn golden brown. Turn heat to low and then add the marinated shrimp and all the rest of the ingredients including the water. Stir to mix well.
  4. Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the shrimp are just cooked and all the water is evaporate.
  5. Discard whole spices and garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.



About Indira Pulliadath

Indira Pulliadath is a nutritional therapy practitioner (NTP) and an AIP Certified Coach. Before working as a Nutritionist, she worked as a researcher in the healthcare industry for 15 years in the field of pharmacoeconomics. She started exploring healing diets five years ago when she was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. The disease pretty much crippled her, progressing very rapidly to all her joints. Over a period of two years, she tried several diets and alternative therapies, which did not help her much. Finally it was the AIP diet that helped to reduce her pain and inflammation greatly. Once she began to get better, she decided to switch careers and become a nutritional therapist so she could help other people. When she is not doing health coaching or researching, she is experimenting in her kitchen! She loves to develop Paleo and AIP versions of her family’s favorite recipes. You can find her recipes on her blog 'Cook2Nourish’ and on her Youtube channel. She is also active on Instagram and Facebook. Indira lives in Connecticut with her husband and two teenage children. As a family they enjoy hiking in the beautiful trails in and around Connecticut.


  • Della says

    Does the cauliflower need to be pre-cooked?

  • Indira Pulliadath says

    Hello Della, No the cauliflower rice does not need to be pre-cooked. The cook time given in the recipe includes time for cooking the cauliflower rice. Hope that helps!

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