Refreshing Ceviche Recipe

Recipe From Dr. Mercola

South American dishes are loved by many because of their fresh ingredients and use of bold flavors. A sumptuous example is ceviche (also spelled seviche or cebiche), which was said to have been first created by the ancient Inca civilizations in Peru and Ecuador.1 Ceviche involves marinating raw fish or seafood in tangy citrus juices.2

If you’re eager to make ceviche, give this Refreshing Ceviche Recipe a go. It stays true to its South American heritage with its combination of various fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. Even better, you can guarantee that this recipe will utilize the freshest and healthiest seafood, without added health risks.

Refreshing Ceviche Recipe


  • 1/2-pound wild-caught shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2-pound wild-caught bay scallops
  • Juice from 2 organic oranges
  • Juice from 2 organic limes
  • Juice from 2 organic lemons
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 small organic red onion, diced
  • 4 small organic tomatoes, diced
  • 1 organic cucumber, deseeded and diced
  • 2 small avocados, diced
  • 2 to 4 serrano or jalapeno peppers, deseeded and diced (optional)
  • 4 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste


  1. Dice up the shrimp and scallops to preferred serving size and place in a glass bowl.
  2. Combine juices from oranges, limes and lemons and pour over the shrimp and scallops.
  3. Add the diced onion, minced garlic and peppers (if you’re using them) and mix well.
  4. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. You will be able to tell when the seafood is done cooking in the juices when the shrimp are pink and the scallops are opaque.
  5. After mixture has been in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, remove bowl from refrigerator and add remaining ingredients, except for the avocado and cilantro, and mix.
  6. Cover and place back in the refrigerator for an hour so flavors can meld together.
  7. Mix in the diced avocado and cilantro before serving.

Tap Into Better Health With This Refreshing Ceviche Recipe

What makes this Refreshing Ceviche Recipe unique is that while the seafood looks cooked because it’s opaque and firm, no heat source was used. How is this possible?

According to Danilo Alfaro, a private chef writing for About Food, acids in the citrus juice “denature” or separate the seafood’s proteins, prompting them to rearrange themselves in different formations. This “cooks” the seafood, sans heat, which is why ceviche is often served chilled or at room temperature.3

Be Wary of Conventional Seafood

Fresh and toxin-free seafood is essential for ceviche. Keep in mind that most seafoods nowadays are farmed and given feeds that contain harmful substances like antibiotics and synthetic chemicals. These farming facilities (like shrimp farms in Southeast Asia) also destroy the natural habitat of other marine life.

Instead, choose fresh seafood like shrimp and scallops that are sustainably harvested and wild-caught. Ideally, buy them from a trusted local fish monger. If you purchase seafood from grocery stores or big box retailers, look for trusted third-party labels that verify fish and seafood quality and indicate their sustainability:

For Fish

For Seafood Like Shrimp or Scallops

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label: the logo features the letters MSC, with a blue check mark in the shape of a fish

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label

Alaska’s Wild Alaska Pure logo: All Alaskan fish is wild-caught, as the state has prohibited aquaculture

NaturLand certification

Global Aquaculture Alliance Best Practices symbol: This is for farmed fish or seafood (although it’s advisable to choose wild-caught fish over these seafood products)

Aquaculture Stewardship Council certification


Whole Foods Market’s Responsibly Farmed label

Seafood Watch, an initiative of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, has released a seafood sustainability guide,4 alongside a Sustainable Seafood smartphone application5 to help you verify whether fish or seafood is wild-caught or not.

What Health Benefits Can Shrimp and Scallop Provide You?

Wild-caught shrimp is a valuable source of high-quality protein, vitamin B12 and tryptophan (an essential amino acid). Eating wild-caught shrimp could increase your body’s supply of astaxanthin, healthy fats like omega-3 and saturated fats, and can help the body absorb selenium.

Scallops also contain vitamin B12 that the body needs to convert a chemical called homocysteine into other benign chemicals and prevent damage to the blood cell walls. Heart-healthy nutrients magnesium and potassium are present in scallops, too. Magnesium helps the blood vessels relax, assists with reducing blood pressure levels and enhances blood flow, while the potassium aids with regulating normal blood pressure levels.

