Missing pasta while on a Whole30? This quick and easy spicy shrimp “pasta” is made with zucchini noodles tossed in a zesty tomato garlic sauce! This weeknight meal will satisfy your cravings for a low carb, paleo, and keto-friendly pasta dish!

An overhead shot of a hand holding a bowl filled with Whole30 and keto spicy shrimp pasta with marinara sauce on zucchini noodles.

If—like me—you’re trying to eat more healthy seafood, this simple and crave worthy zucchini pasta dish should be a mainstay in your dinner rotation. It’s protein-packed and delicious, and I promise you won’t miss the parmesan cheese, heavy cream, or gluten!

What are good paleo and Whole30 pasta alternatives?

If you’re looking for a Whole30 pasta alternative to linguine, you’ll need to invest in a spiralizer because the only noodles allowed on a Whole30 are those made entirely from vegetables. Some examples include cooked spaghetti squash (made in the Instant Pot or microwave) and spiralized vegetables like zucchini, daikon, or sweet potato.

I like to use spiralized zucchini in this shrimp pasta recipe because zoodles don’t need to be cooked ahead of time. Besides, they’re readily available year-round at most grocery stores.

A fork taking a bite of spicy shrimp pasta

Because I like my zoodles to be slightly al dente and not watery, I simply throw them in the hot sauce to soften slightly before serving. It’s a fast and healthy way to enjoy low carb pasta. Of course, if you don’t want the hassle of making vegetable noodles but still want to keep it Whole30, feel free to serve the spicy shrimp over cauliflower rice or salad greens!

Can you make this ahead of time?

Er…not really. Shrimp doesn’t reheat well, so I like to cook this dish right before I eat it. Plus. the dish comes together so quickly (total time from start to finish is about 20 minutes) that there’s really no need to make this spicy shrimp pasta far in advance of serving. If you want, you can spiralize the zucchini ahead of time and keep it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

A closeup side view of Whole30, paleo, and keto spicy shrimp pasta with zucchini noodles.

Ingredients

An overhead shot of all the raw ingredients to make paleo, Whole30, and keto spicy shrimp pasta
  • Large shrimp (21-25 per pound): I always have a bag of frozen wild shrimp in my freezer so I can whip up quick and easy dinners. I just throw the frozen easy-peel deveined shrimp in a colander and run tap water on ’em for a few minutes or until thawed.
  • Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Zucchini: To serve four adults, I use one pound of zucchini. Try to choose zucchini that are straight so they spiralize uniformly.
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Onion: I like to thinly slice the onion so it cooks quickly.
  • Garlic cloves
  • Red pepper flakes: Adds heat and spiciness to this dish. Obviously, you can leave it out if you don’t like spicy.
  • Marinara sauce: My favorite Whole30-compatible brand is Rao’s Marinara. Whenever I spot it at Costco, I stock up.
  • Capers: Add a tangy zing to the spicy marinara sauce. If you buy salt-brined capers, rinse and drain them before using.
  • Fresh Italian parsley: Adds a pop of color and freshness to the dish before serving. You can also use minced fresh basil if you’ve got it!

How to make Whole30 spicy shrimp pasta

In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

A hand is sprinkling salt on a plate of raw peeled jumbo shrimp

Grab the zucchini and use a spiralizer to crank out some zoodles. (I like my Inspiralized spiralizer but it’s no longer on the market. The Oxo spiralizer is my second favorite model.)

A spiralizer is making zucchini noodles.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil. Toss in the sliced onion and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes or until softened. 

Adding thinly sliced onions to a large skillet with hot oil.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

A hand is adding a small amount of red pepper flakes to a pan with sautéed sliced onions and minced garlic.

Stir in the marinara sauce and capers and bring everything to a simmer.

A hand is adding some capers to a skillet filled with marinara sauce, sliced onions, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes.

As soon as the spicy tomato sauce is bubbling, add the seasoned shrimp to the sauce in a single layer. Don’t just lay the shrimp on top; make sure to tuck them into the sauce!

