All the rich, spicy Italian flavors you crave! This Whole30 Shrimp Fra Diavolo is an easy and fast weeknight dinner made with tasty shrimp, spiralized zucchini noodles/zoodles, and Arrabbiata sauce. The best part? It’s made in under 20 minutes!
Shrimp Fra Diavolo has been a holiday tradition in my family for years. We have it on Christmas Eve as part of the Feast of Seven Fishes celebration. My mom would make a spicy sauce with tomatoes, garlic, chili, and oil that’d simmer all day long, then be served tossed with a big pile of spaghetti or linguini and lots of tender shrimp. It’s always been my favorite part of our huge Christmas Eve meal, and I’ve tried to carry on the tradition of a homemade sauce, although I swap zucchini noodles for the spaghetti to keep it gluten free and Paleo.
Honestly, though, I’m just not that into spending a ton of time cooking on holidays. I know, that’s basically heresy for a food blogger! But I love taking a break from everything on holidays to enjoy the time with my kids, and that means even taking a break the things I love, like cooking! So over the last few years, I’ve been making Whole30 Shrimp Fra Diavolo on Christmas Eve using Rao’s Homemade Arrabbiata sauce.. and because it’s so easy, I can make this fabulous dinner in just twenty minutes. Yeah, I said it. TWENTY MINUTES.
That means I can have my favorite spicy meal pretty much any weeknight, even the nights I don’t feel like cooking. And you know what? Rao’s sauce is much, much better than any sauce I’ve ever made anyhow, not to mention it keeps my Shrimp Fra Diavolo totally Whole30 compliant. Plus it’s been scientifically proven that opening a jar of Rao’s sauce is one thousand percent easier than making it myself. See? Science!
Friendly Reminder: There is no shame in taking full advantage of the Whole30 compliant convenience items that are available! I used to make all of my own sauces and condiments, and that’s great – but these days, I don’t really have the time or the energy for it. I’ve found a few convenience items added to my weekly grocery list, like a store-bought sauce or salad dressing, can make my Whole30 feel much more manageable, and that feeling is worth a lot!
When you find something that lets you make an unbelievably delicious dinner in just 15 minutes, you make it part of your everyday kitchen arsenal. So yeah, I guess by now you know I love Rao’s (this is not hashtag sponsored, by the way), but there are other Whole30 compliant brands of sauce, too! Lucia’s is another one, available at Walmart and only about $3 a jar.
How to Make Whole30 Shrimp Fra Diavolo:
To make traditional Shrimp Fra Diavolo Whole30 compliant, there really isn’t much changing you need to do:
With a sauce that’s already made with just a few compliant ingredients, the only thing left to do is switch zucchini noodles for the pasta it’s normally served with. I like zucchini noodles spiralized on the widest setting for a big, hearty zoodle that really stands up to the sauce. Be sure to choose small-medium sized zucchini, because large ones will be too seedy to go through the spiralizer smoothly.
Tips for making Whole30 Shrimp Fra Diavolo:
Don’t overcook the zucchini!
When I cook the zucchini, I make sure to only saute them for a few minutes, just until they’re bright green and softened slightly. You can cook them more if you like them softer, but be careful not to overcook them. Overcooking can easily turn your zucchini noodles very mushy and watery. Lightly cooking them will allow the zucchini to retain water and maintain a little crunch in their texture.
Save yourself a little extra time!
Feel free to use store-bought fresh or frozen zucchini noodles. The fresh is found in the produce aisle at most grocery stores, and the frozen is found near the other bagged frozen veggies!
How to make Shrimp Fra Diavolo Kid-Friendly:
Spicy meals like this one definitely aren’t what I’d call automatically call family friendly — although my six year old loves spicy food! — but as a general rule, I don’t make separate meals for my kids (read more of my Tips for Doing the Whole30 with Kids). So if I make this meal for our whole family, I’ll set some shrimp and zoodles aside to saute with a milder sauce for the younger kids. They like it with a mild marinara or with garlic, lemon and a little salt. Even though I don’t make separate meals for my kids, I’m always more than happy to make reasonable accommodations like this, and than everybody can enjoy eating dinner together!
If your toddler-aged kids refuse to eat shrimp (mine used to!), just pull the tails off before they see it, and be sure to cut theirs into bite sized pieces. Don’t serve this one family-style, and don’t say the word, “shrimp.” They just might assume it’s chicken, since it’s covered in sauce and all. Now this other thing we do might be borderline dishonest, but I’m going to share it with you anyway. We’ve gotten into the habit of plainly calling every kind of meat and seafood by the generic term “meat.” It doesn’t matter what it is, we call it that. Over time, I think this has helped a ton with our boys’ habit of automatically saying “NO!” to anything other than chicken. Like I said, borderline… but it might be worth a try!
This Whole30 Shrimp Fra Diavolo recipe is a regular in our Whole30 meal rotation, because of course it’s easy but it’s also super full of flavor! Are you looking for some other weeknight winners? Check out some of my other favorite easy dinner recipes your whole family will love: Orange Sesame Chicken and Broccoli, my Instant Pot Classic Pot Roast, and my Sloppy Joe Baked Potatoes.
I LOVE to see my recipes on your plates! Have you made my Shrimp Fra Diavolo recipe? Let me know in the comments below, and be sure to tag me on Instagram @cookathomemom!
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Shrimp Fra Diavolo (Whole30, Paleo, Gluten Free)
- 1 lb. peeled & deveined shrimp tails on or off is fine!
- 3-4 medium zucchini
- 2 cups compliant Arrabbiata sauce Rao's (under $7) or Italia (under $3) brand are compliant!
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper optional
- fresh basil leaves optional
Spiralize the Zucchini
Cut the stems off and spiralize the zucchini (I like it set to the widest setting for thick noodles).
Cook the Dish
Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and season lightly with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the shrimp. Cook for about one minute per side, just until they're beginning to turn pink. Set the shrimp on a plate.
Add the zucchini to the same skillet and lightly saute for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sauce in and bring to a simmer.
Once the sauce is simmering, add the shrimp back in. Stir and simmer together for about 2 more minutes. Season with more salt and pepper and serve with a bit of crushed red pepper and fresh basil, if desired.