Choose Citrus Fruits for Their Fresh, Tangy Taste

Ceviche wouldn’t be ceviche without the acidity and refreshing flavor brought on by the lemon, lime and orange juices. These fruits are abundant in vitamin C that helps ward off cold- and flu-causing germs, improves your resistance against infections and may help alleviate painful arthritis symptoms. Other vitamins you can get from citrus fruits are:

  • Vitamin A: This helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and skin, shields your eyes from conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration and potentially reduces incidences of stroke, diabetic heart disease and cancer
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamin): This strengthens the immune system and increases your body’s ability to handle tension
  • Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine: This allows the body to create neurotransmitters needed to send nerve cell signals crucial for normal brain function and development, and produces mood hormones like serotonin, norepinephrine and melatonin
  • Vitamin B9 or folate: This helps you produce healthy red blood cells and divide them correctly to help inhibit neural tube defects

These nutrients and compounds are also abundant in lemons, limes and oranges:

Calcium (oranges): This develops strong bones and teeth, helps the blood vessels circulate throughout the body and releases hormones and enzymes for the body’s vital functions.

Flavonoids like beta-carotenes, zeaxanthin, lutein, anthocyanin, hydroxycinnamic acid, narigenin and esperetin (oranges and lemons): Narigenin in particular possesses antioxidant properties, combats inflammation and aids with immune system regulation.

Furthermore, the tandem of esperetin and naringenin helps eradicate harmful free radicals that increase risk for diseases.

Pectin (oranges): A type of fiber that’s a bulk laxative, pectin allows oranges to assist with weight maintenance and helps the colon run smoothly.

Pectin also reduces blood cholesterol levels by preventing toxin build-up in the colon.

Citric acid (lemons and limes): This substance helps with digestion and dissolves kidney stones.

Ascorbic acid (lemons): This natural antioxidant prevents scurvy.

Limonoids (limes): This assists with fighting cancers of the lung, breast, stomach, colon, skin and mouth.

Plus, limonin glucoside, an easily digested component in limonoids, attaches itself to sugar molecules and neutralizes the negative effects of sugar.

While it’s undeniable that oranges, lemons and limes offer superb benefits for your body, consume them in moderation. These fruits all contain fructose, which can severely disrupt your health if consumed in large amounts.

Expect a Feast of Flavors From Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Avocados

To balance the acidity from the citrus fruits and the spiciness of the chili peppers, this recipe incorporates organic cucumbers, tomatoes and avocados to deliver a cool and crisp contrast, and many health benefits, too. Munching on cucumbers allows you to receive essential B vitamins and vitamins C and K, alongside minerals like copper, potassium and manganese. Moreover, extensive research has shown that cucumbers may:

Increase brain protection

Help lower cancer risk

Combat inflammatory responses in the body

Possess antioxidant properties

Freshen breath

Manage stress

Support digestive and heart health

Maintain healthy weight

Tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, although these fruits are most known for their high lycopene content.

Lycopene is a carotenoid antioxidant responsible for giving tomatoes their bright red color, as well as exhibiting antioxidant properties, delivering protection against ultraviolet damage, preserving bone density and lowering risk for diseases like osteoporosis, stroke and cancer.6

Lastly, avocados provide this dish with a creamy texture. These fruits are known for their healthy fats that can help retain healthy cholesterol levels, ensure good heart health, decrease bad cholesterol levels and lower risk for heart disease. Avocados also have an impressive array of nutrients, which include:

  • Vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E and K
  • Potassium (important for heart function, skeletal health, digestion and muscular function, proper function of all body cells, tissues and organs,7 and counteracting the hypertensive effects of sodium)
  • Magnesium (required by your heart, muscles and kidneys)
  • Fiber (a must for better digestive, heart and skin health, blood sugar control and weight management)

Remember that carotenoids, which have important cancer-fighting properties, are found in the dark-green area of the avocado closest to the skin, so use it in the recipe.

Before consuming cucumbers, tomatoes or avocados, make sure you purchase organic varieties. While avocados are one of the safest commercial crops (the thick skin protects the fruit from pesticides), the same cannot be said for cucumbers and tomatoes, which are often exposed to herbicides and pesticides that can damage your health.

+ Sources and References