Gambas Al Ajillo

Gambas Al Ajillo with Zoodles

This classic Spanish tapas dish is traditionally served sizzling hot with crusty bread for dipping in oil, but here, we're swapping the bread for zucchini noodles and turning it into a complete meal, instead of an appetizer! 

Gambas Al Ajillo

I love tapas and one of my go-to dishes to order when I’m having tapas at a restaurant is Gambas al Ajillo, a garlicky shrimp that’s traditionally given with bread to dip into the oil and garlic that’s at the bottom of the vessel it’s served in.

Gambas Al Ajillo

The cooked shrimp in the oil, garlic, lemon, parsley, and sherry is divinely tasty, but the best part is dipping that crusty bread in the sauce at the bottom of the dish. Here, we’re replacing bread with zucchini noodles to turn this into a pasta dish and now, the zucchini soaks up the sauce in the bottom of the pan for a sensationally delicious meal.

If you love garlic and zest, you’ll love this meal. I wanted to keep this as true to Gambas al Ajillo as possible, but you could amp this up a notch by adding some chorizo and lima beans.

Gambas Al Ajillo

This could even be served as an appetizer or tapas, if served in small portions- it’s light enough to be an appetizer.

You’re going to love this spiralized spin on tapas! And let me know what your favorite tapas is and I’ll transform it into something #inspiralized!

Gambas Al Ajillo

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced garlic
  • 1 small dried hot red chile seeded and minced
  • 1.5 pounds shelled and deveined large shrimp tails on
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ½ cup minced parsley
  • 2 zucchinis Blade D, noodles trimmed


  • Heat the oil and garlic in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the garlic is fragrant and just browning, about 7 minutes. Add the dried chile and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  • As the garlic cooks in the oil, season the shrimp with salt. Set aside.
  • Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes, flip, and cook another 2 minutes. Stir in the sherry, lemon zest, parsley, and season again with salt. Using tongs, transfer the shrimp to a bowl and add the zucchini noodles to the skillet. Raise the heat on the skillet and toss until cooked to your preference, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the shrimp back, and serve.

with love, Ali

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Recipe Rating


  • Looking forward to making this. What do you recommend as a non-alcoholic substitute for sherry?
    • White vinegar works or any other substitute you prefer - there are a few!
  • Is the olive oil measurement correct?
    • Great catch! It's actually 1/4 cup olive oil - thank you so much for letting us know.