Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi
Dec 13, 2017, Updated Jan 30, 2024
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Spaghetti squash shrimp scampi combines tender shrimp in a garlic-lemon butter sauce with strands of squash for a healthy, flavorful twist on a classic.
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Low Carb Spaghetti Squash Shrimp scampi
Spaghetti squash shrimp scampi is a delightful twist on the classic Italian dish, combining the lightness of baked spaghetti squash with succulent shrimp sautéed in a garlic and lemon butter sauce.
This dish offers a healthier alternative to traditional pasta, as the spaghetti squash provides a low-carb, high-fiber substitute that still satisfies the craving for a hearty meal. The shrimp are cooked to perfection, absorbing the vibrant flavors of the sauce, while a sprinkle of fresh parsley adds a burst of color and freshness. Together, these elements create a harmonious blend of textures and tastes, making spaghetti squash shrimp scampi a satisfying and nutritious meal.
How to Make Low Carb Shrimp Scampi
First assemble the following ingredients:
- Spaghetti Squash (1) – Spaghetti squash offers a mild, slightly sweet flavor, providing a light and nutritious base that absorbs the rich tastes of the accompanying sauce.
- Shrimp (1 lb) – Shrimp brings a delicate, sweet seafood flavor that contrasts beautifully with the boldness of the garlic and spices in the dish.
- Butter (1/2 cup) – Butter adds a creamy, rich depth that serves as the foundation of the scampi sauce, enveloping the shrimp in a smooth, velvety texture.
- Garlic (1/4 cup) – Garlic imparts a pungent, aromatic quality that infuses the dish with a warm, earthy essence, enhancing the overall flavor profile.
- White wine (1/2 cup) – White wine introduces a subtle acidity and complexity, deglazing the pan and melding the flavors together while adding a hint of fruitiness.
- Red pepper flakes (1 tsp) – Red pepper flakes contribute a spicy kick that cuts through the richness, adding a lively heat that can be adjusted to taste.
- Oregano (1 tbsp) – Oregano offers a slightly bitter, earthy note with a hint of mint, bringing a rustic, Mediterranean character to the dish.
- Thyme (1 tbsp) – Thyme lends a subtle, slightly floral and earthy flavor, complementing the seafood and adding a layer of depth to the sauce.
- Parsley (1 tbsp) – Parsley provides a fresh, clean finish with its bright, slightly peppery taste, adding a burst of color and a refreshing contrast to the richness of the scampi.
Use this Method:
Prep. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice spaghetti squash in half, scoop out stringy pulp and seeds, discard. Place halves, face up, on baking sheet. Pour water on bottom of baking sheet. Place pats of butter in squash halves.
Bake Squash. Bake 40 minutes to an hour, until squash is tender to the touch. If squash is not yet tender, continue to cook. When squash is soft, remove from oven and let cool until it is comfortable to handle, about 20 minutes.
Make Scampi. While squash is cooling, start cooking shrimp scampi. In a large pan, melt butter and add garlic on medium heat. Cook until garlic is fragrant and soft, about 3 minutes. When butter is melted, add shrimp, spices, and wine, and cook until shrimp is pink and opaque, about 8 minutes, stirring often.
Shred Squash. While shrimp is cooking, run a fork through squash to form spaghetti-like strings. Shred squash all the way to bottom of squash rind – but do not pierce rind (if serving in the rind as a “boat”).
Combine. When shrimp is cooked, add squash “spaghetti” strings to pan and toss over high heat until well mixed. Spoon back into squash rind “boats”. Top with parsley and parmesan cheese. Serve Immediately.
Tips and Tricks to Perfectly Cooked Shrimp Scampi in Shredded Squash
Choosing Spaghetti Squash: Look for a spaghetti squash that feels heavy for its size with a firm, unblemished exterior. This usually indicates freshness and good texture for making strands that resemble spaghetti.
Roasting Spaghetti Squash: For a more concentrated flavor and drier texture, which is ideal for holding the scampi sauce, try roasting the squash at a slightly higher temperature, such as 425°F (220°C), and allow it to cool slightly before shredding. This helps to evaporate excess moisture.
Patting Shrimp Dry: Before sautéing, ensure your shrimp are thoroughly patted dry with paper towels. This helps achieve a nice sear rather than steaming the shrimp.
Cooking Shrimp Perfectly: Shrimp cook very quickly and can turn rubbery if overcooked. Cook them until just pink and opaque, which typically takes only a couple of minutes per side, depending on their size.
Deglazing the Pan: After cooking the shrimp, deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine or broth. This step helps lift any flavorful bits stuck to the pan, enriching your scampi sauce.
Lemon Juice Balance: Be careful with the amount of lemon juice used. Start with a little and taste as you go. The sauce should have a bright, lemony flavor without overpowering the shrimp or squash.
Adding Fresh Herbs: Fresh parsley is traditional, but consider trying fresh basil or thyme for a different flavor profile. Add the herbs at the end of cooking to preserve their fresh flavor and color.
