Have you ever made zoodles? If you get yourself a julienne peeler, you can be making zucchini into low-carb noodle stand-ins in no time. It’s actually really good. You may not be able to fool people into thinking they are eating actual spaghetti, but I don’t think anyone will be complaining.
In my opinion, though, the best part about this dish is the tomato sauce. I am not a tomato person at all. For the first twenty years of my life, I shunned tomatoes in all forms: ketchup, pizza sauce, sun-dried, cherry. I hated it all. Over the last few years, I’ve come to appreciate what cooked tomatoes can do for certain dishes. But you still couldn’t pay me enough to chomp down on a raw one. Since tomatoes are not my favorite, I made sure this sauce had lots of other things going for it: a deep roasted garlic flavor, fresh basil, and plenty of good olive oil. When I finished making it, I wanted to just eat it with a spoon. In fact, I did eat some with a spoon, but made sure to save enough for shrimp and zoodles.
This sauce would also be great with real pasta, meatballs, mozzarella sticks, you name it. You can also stir in a little bit of cream (and vodka if you want) to make a great tomato cream sauce. The sauce does take a little time, but it will make your house smell fabulous. I like to putter around in the kitchen and get some dishes done while I’m making it. Multitasking never smelled so good!
Ingredients (serves 2-3; inspired by Nom Nom Paleo):
For the tomato sauce:
1/3 cup good olive oil
10-20 cloves of garlic, peeled, halved if very large
1/2 onion, chopped
1 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes, drained, seeded if you like, and coarsely chopped
Salt to taste
Two shakes dried oregano
Two shakes red pepper flakes
Handful of fresh basil, julienned
For shrimp and zoodles:
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3-4 zucchini, noodleified
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled, tails removed if you like
Salt to taste
To make the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over LOW heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is golden brown on all sides, about 20 minutes. Turn the heat up slightly (to medium-low) and add the onion. Cook for five minutes until the onion is somewhat softened. Add the tomatoes, salt to taste, oregano, red pepper flakes, and half the basil. Cook until the tomatoes are very soft and starting to break up, 25-35 minutes. Stir in the rest of the basil and turn off the heat. Let the sauce cool somewhat, then puree in a food processor until smooth.
To make the zoodles, use a julienne peeler to make the zucchini into noodles. It’s easier if you leave the stem side on so you can hold onto it. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the zoodles and sprinkle with salt. Cook, stirring often, until softened somewhat (al dente, if you will), about five minutes. Remove zoodles to a strainer. Once they are cool enough to handle, press on them to remove excess water and transfer to serving plates.
Wipe out the skillet, and heat the other tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the shrimp, sprinkle with salt, and cook, turning once or twice, until pink. Add the sauce and toss with the shrimp until the sauce is hot. Serve the shrimp and sauce hot on top of the zoodles.
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