LIGHTER SHRIMP SCAMPI
This Lighter Shrimp Scampi is a favorite for date night or even meal prep! Just because you have goals to reach doesn’t mean you have to miss out on pasta! Pasta is a great source of low fat carbs with added protein. The plump shrimp and gluten-free pasta are tossed with a light garlic butter sauce that tastes so good you’ll question whether it’s healthy! Steamed broccoli adds vegetables and volume to keep you feeling full for hours. Best of all, this recipe is super quick and easy to make! If you need lower carbs, feel free to use spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.
Did you know? Frozen shrimp can contain as much as 800mg of sodium per 3-ounce serving (35% of your recommended daily intake). The same amount of fresh-caught shrimp contains only about 100mg (4% of the RDI). For this reason, I try to buy packaged shrimp with the lowest sodium content and don’t add salt to dishes using frozen shrimp.
Cooking the shrimp
If working with frozen shrimp, thaw thoroughly and pat it dry to eliminate excess water. To thaw, you can either place the shrimp in the fridge overnight, or place bag in a sink full of lukewarm water. Using the water method, frozen shrimp will thaw in about 15 minutes or so. Next, spread the thawed shrimp out on a towel to and pat dry. Do not skip this step!
Sauté fresh garlic with one tablespoon each butter and olive oil, then add your shrimp. This infuses the shrimp with garlic butter as it cooks (mmm). I used a vegan buttery spread with extra virgin olive oil, but you can also use unsalted butter or ghee. I do recommend some sort of buttery spread for that scrumptious buttery flavor!
Do not crowd the pan! Shrimp should have some space between each other and not be touching. If needed, cook your shrimp in two batches.
Last but not least, watch the pan! The shrimp will cook very quickly in about 2-3 minutes. Flip shrimp just once during cooking time. Keep an eye on them and remove from the skillet immediately once they turn fully pink. If your shrimp curl into a tight “O” shape, that means they’re “overcooked!” A curled “C” shape is “cooked” just right.
Making the garlic butter sauce
The garlic butter sauce is super simple. After you’ve removed the shrimp from the pan, melt remaining buttery spread (butter, ghee, vegan spread) and extra virgin olive oil in the same skillet. Add the white cooking wine (or chicken broth), lemon juice, and lemon zest; simmering briefly to cook off any alcohol.
Next, pour the garlic butter sauce over cooked pasta, tossing with your cooked shrimp, steamed broccoli, and fresh Italian parsley. Grated parmesan makes a flavorful (yet optional) addition. You can use vegan parm for a dairy-free version! I also like to add some red pepper flakes (optional).
I used gluten-free spaghetti for this recipe because the hubby doesn’t do well on tolerate gluten. However, feel free to use any type of spaghetti you like! You can also use angel hair pasta or linguine.
Also, if you don’t care for broccoli, try adding some sautéed spinach or steamed asparagus. You can also leave the veggies out, but this will result in a less filling, less nutritious meal.
Meal prep tips
For meal prep, weigh the pasta with broccoli and sauce apart from the shrimp and divide that weight by six equal portions into sealable containers. Next, weigh your cooked shrimp, divide the total weight by six, and portion into containers atop the pasta. Seal the containers and freeze or store in the fridge up to five days. Doing this ensures that each meal has an equal protein portion.
Here’s the printable recipe for this Lighter Shrimp Scampi! I hope you’ll rate and comment below if you try it 😉
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Lighter Shrimp Scampi
- 6 oz. dry gluten-free spaghetti cooked according to package
- 6 cups broccoli florets* steamed
- 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil divided
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, vegan spread, or ghee divided
- 2 tbsp. (6 medium) garlic cloves* minced
- 24 oz. raw shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes optional
- 1/2 cup white cooking wine*
- 3 tbsp. lemon juice about 1 large lemon
- 1/2 tbsp. lemon zest about 1 large lemon
- 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley chopped
- 2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese* optional, can use vegan parm
*See blog post above for substitutions.
- If using frozen shrimp, place in the fridge overnight to thaw, or place bag in a sink of lukewarm water for about 15 minutes.
- Lay shrimp out on a paper towel to absorb excess water and pat dry.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, rinse with hot water, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, steam raw broccoli until crisp-tender and set aside.
- Now, heat one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic, and saute for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add shrimp in a single layer (do not crowd pan!), season with red pepper flakes, and cook 2-3 minutes until pink, flipping once (should be a loose "C" shape – a tight "O" shape is overcooked). Cook shrimp in two batches if necessary. Set cooked shrimp aside on a plate.
- For the sauce, add remaining two tablespoons each butter and olive oil, heating over medium heat 1 minute or until melted.
- Add wine (or chicken broth), lemon zest, and lemon juice, simmer 2-3 minutes to cook off alcohol.
- Pour sauce over cooked pasta; add steamed broccoli, cooked shrimp, and fresh parsley; then toss to coat. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan if desired. Enjoy!
- For meal prep, weigh the pasta with broccoli and sauce separately and divide that weight by six equal portions into sealable containers. Next, weigh your cooked shrimp, divide the total weight by six, and portion into containers atop the pasta. Seal the containers and freeze up to one month or store in the fridge up to five days.
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