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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Ceviche

Cinco de Mayo (fifth of May) is often celebrated with delicious Mexican fare, including tostadas, enchiladas and margaritas! Mexico has many cuisine influences, including the popular Latin American dish, ceviche. But is ceviche safe to include in your celebratory meal?

Ceviche is raw seafood that has been marinated in an acid (usually lime or lemon juice), turning the color and texture of the seafood opaque and firm, just as it would look when cooked with traditional heat methods. You might wonder, if it's not cooked, is it safe to eat? Raw seafood does pose risk to one's health, even when soaked in acid. Certain populations should not take that risk, including pregnant women, children, elderly and people with chronic illnesses and weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals can partake in ceviche, as well as sashimi and sushi, but certain practices should be considered. First, only buy high-quality seafood from reputable suppliers. Second, freeze seafood at 0°F or lower for at least 24 hours (or buy previously frozen) to destroy potential parasites. Third, chill leftover ceviche in the refrigerator within two hours and use within two days.

Made with lean protein and tossed with heart healthy oil and fresh vegetables, such as tomato or avocado, ceviche is a nutritious dish. It can be served as an appetizer or main entrée. Spoon it into martini glasses for a classy look or serve with lettuce leaves, warm tortillas or tortilla chips. Sweet and starchy vegetables, such as cooked plantains, sweet potatoes or sweet corn or good companion dishes. Celebrate this Cinco de Mayo with ceviche, but if you don't want to eat raw seafood, try this version using precooked shrimp.

Ceviche Salad with Precooked Shrimp (Printable PDF)

1 lb. jumbo pre-cooked peeled shrimp

2 limes, juiced

1 teaspoon olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 medium tomato, cored and chopped

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

¼ cup chopped red onion

1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro

Remove tails from shrimp and discard; chop shrimp in bite-size pieces. In a large bowl, whisk juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add shrimp and let marinate for 10 minutes. Stir in tomato, avocado, jalapeno pepper, onion and cilantro. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 230 calories, 10 grams fat, 470 milligrams sodium, 7 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 30 grams protein