Whole 30 Recipes: Romesco Garlic Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles

With no grains allowed, the Whole 30 diet relies on zoodles (zucchini noodles) to help you get your spaghetti fix. If you don’t have a spiralizer, simply use a peeler to make your veggie strands instead. Short on time? Get your meal prep on by making the sauce for this dish a few days in advance. Kitchen newbies, there are tips on how to not overcook your shrimp. But there’s no shame in buying this shellfish cooked, instead of raw, either! You’ll get all the great taste of an Italian dish, without the carb-induced bloat.

Whole 30 Recipes: Zoodles with Shrimp
Photo: The Whole 30

Romesco Garlic Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles Recipe

Serves 2

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes


4 medium zucchini (about 4 cups of “noodles”)
2 tablespoons cooking fat
1/4 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Romesco Sauce (see below)


  1. Peel the zucchini with a regular peeler. Then, using a julienne peeler, make long slices along one side of each zucchini until you get down to the seeded core. Rotate the zucchini and continue to peel until you’ve done all four sides. (If you have a spiral slicer, you can use that instead of a julienne peeler.) Discard the core, and set the noodles aside.
  2. Add 2 cups of water to a large pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil while you begin cooking the shrimp.
  3. Melt the cooking fat in a large skillet over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan. When the fat is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the shrimp, toss to coat with the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Add 1/4 cup water to the skillet and cover with a lid. Cook until the shrimp form the shape of a “C,” 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl (draining any remaining water), and season everything with the salt and pepper.
  5. After you add the water and cover, place a colander or steamer inside the large pot of boiling water. Add the zucchini noodles, cover, and steam until the zucchini is al dente in texture, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the “zoodles” and transfer to a serving dish or individual plates.
  6. Sprinkle the shrimp with the parsley, toss, and spoon over the zoodles. Spoon the Romesco Sauce over the shrimp and zucchini and serve.

You can save yourself some prep time and make your Romesco sauce up to two days in advance. This dish is just as delicious served cold, substituting Pesto for the Romesco Sauce, and cold cucumber noodles instead of steamed zoodles. You can also cheat and buy cooked shrimp—just skip the 1/4 cup water and covered cooking at the end of the third step.

Pro Tips: Cooking Shrimp
Shrimp are actually quite easy to prepare, but unlike beef, shrimp actually get tougher the longer you cook them. Perfectly cooked shrimp will be pink in color, and shaped like a “C”—if they are curled up tightly into an “O” shape, they’re overcooked. If you’re using frozen shrimp, make sure they are completely thawed before you start cooking.

Romesco Sauce

Makes 2 cups

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes


2 tablespoons cooking fat
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper


  1. Melt the cooking fat in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the fat is hot, add the almonds and toast for 3 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the chili powder and paprika and cook until the flavors open up, about 30 seconds.
  5. Finally, add the tomatoes, mix into the ingredients, and cook, stirring to bring up the tasty bits from the bottom of the pan, until the tomatoes are warmed through, about 2 minutes.
  6. Transfer the sauce mixture to a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend on low speed until the sauce is smooth, then pour into a serving dish or glass storage container.

Allow to cool before refrigerating; the sauce will keep for up to 5 days.

Pro Tips: Seeding a Tomato
Seeding a tomato can be messy if you try to dice it before removing the seeds. Try this method: place the tomato on a cutting board, stem facing up. Slice left-to-right across the middle of the tomato, creating two equal halves. Then, scrape out the seeds and white core with a small spoon. You’ll be left with nothing but firm tomato flesh, far easier to slice and dice

Recipes and Photo from THE WHOLE30 by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig. Copyright © 2015 by Whole9Life, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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