Shrimp Scampi is perfect for a quick weeknight meal but also flavorful and unique enough to serve for a dinner party. There are so many sides that go great with the flavor of shrimp scampi! Here are 18 of my favorite ideas.
Shrimp Scampi is a classic Italian-American pasta dish that you can’t help but love. Made with shrimp in a buttery, garlicky white wine sauce, red pepper flakes, fresh herbs, and lemon zest, poured on top of noodles, it’s a complete meal that anyone can love.
One of the best things about shrimp scampi, and just about any shrimp recipe, is how quick and easy it is to make. Shrimp cooks so quickly, which makes it perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or a simple date night. In this dish, it is paired with delicate flavors that make this recipe something memorable.
Shrimp scampi is one of those dishes. It’s an easy meal to make for a night in and also delicious enough to serve to any guests.
If you have mastered your own shrimp scampi at home and are looking for some recipes to add to that shrimp scampi meal, you’ve come to the right place. While garlicky shrimp scampi is a complete meal all on its own, it is also complimented by many delicious sides and I’ve got a list of the best side dishes for you!
You can definitely use frozen shrimp for shrimp scampi. If you don’t live near water, the frozen shrimp may actually be more fresh than the “fresh” shrimp in the deli.
Frozen shrimp is captured and frozen right away, preserving all its wonderful nutrients. Fresh shrimp may have had a long journey to make it to your local grocery store.
You can thaw frozen shrimp under cold water or simply add it to your pot and cook from frozen. Be sure and read the directions for the recipe you are using to see what is recommended. You may or may not need to adjust your overall cooking time.
I also recommend using deveined shrimp to save time.
You can use any quantity of shrimp that will feed your guests, but I recommend cooking only enough that will fit in one layer in your pan at a time.
I won’t give you an exact number of large shrimp, versus jumbo shrimp, but just fill your pan with plenty of tender shrimp and cook them in one layer for the best results.
Scampi is actually the name for a different type of crustacean called Dublin Bay Prawns or Norway Lobsters. They look like small lobsters.
These crustaceans are common in Italy and this dish was actually originally made with them. When it came to America, American chefs began using shrimp instead because they were easier to find, but kept the name scampi in the dish name.
Shrimp Scampi sauce is made with white wine, garlic, butter, and lemon. The flavors are all fresh and light and help enhance the natural flavor of the shrimp.
I make shrimp scampi with Pinot Grigio, but any crisp, dry white wine with a high acidity will work. You could try Sauvignon Blanc, unoaked Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, or Pinot Blanc. Use something you enjoy to drink on its own so you can use the rest of the bottle to serve with the meal.
Do not use any sweet wine as this is a very savory dish and the savory flavor of the wine is important.
If you are not a fan of cooking with wine or do not have any on hand, you could substitute chicken broth, chicken stock, or vegetable broth. You may need to add some vinegar to achieve a similar flavor.
Scampi sauce is usually very thin because it consists mainly of butter and white wine.
If you prefer a thicker sauce, there are several different ways to thicken it.
I like to add parmesan cheese to the top of my noodles and mix it around in the sauce before serving. The cheese helps soak up some of the butter and adds excellent flavor.
You could also create a small slurry of cornstarch and water and add to your sauce for the last minute or so of cooking. This will thicken your sauce considerably.
Another option is to add a bit of heavy cream to your sauce. This makes the sauce richer and thicker.
Shrimp scampi can be dry for two reasons: Too many noodles or overcooked shrimp.
It’s easy to overcook shrimp. It cooks much faster than you think, and that makes some cooks second guess if it’s really done.
Shrimp is cooked when it is pink and no longer opaque. You do not want to overcook it!
If your noodles are dry, you probably prepared too many noodles and not enough sauce. You could always try mixing up more sauce or just cooking fewer noodles next time.
Shrimp is high in protein and low in calories so it is generally a great ingredient for a healthy diet.
That being said–shrimp scampi is still largely based in butter. It’s not a dish that should be eaten every day, but it is a great source of protein, carbs and healthy fats. You can search for a healthy shrimp scampi recipe that may use more fresh lemon juice and less butter for a healthier option.
Whether or not you take the tails off is a matter of preference.
I like to take the tails off because it makes the dish easier to eat. When you order shrimp scampi at a restaurant you may see it is often served with tails on. This is for a few reasons.
The first is that it’s easier for the kitchen to leave the tails on. The second reason is some chefs believe the tails add an important flavor to the dish that should not be left out.
The third reason is aesthetics. The tails look nice and have a bright color that contrasts beautifully with the parsley and lemon.
Shrimp tails are safe to consume. Some people like the added crunch.
You should not eat shrimp tails on a regular basis. They contain cholesterol and saturated fat that is not needed in your diet. It is customary to remove the tails of shrimp before eating.
It’s a good idea to give shrimp a quick rinse before cooking it. Rinsing it helps remove any leftover bits of shell and any other stuff that may be stuck to the flesh.
Shrimp are fully cooked when there is no more gray and every part of the shrimp looks pink or solid white. Cook your shrimp in a single layer to ensure it cooks evenly.
It should take about four to five minutes, depending on your cooking temperature and the size of your shrimp.
- Cooking Shrimp Scampi in the Instant Pot makes this recipe incredibly fast and easy!
- This Classic Shrimp Scampi from Cooking Classy makes the process very easy
- This Shrimp Scampi with Homemade Noodles would really impress your guests, knowing it is all made from scratch!
- You can use just about any noodles for Shrimp Scampi. Make it with linguine, spaghetti, angel hair or even skip the pasta and serve guests a nice crusty bread to dip in the sauce instead.
