These delicious and garlicky Shrimp Scampi Zoodles are a lightened-up version of the Italian classic packed with plump shrimp, zucchini noodles, garlic, lemon, and Parmesan cheese. Ready in just 15 minutes!
This healthy shrimp scampi is the perfect seafood dinner. It's made with high-fiber zucchini noodles and a homemade creamy sauce topped will juicy shrimp. Such a simple and delicious dinner!
I have fond memories of going to our favorite local Italian restaurant as a kid and loving, like seriously loving, the shrimp scampi they served.
Unfortunately for my parents, we basically refused to order from the kid's menu growing up. While my cousins ordered plain spaghetti or, more likely, a side of mashed potatoes, my parents watched in shock as we ordered seafood or steak.
And, I always ordered their shrimp scampi! It was buttery, garlicky, and delicious. So, when I wanted to recreate a lower calorie and lower carb version at home, I used that dish as inspiration.
It had to have butter, lots of shrimp, lots of garlic, and some Parmesan to finish things off. I use zucchini noodles since they pair well with the flavors and add great color, but spaghetti squash would work as well. And if you love shrimp recipes, you can’t miss this Lemon and Broccoli Pasta with Shrimp.
Key Ingredients For Healthy Shrimp Scampi
This shrimp scampi has a very creamy and buttery sauce that tastes just like I remember it from the restaurant!
Here are some of the ingredients I used:
- Zucchini: If you are going to use frozen zucchini noodles, use about 2 cups of them. Fresh zucchini will have a much better texture, slightly crispy instead of really soft. Always drain frozen zucchini noodles really well for the best texture.
- Butter: Always use real butter! For this recipe, I like the unsalted sweet cream butter. You could also use ghee instead.
- Shrimp: Before you cook with the shrimp, make sure to peel and devein them. Or, save yourself a few steps and buy them already peeled and deveined. Remember that unless you live near the Gulf, shrimp is almost always previously frozen, so consider stocking up during sales and then just defrosting at home.
- Tomatoes: Use a small tomato, like cherry or grape tomatoes, that you can slice in half.
- Garlic: Always use fresh garlic whenever you can, this is really important for scampi since garlic is one of the big flavors in this dish.
- Spices: I only used a few spices. I just used the essential salt and pepper and then added red pepper flakes for a bit of heat. The red pepper is optional but adds a nice note of spice.
- Chicken Broth or white wine: Either chicken broth or chicken stock will taste delicious in this scampi. Vegetable broth is a fantastic replacement for chicken broth. For a more classic shrimp scampi flavor, swap in white wine.
- Lemon: I like to use the juice from just one lemon. Jarred lemon juice will work if you don't have any lemons.
- Parmesan Cheese: If you can, grate your parmesan cheese at home. It will taste fresher and have the best texture!
- Parsley Leaves: This is for the garnish at the very end. Try to use fresh parsley as it will add a bright flavor to your seafood recipe and make it look fancy at the same time. Basil will also work, but isn’t as traditional in shrimp scampi.
What To Serve With Shrimp Scampi Zoodles
This is a very filling lunch or dinner, so you don't need to serve very much with it. It already has tons of vegetables, and protein - it's basically a complete meal in one skillet!
You could serve your favorite chopped salad on the side. I think the flavors in this healthy kale Caesar salad would complement the shrimp scampi best.
If you want a heartier dish, consider serving this with some regular pasta mixed in or over a bed of rice or polenta. If you don’t need a low carb option, some toasted bread is also great on the side to soak up the extra sauce.
What is scampi?
Scampi is the Italian word for langoustine, which is a type of crustacean that is bigger than a large shrimp. In terms of cooking, when we hear the word scampi we normally think of something that is quickly sauteed in butter, olive oil, garlic, and sometimes white wine. When we are strictly thinking about cooking, there are all kinds of scampi dishes including chicken scampi, Vegetable scampi, and lobster or crab scampi.
Recipe Tips And Ideas
Follow these tips to make sure that this scampi recipe turns out creamy and delicious every single time!
- If you want to thicken the sauce, just let it simmer and reduce a bit. It will naturally thicken up the longer you allow it to simmer in the skillet.
- To prevent your shrimp from overcooking and becoming dry, let them sit in a saltwater solution first.
- For the best flavor, choose wild-caught shrimp. Shrimp with the shell on have more flavor and cost less.
- Try to press your garlic instead of mincing it. Not only is this easier, but it gives your scampi a little more flavor.
- Infuse your shrimp with more flavor by lightly coating them with your favorite flavor of olive oil.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions I frequently get asked about by some readers...
What can you use instead of zucchini noodles?
If you don't like zucchini noodles (or don't want to go through the effort of making them), there are lots of other options for you including regular or gluten-free pasta.
I highly recommend trying roasted spaghetti squash! Or, you can also use quinoa, squash noodles, or spiralized carrots. There are also some new low-carb pasta options including heart of palm noodles and shirataki noodles.
Is this recipe keto-friendly?
Yes, if you are on the keto diet, this recipe is keto-friendly!
There is no added sugar, and I didn't use any ingredients that are high in carbs. In fact, the fat from the heavy cream is perfect for those on the keto diet.
How do you store leftover shrimp scampi?
The best way to store leftover shrimp scampi is in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for up to 3 days!
You should know that as the creamy sauce chills in the fridge, it will harden. All you have to do is place the entire thing in a skillet over medium heat, and it will soften right back up.
What size of shrimp should I use?
Use your favorite shrimp! I like to use small to medium shrimp because it is easier for me to eat with the zoodles.
Can I add crab meat to the scampi?
Yes, you can add crab meat to the scampi. This will actually enhance the seafood flavors and give it more protein, too.
How to defrost frozen shrimp?
If you are starting with frozen shrimp, the best way to defrost them is to place them in the fridge overnight to defrost. However, if you forget to do that, just add them to a bowl in the sink with cold water. Let the cold water continue to run slowly into the bowl for 6-8 minutes. Then run through a colander and let sit in the sink for an additional 5-10 minutes until fully defrosted.
More Shrimp Recipes You'll Love:
Healthy Shrimp Scampi Zoodles
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- 4 zucchini
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1.33 lbs. shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 lemon
- salt and pepper
- 4 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
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* 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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