What do you think of when you hear the word "alfredo"? Does it conjure up pictures of a bowl of pasta smothered in a delicious, creamy, buttery, rich sauce that you can't ever eat again because it's full of butter and a gajillion calories and literally eats up your entire point allotment for the week?
Yeah, me too. At least, that's how I used to think of alfredo anything. But, now that I've discovered both a healthier way to make this sauce and veggie noodles, I'm basically shouting my newfound love of alfredo from the mountaintops because I can eat it again and not feel like I just tanked my healthy eating routine.
This recipe also just so happens to be one of my favorite lower-carb pasta dishes because it combines three things I really love — zucchini noodles, creamy cheesy sauce, and shrimp. There's also a ton of veggies in the dish — asparagus, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, and cauliflower — so it's a dish you can feel really good about. If you don't like shrimp, this dish works great with chicken or chicken sausages as well.
Recipe Ideas for Low Carb Vegetable and Shrimp Alfredo
In a way, I've already customized this dish by swapping out pasta for zoodles and regular alfredo for a lightened up version. But don't let me stop you there! Consider:
- Swapping out zoodles for another veggie noodle. You can use sweet potatoes, yellow squash, carrots, beets, or squash, for instance.
- You can eat this dish with the zoodles and shrimp, and swap in your favorite red sauce — or no sauce at all.
- Skip the sundried tomatoes for a small can of diced tomatoes (you might want to drain them first, as they could make your dish watery.
- Substitute another protein if you are not feeling the shrimp. A lean protein like chicken works well here. Or try chicken or turkey sausages or even meatballs.
- Swap the mushrooms or cauliflower (or both) for veggies you like more — anything goes here, really!
- Use some of the cooked cauliflower in your alfredo sauce — just be sure to steam and blend it first. That's one way to sneak in extra veggies if you are not a fan of cauliflower by itself.
What do you serve with zoodles?
Zoodles are amazing and one of my favorite, go-to spiralized veggies. They make a great pasta substitute, but are also great on their own (or mix pasta with zoodles). Some of my favorite dishes using zoodles include:
- Spinach Pesto Zoodles with Cherry Tomatoes is a great summer dish.
- Sundried Tomato Pesto Zoodles with White Beans goes well with store-bought or homemade pesto.
- Spinach and Mushroom Lo Mein is a great recipe for substituting zoodles to make this a lower-carb dish.
- Serve them raw and top with this Lemon Feta Vinaigrette
How do you make zucchini noodles not watery?
The key here is to get some of that moisture out before cooking them or they will be super watery. (They are mostly water, after all.) To do this, you'll need to salt your noodles first then let them drain off some of the water. You can either salt and then put them on a few paper towels to let the moisture drain out or you can put them in a colander over the sink after salting and let the moisture drain out that way.
You'll be left with a much firmer noodle if you take the time to drain the water. If you skip this step, you'll be left with some mushy zoodles.
Can you eat zoodles raw?
Yes, you sure can! Slice your zucchini any which way you can or like. Use a spiralizer, vegetable peeler, knife — whatever way works for you. Salt and drain the zoodles, then add your favorite dressing or mix them up with some chickpeas or other plant protein source and your favorite complementary ingredients for a new twist on a pasta salad.
Low Carb Vegetable and Shrimp Alfredo
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- 4 U zucchini, cut into noodles
- 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and chopped
- 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 4 cups cauliflower florets
- 1 lb. shrimp
- 4 U garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp. light butter
- 2 tbsp. whole wheat flour (or arrowroot for lower carb, see recipe)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1.25 cups fat free milk
- 1 U Zest of 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the zucchini noodles using a spiralizer, mandolin, or vegetable peeler.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray.
Add the asparagus, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, cauliflower, and garlic. Cook for 6-8 minutes until tender. Remove and set aside.
Add the shrimp and cook for 3-6 minutes until pink and opaque. Set aside.
Meanwhile in a small pan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute until lightly browned. Whisk in the milk and cook until thick and bubbling. For lower carb, melt the butter and then add the milk. Bring to a simmer and add the arrowroot and continue cooking until it thickens.
Stir in the cheese until it melts completely.
Toss together the zucchini noodles, shrimp, vegetables, sauce, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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