Ceviche is a much-loved seafood dish known for its fresh taste from fish or shellfish marinated in citrus juices. Yum! During pregnancy, cravings for favorite foods are very common. However, food safety is extra important during pregnancy. It is recommended that pregnant women avoid raw and undercooked shellfish.
During pregnancy, the immune system is slightly suppressed. This puts pregnant women at a slightly higher risk for any illness, including foodborne illnesses. Raw seafood may contain potentially harmful bacteria or parasites that can cause sickness. Contrary to popular belief, citrus juices do not “cook” the seafood in ceviche dishes. To make ceviche pregnancy-safe, seafood must be thoroughly cooked before eating.
For this reason, traditional ceviche recipes using raw shellfish are not recommended during pregnancy. You can read about this topic in my blog post “Can I Eat Ceviche While Pregnant?”. The good news is that we can modify traditional ceviche recipes so expectant mothers can safely enjoy ceviche!
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Pregnancy Safe Ceviche Recipe
This recipe uses fully cooked shrimp and scallops instead of raw shellfish to make ceviche safe to eat. Cooking shellfish makes it safe to enjoy during pregnancy and minimizes risks to both mother and baby. Enjoy this pregnancy-friendly ceviche recipe, knowing all seafood is fully cooked for optimal food safety!
- 1 lb cooked shrimp, diced
- 1 lb cooked scallops, diced
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Tortilla chips (for serving)
Step 1: Prep the seafood.
Purchase cooked scallops and shrimp or thoroughly cook at home. Wash your hands and prep area. Once the seafood is cooked, we are ready to begin. Dice cooked shrimp into 1/4-inch pieces. Place diced shrimp in a large bowl and set aside. Repeat the dicing process with 1 lb of cooked scallops. Add diced scallops to the bowl with shrimp.
Step 2: Prep the vegetables.
Wash and dice 1 avocado, 1 tomato, 1/2 red onion, and 1 jalapeño pepper seeded and deveined. Dice all vegetables into 1/4 inch pieces and add to the bowl with seafood.
I love using avocado in this recipe; see all the benefits of avocado for pregnancy!
Step 3: Juice citrus fruits.
Cut 2 limes, 2 lemons, and 1 orange into halves or wedges, and juice with a citrus juicer or hand squeezer. Pour the lemon, orange, and lime juices into a measuring cup to make about 1/4 cup total with each type of juice. Two lemons, two limes, and one orange should equate to about this much juice.
Orange juice is another excellent addition to this recipe; see all the benefits of oranges during pregnancy!
Step 4: Add seasonings.
Pour the combined citrus juices into the large bowl of seafood and vegetables. Add 1 tbsp olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Toss gently with a rubber spatula to coat all ingredients.
Step 5: Marinate and chill.
Allow ceviche ingredients to chill and marinate in the fridge covered for 2-4 hours, gently stirring every 30-60 minutes. The citrus acids will not cook the seafood, but the marinade will infuse it with a bright flavor.
It’s ready to serve after at least 2 hours of marinating time. The seafood was already cooked, but as a reminder, it should be opaque and flaky throughout with no traces of rawness. The longer it sits in the marinate, the deeper and more apparent the flavors become. Once seafood is thoroughly marinated, ceviche is ready for a finishing touch.
Step 6: Finish and Serve
Stir in 1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro just before serving. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve chilled with tortilla chips for scooping.
Enjoy your safe ceviche recipe without worries.
As mentioned in my post “Safe seafood during pregnancy,” shrimp and scallops have low mercury content, making them safe seafood options during pregnancy when fully cooked. By using fully cooked seafood in this ceviche rather than raw shellfish, you can better avoid risks like parasites or foodborne illness from undercooked seafood.
I hope this pregnancy-safe ceviche recipe will provide all expectant mothers with a delicious option to enjoy flavors they may be craving while implementing “best practices” for food safety. Ceviche is a refreshing and healthy dish, rich in nutrients from seafood and citrus. This version greatly reduces potential food safety risks while retaining the delicious taste by simply substituting fully cooked shrimp and scallops instead of raw fish.
Eating various seafood during pregnancy offers excellent benefits like protein, omega-3s, vitamins, and minerals crucial for supporting a baby’s development. When choosing seafood dishes, focusing on varieties lower in mercury and ensuring that shellfish is fully cooked is essential. Following food safety guidelines helps to protect both the mother and the growing baby.
For more delicious pregnancy recipes, check out this list of super healthy breakfast recipes for pregnancy. I also have trimester-specific 60-day meal plans starting with preconception in The Prenatal Nutrition Library!
Want to try a sample first? Grab your FREE 1-week meal plan here!