Paleo Shrimp Scampi with Beet Noodles
You know when you’re going about your normal day (checking email, shucking oysters, applying mascara) and all of a sudden, without any warning, an intense food craving hits you like an infuriating clean glass door that you thought was open? That happened to me the other day. As if struck by lightening, I was hit with an intense craving for shrimp scampi. The craving was only intensified by my further noodling over the fact that I haven’t had shrimp scampi in over 4 years. 4 YEARS?! Someone get this girl a plate of noodley shrimp STAT.
I was about to push the craving out of my immediate must-find radar and instead place it on my “I’ll remake that one day for the blog” phone note when my friends at the local (San Antonio) FOX affiliate called. They were calling to invite me on their morning show (Daytime at 9) to lead a special segment on the best foods to avoid/enjoy while pregnant.
Now I take you aside to tell you something only a dozen people in the world know: while I was in the Bauman College Nutrition Consultant program (this was after I received my Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University), I became so completely fascinated by healthy nutritional support for fertility and pregnancy that I actually wrote an eBook on the subject. No, this eBook was not assigned homework. I’m admittedly one of those irritating overachiever students who sits in the front row, introduces herself to the teacher on the first day, and gives herself extra homework because it “looks like fun.” Can we still be friends?
Decidedly swamped by other shiny projects (like, the Project), I put my “Paleo for Fertility eBook” on the back-burner for completion at another time. That being said, if you want to see it sooner than later, just let me know in a comment below! I’ll happily move it back up the pipeline if I know you need/want it soon.
SO, back to my story about FOX. When they asked if I could provide them with solid information for the healthy pregnancy segment, I responded with a resounding “HECK YES!” I dug out my notes and started dreaming of the foods I could display/make while on air. This, finally, is where the Paleo Shrimp Scampi comes back in the picture. Here are 5 of the foods I highlighted during the segment:
- Kale (and other leafy greens) – the health benefits list is long, but pay special attention to the presence of choline and betaine as they can pay an important role in preventing neural tube defects. This is an especially important food for women wanting to conceive as these defects can happen early on in the pregnancy, before we may know we’re pregnant.
- Blueberries (and other berries) – chocked with Vitamin C, fiber, folate, and other wonderful nutrients! They’re a great go-to snack food that will keep you away from indulging on other less healthy pregnancy-craving-induced sweets.
- Sauerkraut (and other raw fermented foods) – raw fermented foods are a great source of probiotics! The name of the game here is to take EXCELLENT care of your gut (the epicenter of health). Probiotics promote a healthy gut. A healthy gut promotes a healthy baby.
- Eggs + their yolks – contain an incredible array of important building blocks (which makes sense, because they’re the building blocks for chickens!) to include choline and other B Vitamins.
- Shrimp and beet SKINS – wonderfully rich sources of betaine! Which, again, helps to protect against neural tube defects and also plays an important role in developing the brain’s memory center.
When looking at my own list of some of the top foods to enjoy while pregnant, the answer to “now, what will I actually cook on air?” became obvious.
Shrimp scampi with golden beet noodles! DUH.
Now, stop thinking that this recipe looks/seems/feels overwhelming. It’s incredibly simple. All the cooking is done in a SINGLE pan and truly, the most difficult part is just making the noodles – and that, is BREEZE. Especially if you have one of these handy-dandy spiral slicers. Click HERE to order the exact one I use in my kitchen. I’ve had that bad boy for 2+ years and it’s still going strong.
You might be thinking, “beet noodles? won’t that make this shrimp scampi beet-ey?” To you I answer, “no! at least, not entirely.” The satisfying lemon, butter, onion, and garlic sauce really drives the classic shrimp scampi craving away and masks most of the beet flavor. I opted for golden beets because their color more closely resembles classic pasta. Red beets will also work, just know that they’ll likely stain the whole dish purple. Regardless of their color, remember to spiral slice the beets with their skins ON if you want to maximize your betaine exposure.
All those disclaimers out of the way, this dish is completely satisfying and delicious. I even overheard my self-proclaimed beet-loathing fiance telling someone on the phone how much he enjoyed the dish.
So there you have it! Beet noodles + shrimp scampi. The possibilities are endless and I can’t wait to hear about how you love them.
Paleo Shrimp Scampi with Beet Noodles
Yield: 2 large servings
Total Time: 20 minutes
- 1 pound wild-caught shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3-4 beets, washed and spiral sliced
- 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter or ghee, divided
- 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped (optional garnish)
- In a large pan that has a matching lid, melt half of the butter over medium/high heat. When the butter is melted, add the chopped onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and let them cook on one side for 2-3 minutes then flip them over to cook on the other side.
- While the shrimp are cooking, season with half of the salt, half of the pepper, and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Stir and then spoon out and place in a separate bowl while we cook the beet noodles. Note: shrimp are essentially done cooking when they turn white/pink. As soon as this happens, they're done and you can remove them from the heat - lest, they start to become tough due to over-cooking.
- To the pan, add the remaining butter to melt. Once melted, add the beet noodles, stir, and cover with the lid to steam/cook for 7-10 minutes. Remove the lid to stir and test that the beets have started to "give" a little in texture. When they're finished cooking, they'll have the consistency of pasta al dente.
- Season the beet noodles with the remaining lemon juice, sea salt, and pepper. Stir and add the shrimp back in to re-heat through.
- Sprinkle with the parsley and enjoy!