Adding large peeled shrimp into a skillet with spicy marinara sauce.

Cook for about 2 minutes and then flip the shrimp over. Continue simmering the shrimp in the sauce for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the shrimp is fully cooked. The shrimp are ready to eat when they’re opaque and bright orange or pink. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if needed.

A pair of tongs are picking up fully cooked shrimp in an enamel cast iron skillet with spicy marinara sauce

Transfer the cooked shrimp to a clean platter.

Using tongs to transfer cooked spicy shrimp to a platter.

Add the zucchini noodles (a.k.a. zoodles) to the sauce in the pan.

Adding spiralized zucchini to a skillet with hot marinara sauce.

Toss and stir until the zucchini noodles are softened and warmed through.

A pair of tongs tossing zucchini noodles in a skillet with spicy marinara sauce

Divide the sauced zucchini onto four plates.

A pair of tongs is transferring zucchini noodles tossed in marinara sauce into a shallow bowl.

Add the cooked shrimp to the zoodles and garnish with Italian parsley. 

A hand is sprinkling minced Italian parsley on top of a bowl filled with paleo, Whole30, and keto spicy shrimp pasta

How’s that for an easy weeknight dinner?

An overhead shot of a shallow bowl filled with Whole30, paleo, and keto spicy shrimp pasta with marinara sauce and zucchini noodles.

Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2022).


Spicy Shrimp Pasta with Marinara Sauce (Whole30, Keto, Paleo)

4.94 from 16 votes
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Servings 4
Missing pasta while on a Whole30? This quick and easy spicy shrimp “pasta” is made with zucchini noodles tossed in a zesty tomato garlic sauce! This weeknight meal will satisfy your cravings for a low carb, paleo, and keto-friendly pasta dish!

Ingredients  

  • pounds large shrimp (21-25 count per pound) shelled and deveined
  • ¾ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound zucchini ends trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 tablespoon capers drained
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley roughly chopped

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with salt and pepper.  Set aside
  • Grab the zucchini and use a spiralizer to crank out some zoodles.  (I like my Inspiralized spiralizer but it’s no longer on the market. The Oxo spiralizer is my second favorite model.)
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil. Toss in the sliced onion and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes or until softened. 
  • Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  • Stir in the marinara sauce and capers and bring everything to a simmer.
  • As soon as the spicy tomato sauce is bubbling, add the seasoned shrimp to the sauce in a single layer. Don’t just lay the shrimp on top; make sure to tuck them into the sauce!
  • Cook for about 2 minutes and then flip the shrimp over. Continue simmering the shrimp in the sauce for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the shrimp is fully cooked. The shrimp are ready to eat when they’re opaque and bright orange or pink. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if needed. Transfer the cooked shrimp to a clean platter.
  • Add the zucchini noodles (a.k.a. zoodles) to the sauce in the pan. Toss and stir until the zucchini noodles are softened and warmed through.
  • Divide the sauced zucchini onto four plates. Add the cooked shrimp to the zoodles and garnish with Italian parsley. 

Video

Notes

Because I like my zoodles to be slightly al dente and not watery, I simply throw them in the hot sauce to soften slightly before serving. It’s a fast and healthy way to enjoy low carb pasta.
Of course, if you don’t want the hassle of making vegetable noodles but still want to keep it Whole30, feel free to serve the spicy shrimp over cauliflower rice or salad greens!

Nutrition

Calories: 275kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 9g | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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7 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My husband is not a fan of zucchini so I made the sauce and poured it over instant pot spaghetti squash. Yum!

  2. Absolutely delicious! My zoodles all kind of clumped together when I added them to the sauce…wondering what I can do to avoid that. Maybe I should have added a bit at a time…?? Your recipes are all fantastic and even our picky kids have been enjoying them since we’ve begun our paleo eating! Thanks for all your hard work testing and putting them together 🙂

    1. 5 stars
      I had the clumping problem until I started making the zoodles shorter by cutting the zucchini into three short pieces, then spiralizing. Alternatively, try cutting the longer ones with kitchen scissors after spiralizing.