August 7, 2013

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles and Spinach (Gluten Free, AIP, Paleo)

There was this pasta dish I used to make often -- back when I ate pasta. It involved butter (eh, I probably used margarine back then), wine, tomatoes, garlic, shrimp, and of course, pasta. I actually rarely eat shrimp anymore (I'm all about sardines now), but I wanted to try to recreate this dish. I started out making it with zucchini noodles and it was very good. But I decided to leave out the tomatoes and wine (and just drink it instead) to reduce the time it takes to make this. I'm all about the quick and easy lately. Instead I added some herbs and baby spinach. Feel free to adjust garlic and lemon to taste.

(By the way, did you know you can freeze lemon juice. Just defrost the cubes as needed.)

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles and Spinach

Besides the time needed to let the zucchini release water (and the shrimp to marinate), this is very quick to make. Releasing some of the liquid from the zucchini ensures a less soggy noodle -- a tip I learned from The Clothes Make the Girl back when I made my first zucchini pasta dish. (Oh, and it was good!) Really, if you wanted, you could skip this step and just mix the noodles in cold (without cooking them). It won't be a hot dish, but should still taste good. Tomatoes are really good in this (so feel free to add them in). Sadly, I suspect I'm having issues with all the tomatoes I've been eating. Once summer is over I may have to eliminate them to find out. My Italian ancestors will be turning over in their graves...

To make zucchini noodles, I use a julienne peeler like THIS. You could also use a spiral slicer such as THIS.

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles and Spinach
serves 2 printable recipe

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles and Spinach
What you need:

2 medium zucchini (about 2 1/2 cups noodles)
12-15 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 1/2 lb)
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or melted ghee)
1-3 garlic cloves, crushed or grated (I use 3)
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
Zest from 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp ghee or coconut oil (or butter)
1 1/2 - 2 cups baby spinach (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste (omit pepper for AIP)

How to make:

Defrost, peel, and devein the shrimp if needed. Crush or grate garlic with a zester/grater (this is the one I use). Mix together olive oil, garlic, 1 tbsp lemon juice, zest, parsley, and salt and pepper and marinate for about 20-30 minutes. Make noodles from zucchini using a julienne peeler or spiral slicer (or cut into thin strips). Place noodles in a strainer or colander. Sprinkle noodles with salt, toss and let sit for 10-20 minutes to release liquid. (Skip this step if you don't plan to cook your zucchini.)

Drain water from zucchini and pat dry with paper towels. Squeeze water out gently. This helps so your pasta isn't watery. (See this post for another tip to avoid watery noodles.) Heat ghee over medium heat. Add shrimp with marinade and cook for about 30 seconds. Flip the shrimp, cook for another 30 seconds. Set shrimp aside and add the zucchini noodles to the pan (adding more ghee as needed). Cook for about minute to soften noodles. Add spinach and parsley and the shrimp. Toss until shrimp is pink and opaque, noodles are soft, and spinach is wilted, about another minute or two. Add salt and pepper to taste and squeeze on other tbsp of lemon juice to taste. Garnish with extra lemon zest if desired.

Without marinating shrimp: Saute garlic in ghee over low-med heat. After about a minute, add shrimp and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and saute for about 1 minute. Remove and set aside shrimp. Add zucchini noodles and lemon zest (with extra ghee if needed) and saute for about a minute. Toss in shrimp, spinach, and parsley and saute just until spinach is wilted and shrimp is cooked through. Add additional salt and pepper as needed.

Update: I now use the Paderno World Cuisine A4982799 Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer to make my noodles.. You can make all kinds of different noodles with it. Definitely worth it if you are grain-free and miss noodles. You don't need one, but I am loving mine. (I got it on sale.) Find it HERE.

Find my post featuring 60+ Spiralizer Recipes and more about the Paderno Spiral Slicer HERE.

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles and Spinach


Have you ever tried zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash as a pasta alternative? To me, it will never compare to real pasta, but it's a nice alternative for those of us that can't (or choose not to) eat gluten. Come back and let me know if you like this recipe!

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Shared at: Gluten Free Wednesdays, Natural Family Friday, Make your Own MondayFat Tuesday, Gluten-Free Tuesday, Thank Goodness It's MondayAllergy Free WednesdayPaleo AIP Recipe Roundtable

Fast and Easy Paleo Recipes

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  1. I agree with you that veggie noodles are delicious, but will never replace pasta. I do find that when I crave a good tomato sauce, spaghetti squash fulfills my craving better than a gluten-free pasta option. I am looking forward to trying this recipe!

  2. Livin' the Crunchy LifeAugust 8, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    Oh yeah, I will definitely take spaghetti squash over the gluten-free stuff. It was surprisingly easy for me to give up pasta even though I loooove it. I hope you like the recipe!

  3. i found this by random - but wow, sooo good - i can't wait to see if it passes the re-heat test (as good for lunch the day after, as the first night)

  4. Livin' the Crunchy LifeSeptember 10, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    Well, I'm glad you found me and that you enjoyed this dish! Shrimp will probably not be great reheated, but I've reheated the pasta and enjoyed it. Hope it works out for you and thanks for stopping by and letting me know what you thought. Much appreciated. :)

  5. I joined a seafood CSA to expand my cooking horizons, and when they sent shrimp, I found this recipe. So easy & delicious! Thank you! An added bonus is that it fits the paleo autoimmune protocol. So, thank you! I just started a weekly Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable through my blog, and I would love it if you linked up this recipe. I’m trying to expand resources for the AIP community. Here’s the link:

  6. Livin' the Crunchy LifeNovember 7, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    Thanks Eileen! I've been following your blog for a bit since I've started looking into Autoimmune protocol for myself, so I would love to link up for you. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words!

  7. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe with us as part of our Fast and Easy Paleo Recipe link party!

  8. I actually prefer zoodles to wheat pasta! To me, they have so much more flavor.

  9. Livin' the Crunchy LifeSeptember 4, 2014 at 11:04 PM

    Thank you for the invite, Layla!

  10. Livin' the Crunchy LifeSeptember 4, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    I missed real pasta in the beginning (and still do occasionally), but I really enjoy zoodles now. But I haven't had pasta in so long, I'm not sure which I would prefer. :) Thanks for stopping by!


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