At restaurants, shrimp scampi is typically made with lemon, garlic, wine, and copious amounts of butter. some chefs even top it with parmesan. Sure, you can skip the cheese and swap in dairy-free butter at home. But years ago I stumbled upon a more flavorful and healthy preparation that’s doesn’t need butter of any kind and is even alcohol-free. This flavorful, dairy-free shrimp scampi is sautéed with olive oil and garlic, finished with lemon, and seasoned with a beloved blend of herbs and spices.
Dairy-Free Shrimp Scampi that’s Delicious without Butter
This recipe is adapted from my cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: The Essential Cookbook, and inspired by a recipe from McCormick, the makers of Old Bay seasoning. Below are answers to some recipe FAQs to help fill in any blanks.
What is Old Bay Seasoning?
I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been missing out on this timeless seasoning. Old Bay Seasoning is a perfect blend of celery salt, paprika, and other peppers that complements seafood, meat, tofu, and vegetables. It’s sold in most grocery stores and online.
Can I Use Dairy-Free Butter instead of Oil?
I would stick with the oil for cooking, but you can finish it with a little dairy-free buttery spread, if desired. I would add it with the lemon juice, and then taste test before adding the final amount of Old Bay seasoning since some buttery spreads are quite salty.
How Can I Make it a Little Saucier?
Once the shrimp is cooked, remove it from the pan. Add about 1/2 cup white wine or chicken stock, turn the heat up to medium, and deglaze the pan as the liquid reduces a little. Taste, and season with more lemon or even a little dairy-free buttery spread, if desired.
Should I Mince the Garlic?
For this recipe, the garlic is just smashed and sauteed, but if you prefer, you can mince the garlic to have those little bits throughout. I prefer to cook over medium heat, not hotter, if using minced garlic. If you can, still use fresh garlic rather than jarred. It will infuse more flavor.
Can I Use a Different Size of Shrimp?
Yes, you can really use any size shrimp, or even langoustines (the original scampi). Just be sure to adjust the cook time accordingly. Smaller shrimp will cook much more quickly.
Special Diet Notes: Dairy-Free Shrimp Scampi
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, optionally grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, paleo, and keto-friendly.
- 3 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of a knife
- 2 pounds jumbo shrimp (about 24-count per pound), peeled and deveined
- 2½ to 3 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning (see Flavor Note below)
- Juice from 1 medium lemon (about 3 tablespoons) (see Flavor Note below)
- Fresh chopped parsley, to serve (optional)
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the garlic cloves and sauté for 1 minute. Add the shrimp and 2 teaspoons Old Bay, stirring to coat. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. Do not overcook; you want the shrimp to still have a snap.
- Turn off the heat, drizzle with lemon juice, and stir in the remaining ½ to 1 teaspoon Old Bay, to taste.
- Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired
Dinner Options: Cook 1½ cups dry white rice, brown rice, or quinoa or 12 to 16 ounces dry pasta for 6 servings. Add blanched asparagus or wilted spinach for complementary greens. Broccoli and bell peppers also go nicely.