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This is one of my favorite shrimp recipes ever, because it has all the rich, spicy Italian flavors I crave! Whole30, Paleo, Gluten Free and Low Carb Zucchini Shrimp Fra Diavolo is an easy and fast weeknight dinner to keep you satisfied! It’s made with tasty shrimp, spiralized zucchini noodles, and Fra Diavolo (Arrabbiata) sauce. The best part? It’s all made in under 20 minutes!
My family’s Fra Diavolo holiday tradition
Shrimp Fra Diavolo has been a holiday tradition in my family as far back as I can remember. We have it on Christmas Eve as part of the Feast of Seven Fishes celebration.
My mom would cook a homemade spicy sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, chili, and oil that’d simmer all day long. She’d serve it with shrimp, all tossed with a big pile of spaghetti or linguini.
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 store-bought sauce it is!
Plus, it’s been scientifically proven that opening a jar of Rao’s Fra Diavolo sauce is one thousand percent easier than making it myself.
How to Make the Recipe
You don’t need to change much to make traditional Shrimp Fra Diavolo Whole30 and Low Carb. Here’s how to make it:
- Gather your ingredients. You just need avocado or olive oil, shrimp, zucchini, and arrabbiata sauce. I prefer Rao’s, but you can doctor up your own homemade sauce with a drizzle of chili oil and some crushed red pepper.
- Spiralize the Zucchini. I prefer zucchini noodles spiralized on the widest setting for a big, hearty zoodle that really stands up to the sauce.
- Set the zucchini aside.
- Lightly saute the shrimp in a skillet for about 1 minute per side, until it turns pink in color, then set the shrimp aside.
- Add the zucchini to the same skillet.
- Stir in the sauce and bring to a simmer.
- Add the shrimp back in to combine and finish cooking together.
- Serve with basil leaves, crushed red pepper, and salt.
1. Choose small-medium sized zucchini.
Large ones will be too seedy to go through the spiralizer smoothly.
2. 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! No thanks. Instead, just lightly cooking them will allow the zucchini to retain water and maintain a little crunch in their texture.
3. Save extra time! 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!
4. How to make it Kid-friendly
Spicy meals like this definitely aren’t what I’d call automatically call family friendly. I don’t make separate meals for my kids, but I’m always more than happy to make reasonable accommodations like this. Then everybody can enjoy eating dinner together! Read my Tips for Doing the Whole30 with Kids post for more on that. I do make some concessions, of course:
- I set some shrimp and zoodles aside to saute with a milder sauce for the younger kids. They like it with a mild marinara, pesto, or with garlic, lemon and a little salt.
- I pull the tails off before they see it, and I’m sure to cut theirs into bite sized pieces so they don’t get the visual effect of shrimp (this only works if your kids are small).
- I don’t serve this one family-style, and I never, ever say the word “shrimp.” Hey, if they assume it’s chicken, since it’s covered in sauce and all, that’s fine by me.
Now this next thing we do might be borderline dishonest, but I’m going to share it with you anyway. I’ve gotten into the habit of calling every kind of meat and seafood by the generic term “meat.” It doesn’t matter what it is, we call it that.
And over time, I think this helped a ton with our boys’ habit of automatically saying “NO!” to anything other than chicken. Like I said, it’s borderline… but it might be worth a try!
A friendly reminder:
When you find something you love that can make dinner come together in a snap, you make it part of your everyday kitchen arsenal.
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. 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!
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.
Check out some of my other favorite easy dinner recipes your whole family will love:
- Orange Sesame Chicken and Broccoli (Whole30)
- Instant Pot Classic Pot Roast (Whole30)
- Sloppy Joe Baked Potatoes (Whole30)
- Quick Sausage & Gnocchi Skillet (Paleo)
Like this recipe? Let me know in the comments below or tag me on Instagram @cookathomemom!
Shrimp Fra Diavolo (Whole30, Paleo, Gluten Free)
- 1 lb. peeled & deveined shrimp tails on or off is fine!
- 3-4 medium zucchini
- 2 cups sugar-free Arrabbiata sauce Rao's (under $7) or Italia (under $3) brand are Whole30 compliant and made without sugar.
- 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.