Take this cafe favorite from classic to keto with one simple swap! Keto Shrimp Scampi pairs zucchini noodles with sautéed shrimp in a decadent – but delicate – sauce featuring butter, garlic, white wine, and fresh parsley. A quick and healthy weeknight dinner save after a busy day!
Not too long ago, a friend and I were reminiscing over the universal absurdity of first dates. Like, this boy’s mom driving them to the ice capades in middle school; or my high school boyfriend treating me to dinner at a legacy chain, instead of the food court, at the mall; or the first time we ever cooked a real meal for someone at home, using hand-me-down kitchen tools, that finnicky stove we all had in our first grown-up rental, and recipes cobbled together from, I dunno… clippings from Parade magazine.
She cooked shrimp scampi for this guy and laughed it off saying “That’s what I thought passed for fancy.” While my response was something like “Ha… scampi… fancy… right…”, all I could think was: “I’d sell one of my husband’s kidneys on the black market for some shrimp scampi right now.”
Scampi is considered a “classic” dish, and yet it feels unsung and undervalued. Even by me. But just the thought of all that sizzling butter and garlic made me hang up the phone and head right to the store for some shrimp.
I can’t tell you what a delight it was to take a break from my usual, heavier winter fare and bite into this light, bright dish. This is not typical grease-laden, carb-fest scampi. Flavor is king here, and I found an absolutely perfect balance of fat and acid to make the shrimp sing. Toss it with some zoodles and you’ve got yourself a gluten-free, grain-free, keto-friendly, midweek-miracle dinner right here.
What makes this shrimp scampi keto?
Already very low in carbs, shrimp scampi is a classic recipe that translates seamlessly to the keto diet with just one simple modification – toss it with zucchini noodles instead of pasta. Good quality butter, olive oil, and wild caught shrimp are staples of the keto diet. Keep it even lower carb by skipping the (minimal) white wine and replacing it with additional chicken broth (bone broth if you have it!).
Tips for making perfect keto shrimp scampi
Use high quality butter – we like Kerrygold for its intense flavor. It really makes all the difference in the finished sauce.
Choose the right shrimp – shell on, wild caught shrimp have great flavor (and they’re cheaper too!). Go for extra large (26/30) or jumbo (21/25) for meaty bites.
Use frozen shrimp. I can buy wild caught, deveined frozen shrimp at my grocery store and it makes all the difference in prep time. Simply defrost in the fridge overnight, or place the frozen shrimp in a colander and run under cool water until defrosted.
Never marinate seafood in acids like lemon juice – it will essentially “cook” the shrimp (like with ceviche). Reserve the lemon juice for the pan sauce.
Pay attention to the heat – when making the sauce, be sure to reduce the flame to medium low and add cold butter cubes. Whisk until they’re just barely emulsified for a rich and creamy pan sauce.
What’s scampi, anyway?
Hold onto your hats… scampi is a type of lobster (a langoustine, actually). This recipe was traditionally prepared using scampi, which is plentiful in the waters around Europe. Not so much in the U.S., where “shrimp scampi” was coined by using the scampi’s more abundant crustacean counterpart as the base for the dish.
Doesn’t scampi usually have tomatoes? breadcrumbs? cream sauce?
Maybe at Olive Garden, but technically, all you need is butter and garlic for it to be shrimp scampi. You don’t even really need the pasta. (Plenty of people eat scampi solo as an appetizer.) Parsley, lemon, and white wine are the most common add-ins to just enhance the existing flavors. Anything more is a whole new dish.
Do I have to leave the tails on my shrimp?
Not necessary. In my opinion, it just makes for better presentation, but you do you.
Make it your way
You can skip the white wine. If you’re extra careful with carbs, replace the white wine with chicken stock. White wine adds just the right extra hit of acidity, however the majority of the flavor in shrimp scampi comes from the garlic and butter.
Add heat with red pepper flakes. Add 1/2 – 1 tsp in the marinade.
More shrimp and seafood recipes to make ASAP
- Oven Baked Halibut
- Seared Salmon with Cucumber Mango Salsa
- Spicy Shrimp with Avocado Aioli
- Maryland Hot Crab Dip
- Lemon Butter Shrimp over Polenta with Wilted Greens
Did you make this keto shrimp scampi? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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Keto Shrimp Scampi with ZoodlesPrint Recipe Rate this Recipe Pin Recipe
- 1 lb extra large or jumbo shrimp
- 2 large zucchini
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, grated or minced
- 2 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 4 tbsp butter divided
- ¼ c white wine
- ¼ c chicken broth
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Prep the shrimp. Remove shells (leave on tails for looks) then devine.
- Marinate. Combine shrimp, half the garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil, and salt. Toss to combine and marinate at least 20 minutes at room temperature (up to 1 hour) or up to 8 hours in the fridge.
- While the shrimp marinate, prep the zucchini noodles. Trim ends, then fit into a spiralizer and cut into a spaghetti noodle shape. Arrange the zoodles over a paper towel lined baking sheet (to wick up some of the moisture) then sprinkle with the remaining teaspoon salt. Let the zucchini sit and “sweat” while you make the shrimp scampi.
- Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tbsp oil and 2 tbsp butter and heat until the butter melts then foams. Add the shrimp in a single layer, in batches, and cook 1 minute per side or until just barely pink. Remove using a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add the remaining garlic and saute, stirring frequently, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in the white wine and scrape up any browned bits; add the broth and lemon juice and bring the sauce to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes, or until slightly reduced.
- Reduce the heat to low. Cut the remaining 2 tbsp butter into small pieces, then add to the sauce, whisking constantly until the sauce melts and emulsifies. Return the shrimp to the pan, toss with the sauce, and heat 1-2 minutes more until warmed through.
- Season with pepper to taste and add fresh parsley. Turn off the heat and cover while you prepare the zucchini noodles.
- Heat a 12” skillet over medium high heat. Add ½ tsp olive oil and heat until shimmers. Transfer the zucchini to the pan - pick up a handful of noodles, gently squeeze any water out over the sink, and add to the pan. Working quickly but carefully. Saute the zucchini noodles 2-3 minutes, tossing frequently.
- Transfer the shrimp scampi to the zoodles and toss until well combined. Serve immediately.