- Do not overcook your shrimp! It’s the quickest way to ruin Shrimp Scampi and so easy to avoid. Keep an eye on your shrimp as it cooks. As soon as it is no longer opaque, it is done.
- If your pasta cooks faster than your shrimp, toss them with a little bit of olive oil or some of the sauce to keep them from sticking together. Do not rinse your noodles after cooking them.
What to Serve With Shrimp Scampi
- Noodles: linguine, spaghetti noodles, angel hair pasta, zucchini noodles, gluten-free pasta
- Vegetables: Roasted brussels sprouts, sauteed green beans, creamed spinach, roasted potatoes
- Salad: Fresh garden salad, Caprese salad, Caesar salad
- Sides: Crusty bread, French bread, risotto, creamy polenta, garlic bread, cauliflower rice, tomato bruschetta, lemon rice, white rice
Recipes to Serve with Shrimp Scampi
Here are some of my favorite recipes to serve with Shrimp Scampi!
Restaurant-Style Italian House Salad
This easy Italian House Salad recipe is perfect for all those times you need just a little something on the side. Zesty pepperoncini and parmesan add lots of flavor, but it’s the restaurant-style Italian dressing that really takes this salad to the next level.
Best Ever Garlic Bread
This Garlic Bread is perfectly toasted with the perfect amount of garlic, herbs, and butter to make it completely irresistible! Garlic Bread is quick and easy to make and the secret ingredient makes this bread better than any other!
Sun-Dried Tomato Salad
This sun-dried tomato salad requires only a few key ingredients and is coated in sun-dried tomato oil for optimal flavor and minimal prep time. It’s loaded with chickpeas, feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, making it a healthy, delicious, plant-based salad recipe.
Roasted Green Beans and Potatoes
Oven roasted green beans and potatoes are a delicious side dish that will keep your family coming back for more! With just one sheet pan, you’ll have a healthy, vegan and gluten free well-rounded side to pair with almost any main dish. The best part? It’s ready in just 35 minutes!
Fried Tenderstem Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon
A healthy and easy tender stem broccoli side dish is all you need to elevate your meal to another level! Gently boiled, and then pan-fried broccolini is the best quick way to cook this wonderful vegetable! A versatile recipe that goes with a range of meat, poultry, and fish dishes, this is our go-to side dish when we’re looking for a flavorsome and nutritious sidekick that is ready in 10 minutes! Tenderstem Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon (and just a pinch of chili flakes) may just become your favorite side this year!
Lemon Arugula Salad with Pine Nuts
Lemon Arugula Salad with Pine Nuts is a quick and easy salad that is peppery, sweet, and satisfying. Arugula is tossed with cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese and finished off with a lemony, olive oil dressing.
Cheesy Baked Asparagus with Mozzarella
Cheesy Baked Asparagus with mozzarella and parmesan is an amazing dish that can be enjoyed as an appetizer or a side dish. Quick, easy, and full of freshness and flavor.
Easy No Knead Bread
This is the best bread recipe, and quite possibly the only one you’ll ever need! The recipe for No Knead Bread creates a rustic, artisan bread loaf using just four ingredients and a bit of patience.
Simple Tossed Green Salad
This is the best simple tossed green salad that goes so well with any meal! Fresh dressed greens with a simple lemon or apple cider vinaigrette, it will take you just a few minutes to make!
4-Ingredient Garlic Bread Spread
This Garlic Bread Spread only requires 4 ingredients and comes together quickly to make the best homemade garlic bread!
Caprese Salad with Toasted Walnuts
The addition of warm toasted walnuts makes this Caprese salad stand out against the rest. A simple addition with tons of flavor.
Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad with Feta Cheese
Grilled Corn And Avocado Salad With Feta Cheese is the perfect side dish for the warm weather! With sweet corn, creamy avocado, a savory dressing, and a little kick, this summer salad will be a huge hit with the entire family.
Haricot Vert Salad
This haricot vert salad is made with French green beans (haricots verts), toasted almonds, and a quick homemade honey mustard dressing. Serve it warm or cold for an easy side dish!
Confit Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic
Confit Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic is a rich and savory condiment that will liven up your dinner table. Fresh, whole cherry tomatoes are partially submerged in extra-virgin olive oil with garlic, shallots, and aromatics then slowly cooked at a low temperature. The result is intense, concentrated tomato flavor, nutty and buttery garlic and shallots, and a delicious, herb-infused, garlicky tomato oil. This recipe might just be the best way to preserve the taste of summer into the winter months!
Roasted Zucchini alla Scapece
Zucchini alla Scapece is a classic Italian recipe in which roasted zucchini is marinated in tangy vinegar, fresh mint and garlic. With only five main ingredients, the recipe is so simple, yet very robust and aromatic. Serve it on your next antipasto platter, spooned over creamy ricotta and grilled bread, or as a light side to roasted, grilled or braised meats or fish. If you’re looking for something to do with all of that homegrown zucchini from your garden, look no further!
Vegan Garlic Roasted Mushrooms
This vegan Garlic Roasted Mushrooms recipe iswith salt, pepper, olive oil, and fresh rosemary for an !
Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad
This strawberry goat cheese salad is the perfect spring and summer salad! Made with fresh strawberries, goat cheese, spinach, walnuts & pine nuts. Then drizzled with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette with a hint of cinnamon.
Roasted Mashed Cauliflower
This Roasted Mashed Cauliflower with ricotta cheese and garlic is one of my favorite creamy, low-carb side dishes. Perfect with grilled chicken or seafood as a flavorful accompaniment.