Zoodles + shrimp + lime + cilantro, all in a cozy bowl of gluten-free, grain-free, paleo goodness???? Yep, all of this amazingness in just one Cilantro Lime Shrimp Zoodle Bowl.
I’m a bit of a freak for olive oil. If you’re wondering what makes a person a freak for olive oil, I’d say it’s the point when a recipe says to “add 1 TBSP olive oil to the skillet,” and you take that to mean “add 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil to the skillet” yet you still aren’t sure it will be enough.
Let’s also talk zucchini noodles, or zoodles, as they are called on the street. If you haven’t tried zoodles, then you totally need to. No pressure, of course. I’m just firmly suggesting you run out to the store this very moment and buy a zucchini or two.
But zucchini is GREEN and it’s a vegetable, you say. Is it possible to like green, will it feel unnecessarily responsible, and will a part of you die inside? These are extremely fair questions. Okay, fine, they are the EXACT questions I had when I contemplated the zoodle.
Let’s cut to the chase. Zoodle anxiety is unworthy of our time. If you have not traditionally been a paleo eater, or you’re trying to transition your diet to more fruits, vegetables, and proteins, then let me just say zoodles are an absolutely joy to eat. In fact, I prefer them now to yellow squash noodles. “Squoodles”? I don’t know if I can go with “squoodles.” However, the more I type it, the more it’s growing on me. Squoodles.
Bottom line? Ate zoodles once, addicted ever since. They are where this Cilantro Lime Shrimp Zoodle Bowl is at, and if I’m saying that, then you know zoodles have to be worth a try. Vegetables are a little like Fight Club for me. The first rule of vegetables is not to taste like vegetables. I’m going to need some dip or olive oil or three pounds of garlic. But to just sit and eat a raw carrot like it’s a joy or just because it’s healthy? Never. I need incentives. And this is a marked improvement over my childhood when, for me, eating a vegetable meant eating the cherries out of the fruit cocktail can. You know what I’m talking about.
The incentive and the reward for this Cilantro Lime Shrimp Zoodle Bowl, however, are one and the same. THE FLAVOR. Other reasons to enjoy this recipe include a:
- Delicious paleo alternative to traditional pasta noodles
- Gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, and dairy-free pasta recipe that boasts incredible flavor (this is the perfect recipe for trying out paleo noodles!)
- Perfect balance of salad greens with herbs, onions, and a hint of lime
- Sautéed shrimp in a buttery sauce that enhances the flavor and leaves one feeling pleasantly full (in other words, Goldilocks, it’s just right)
- Restaurant-style flavor and quality without the cost or time commitment
And then because our family is perpetually preparing for an impending vampire apocalypse, we throw garlic in the mix like tomorrow may never come. Oh, so good.
“Oh so good” has a sequel called “easy to make.” Think about this Cilantro Lime Shrimp Zoodle Bowl as being two parts brought together in the end for one amazing culinary experience. The first part is sautéing the shrimp in 1/8 of the 1/4 cup olive oil, along with three of the six cloves of garlic and all of the sea salt. After sautéing for approximately 6-10 minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked through and have absorbed the oil, garlic, and salt, I store them in a glass dish with a lid while I work on the zoodles.
Preparing zoodles isn’t tricky. Just throw the remaining olive oil and garlic cloves into the skillet with the julienned zucchini. Then use a fork to separate the zoodles and make sure the oil and garlic are distributed evenly. I only cook the zoodles for a few minutes because soggy zoodles make me sad. Just as the zoodles start to soften, then I add the cilantro, green onion, and lime juice, tossing everything together a few times in the skillet with my fork. God love the fork. Then I plop the seasoned zoodles into two bowls, top with shrimp, and sprinkle with pepper. Some might say an excessive amount of pepper, and I say guilty as charged.
If, like me, you have a tendency to go big with the olive oil, too, you might notice once you are done preparing the meal a buttery sauce remains in the skillet. SAVE IT. I drizzled mine over the shrimp, cilantro, green onions, and zoodles. Best decision all day.
This paleo recipe is also the best choice all day if you want a tasty excuse to eat well or you’ve put the kids to bed and it’s now date night IN. Just make a batch, pop in a movie or watch a game or listen to the music, and let the succulent lime, pungent garlic, and distinct flavors of green onion and cilantro will pique your senses.
I felt like a million bucks sitting on the couch, watching ESPN highlights, and devouring my Cilantro Lime Shrimp Zoodle Bowl. The meal was restaurant quality. And sports? Well, just like zoodles, you can’t go wrong.
- ¼ cup olive oil (more, if desired)
- ⅛ tsp sea salt
- 6 cloves garlic, divided into two groups of three
- 1 lb shrimp, precooked (pink) and deveined
- 1 large zucchini, julienned
- ½ cup green onions, sliced
- ½ cup cilantro, minced
- 2 TBSP lime juice
- Pepper to taste
- Pour ⅛ cup of olive oil in skillet (setting aside remaining olive oil, which will be used for the zoodles) and add the sea salt.
- Press three cloves of garlic and add them to the olive oil mixture, still sautéing over a medium heat to warm up the ingredients.
- Add the shrimp and sauté for about 6-10 minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked through and evenly covered in the olive oil mixture.
- Scoop the shrimp out of the skillet and transfer to a lidded bowl to keep warm while working on the second part of this recipe.
- In the same skillet, add the remaining ⅛ cup olive oil and julienned zucchini.
- Using a fork, separate the zoodles and toss them in the skillet to evenly coat them with the olive oil mixture. DO NOT OVERCOOK the zoodles. They will quickly go from freshly crisp to mushy in a matter of minutes. I cook for just a minute or two before adding the remaining ingredients.
- Add the green onions, cilantro, and lime juice to the skillet, tossing and separating with a fork to evenly distribute them among the zoodles. (If you have trouble mixing these last ingredients in with the zoodles, do not continue to cook them over the heat. Remove the skillet from the heat and toss the zoodles, onions, and cilantro with a fork.)
- Remove from heat and transfer zoodles to two bowls. Top with shrimp and then sprinkle with pepper.