Cheese Option: While not traditional in a seafood scampi, a sprinkle of grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese can add a nice savory note if desired. Just be mindful of the additional saltiness it brings to the dish.
Serving Presentation: Serve the shrimp scampi over the spaghetti squash strands in the squash shell for an impressive presentation. This not only looks attractive but also reduces cleanup.
Adjusting for Dietary Needs: For a gluten-free version, ensure all your ingredients, especially any added broth or wine, are certified gluten-free. For a dairy-free or Paleo-friendly version, substitute the butter with ghee or olive oil.
Garnishing: A final garnish of lemon zest adds a fragrant, citrusy aroma and enhances the flavors of the dish just before serving.
Experimenting with Flavors: Feel free to add capers, sun-dried tomatoes, or olives for an extra layer of flavor that complements the shrimp and spaghetti squash.
Shrimp cook quickly, so add them to the pan in the last few minutes of cooking. They’re done when they turn pink and opaque. Remove the pan from heat as soon as they’re cooked to avoid overcooking.
It’s best served fresh, but you can roast the spaghetti squash and prepare the shrimp up to a day in advance. Store them separately in the refrigerator and reheat gently before combining and serving.
After roasting and shredding the spaghetti squash, let it sit in a colander for a few minutes to drain excess moisture. You can also press it gently with paper towels to remove water.
Absolutely! Feel free to incorporate other vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, zucchini, or bell peppers. Add them to the pan when sautéing the shrimp to ensure they’re cooked through.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat gently in a skillet over low heat, adding a splash of water or extra lemon juice to moisten the squash and shrimp.
To add some heat to your shrimp scampi, include a pinch of red pepper flakes when sautéing the shrimp or garnish the finished dish with freshly chopped chili peppers.
For a dairy-free version, you can use a high-quality olive oil or a dairy-free butter substitute. Adjust the quantity to taste, keeping in mind that the flavor profile will change slightly.
Yes, frozen shrimp can be used. Thaw them completely in the refrigerator or under cold running water, then pat dry with paper towels before cooking to ensure they sauté properly.
What to Enjoy with Your Spaghetti Squash Bake
- Garlicky Roasted Broccoli: Oven-roasted broccoli with a hint of garlic enhances the meal with its crunchy texture and earthy flavors.
- Caprese Salad: Fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze offer a light, refreshing counterpoint to the richness of the scampi.
- Sautéed Spinach with Pine Nuts: A quick sauté of spinach with garlic and toasted pine nuts adds a nutritious and flavorful side.
- Parmesan Polenta: Creamy polenta with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese provides a comforting and hearty option that pairs wonderfully with the shrimp scampi.
- White Wine: A crisp, dry white wine like Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio complements the seafood and garlic flavors beautifully.
- Sparkling Water with Lemon: A bubbly, refreshing choice that cleanses the palate and enhances the dish’s lemony accents.
- Light-bodied Beer: A pale ale or a pilsner can offer a refreshing contrast to the richness of the scampi without overpowering its flavors.
- Iced Herbal Tea: A glass of chilled herbal tea, such as mint or chamomile, provides a non-alcoholic and soothing beverage option.
Also try: Low Carb Grilled Cactus and Steak Tacos, Low Carb Taco Stuffed Avocados, Low Carb Squash Stroganoff, One Pot Creamy Shrimp Florentine Skillet, and 10 Minute Butter Poached Lobster Tails in Garlic Lemon Cream Sauce.
Low Carb Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi Recipe
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- 1 squash, spaghetti style
- 1 lb shrimp, shells removed, cleaned, and deveined
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup white wine, dry
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Slice spaghetti squash in half, scoop out stringy pulp and seeds, discard.
- Place halves, face up, on baking sheet.
- Pour water on bottom of baking sheet.
- Place pats of butter in squash halves.
- Bake 40 minutes to an hour, until squash is tender to the touch. If squash is not yet tender, continue to cook.
- When squash is soft, remove from oven and let cool until it is comfortable to handle, about 20 minutes.
- While squash is cooling, start cooking shrimp scampi.
- In a large pan, melt butter and add garlic on medium heat.
- Cook until garlic is fragrant and soft, about 3 minutes.
- When butter is melted, add shrimp, spices, and wine, and cook until shrimp is pink and opaque, about 8 minutes, stirring often.
- While shrimp is cooking, run a fork through squash to form spaghetti-like strings.
- Shred squash all the way to bottom of squash rind - but do not pierce rind (if serving in the rind as a "boat").
- When shrimp is cooked, add squash "spaghetti" strings to pan and toss over high heat until well mixed.
- Spoon back into squash rind "boats".
- Top with parsley and parmesan cheese.
- Serve Immediately.
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USA Pan Bakeware Extra Large Sheet Pan, Warp Resistant Nonstick Baking Pan, Made in the USA from Aluminized Steel
HexClad Hybrid Nonstick Frying Pan, 10-Inch, Stay-Cool Handle, Dishwasher and Oven-Safe, Induction Ready, Compatible with All Cooktops
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 326Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 200mgSodium 870mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 3gSugar 4gProtein 20g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.