This paleo shrimp scampi recipe uses just one pan and takes only 10 minutes to put together. Tender shrimp and bright lemon come together for the perfect dish. It’s low calorie, low carb, keto friendly, and Whole30 friendly too!
When I went to make this recipe, I had a burning question on my mind.
What in the heck does scampi even mean?! Turns out, it’s not a way of preparing something, but rather – scampi is a noun.
Who knew? Not me!
What are scampi
Scampi – or langoustines, to give them their frilly name – are actually small lobsters.
These are also known as Dublin Bay prawn. These delicious crustaceans are caught in the North Sea off the coast of Ireland.
One traditional way of preparing them in Italy is to sauté them with olive oil, garlic, onion and white wine. Immigrant cooks in the US adapted the Italian techniques, swapped shrimp for scampi, but kept both names.
Thus, what we know as “shrimp scampi” was born.
How to cook shrimp
For this one, we’re simply going to cook them in the same pan as everything else.
Once the shrimp are added to the pan, the trick is to cook them just long enough that they turn pink all over, but not until their bodies curl into rounds with the texture of tires.
This will likely take about 3-4 minutes for fresh and 5-6 for frozen. I used frozen and I cooked on one side about 3 minutes, flipped with tongs, and cooked about 2 minutes more.
The texture was perfect.
What a scampi sauce is made of
A traditional “scampi sauce” (which isn’t really even a thing, since we now know that the “scampi” actually refers to the protein themselves) typically includes garlic, lemon, butter, and often times white wine.
In this paleo shrimp scampi recipe, I’ve subbed in ghee for the butter to keep that rich, buttery flavor without the dairy, and I’ve omitted the wine. I don’t think it’s necessary here, as the garlic and lemon really shine.
I also wanted this recipe to be both Whole30 and keto friendly, and white wine doesn’t fit into that picture, so…no wine.
(If your current routine allows, a glass of white wine would be excellent next to this dish!)
How to make dairy free shrimp scampi
The dairy factor in scampi really comes from all the butter.
Ghee is a wonderful substitute for butter, as it has a high smoke point and a rich flavor. I would not recommend using olive oil or similar, as it has a low smoke point and will burn.
You can read more about different healthy fats here.
What to serve with dairy free shrimp scampi
I honestly didn’t feel like this needed anything “with” it – it felt like a whole meal on its own.
Do keep in mind that both zucchini and shrimp are fairly low in calories, so we do sometimes find when we eat this meal, we’re hungry sooner than we would be with other meals.
It also gives you a bit of room to eat a higher volume of vegetables – instead of making it 4 servings, why not make it 2? You’ll stay fuller longer and have packed in a punch with all those zoodles!
- 2 pounds zucchini
- 1 pound frozen shrimp
- 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp ghee
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- Using a vegetable spiralizer, trim and spiral your zuchinni and set aside. (*see notes)
- Heat your pan over medium high heat and add 1 tsp of ghee.
- Add the frozen shrimp to the pan and cook until pink and no longer translucent. For me this was about 3-4 minutes on one side and 1-2 more minutes on the other side after flipping them.
- You'll have a bit of a swimming pool in the pan at this point. No bueno. Take those shrimp over to the sink and strain them in a colander. Leave them there for now!
- Return the pan to the stove and turn the heat down to medium. Add 1 Tbsp of ghee to the pan and heat until glistening.
- Add the minced garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant, 15-30 seconds.
- Immediately add the zoodles to the pan and toss to coat. Cook 3-4 minutes or until crisp tender.
- Add the shrimp to the pan and cook 1-2 minutes more, ensuring everything is heated through.
- Remove the pan from heat and add the lemon juice. Toss to coat.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
To encourage the zucchini to drain some of its water, after spiralizing, you can sprinkle with salt and toss. It will draw the water out before cooking. I like to put them in a colander in the sink while I'm working on the other steps so they can drain, then bring them back to the pan.
To eliminate even more water, give the zoodles a good squeeze over the sink before adding back to the pan. You'll be shocked at how much water comes out!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 192Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 245mgSodium: 1158mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 29g