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What To Serve With Shrimp Scampi – 15 Mouth-Watering Sides

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Shrimp scampi is an Italian-American classic that now appears on a huge number of restaurant and diner menus.

While this quick and easy dish is a firm favorite amongst many households, sometimes we all just fancy something a little bit different!

So, what are the best sides to serve with it? Shrimp scampi pairs well with fresh, delicate flavors that do not overpower the subtle blend of ingredients in this classic dish. Try swapping the traditional spaghetti pasta noodles for a crisp green salad, buttery asparagus, or creamy polenta.

Want to put a new spin on shrimp scampi at your next dinner party? Keep reading to find out what are the best flavors to pair with shrimp scampi, complete with our 15 best mouth-watering sides to pair with this seafood classic!

What Is Shrimp Scampi?

Shrimp scampi is a classic Italian-American dish, consisting of shrimp cooked in garlic, white wine, and oil or butter. It is often served with pasta, topped with lemon zest and parsley.

The term scampi is quite confusing when used in the context of this dish, and anyone who has visited the UK will know that scampi on the menu means you will get a plate of shrimp covered in crispy breadcrumbs! 

But in reality, the word scampi is more correctly used to refer to a small edible lobster, also known as a langoustine.

But because langoustines are quite hard to get hold of, the use of them in many dishes has been replaced by shrimp. 

Confused yet? That’s okay. Don’t get too hung up on what scampi means, as it is one of those terms that has been adopted around the world to mean different things.

But all that matters is that the Italian-American creation in question, shrimp scampi, is absolutely delicious!

And yes, it does not normally actually contain any scampi, but it more than makes up for it with the succulent, juicy prawns in a full-flavored sauce.

The joy of shrimp scampi is that it is super easy to prepare, requires just a few ingredients, and is ready to serve in a matter of minutes.

But if shrimp scampi is your signature dish, or you want to try it at your next dinner party, what do you serve with it? Let’s find out more!

What Flavors Work Well With Shrimp Scampi?

The ingredients in shrimp scampi create that perfect balance of fresh, rich, flavor, that is light and delicious. It tastes so good, most of us could eat it all by itself!

But if you’re looking for new sides to pair with your shrimp scampi, what flavors work well?

The best sides for shrimp scampi should not be too overpowering, helping them to allow the delicate ingredients to shine through.

This is why shrimp scampi is most commonly served on a bed of long pasta noodles, as the sauce will coat each strand of spaghetti or linguine, meaning you don’t miss a drop.

In terms of flavor, other types of pasta will also work with shrimp scampi, as will other sides such as rice or couscous.

But what if you fancy something different? Well, nothing goes quite as well with seafood as a fresh green salad. Add in some chunks of crusty freshly-baked bread to mop up the sauce, and you’re on to a winner!

It’s clear to see that there are plenty of sides that you can pair with shrimp scampi, but what if you’re looking for something a bit special? Let’s take a look at our top 15 side dishes to serve with shrimp scampi!

The Best Sides To Serve With Shrimp Scampi

Whether you’re looking for a way to turn shrimp scampi into a filling family dinner or an appetizer to serve with drinks, there are many more ways to serve this flavor-packed dish than just pasta!

Here are our top suggestions of dishes to serve with shrimp scampi:

1. Green Salad With Samphire & Herb Dressing

Green salad is crisp, fresh, and tastes absolutely delicious when paired with a freshly cooked shrimp scampi. However, you can take this to a whole new level by including samphire as well!

Samphire is a green succulent that is eaten as a salad leaf. It grows near saltwater sources, giving it a distinctive taste of the sea.

Samphire has a delicious texture and delicate flavor, both of which will complement your carefully prepared shrimp scampi and green salad perfectly. 

To top it all off, drizzle the salad with a fresh herb and yogurt dressing. This will cut through the lemon and garlic shrimp sauce, giving a creamy finish to the whole dish.

2. Patatas Bravas

Shrimp scampi bears a remarkable resemblance to one of the all-time classic Spanish tapas recipes – Gambas Al Ajillo, or prawns with garlic. So it makes sense to pair this delicious dish with another world-famous tapas dish – patatas bravas!

If you’re not familiar with patatas bravas – which translates as spicy potatoes – this dish is a must-have at any Spanish dinner party. It consists of cubed potatoes that are fried in oil, then coated in a spicy tomato sauce.

Serve your shrimp scampi and patatas bravas in small tapas dishes, alongside bowls of olives, garlic mushrooms, and crispy bruschetta. Voila – a quick and easy Spanish-themed dinner!

Check out another one of our favorite recipes below!

3. Butter-Fried Asparagus

If you’re serving your shrimp scampi the traditional way, on spaghetti pasta noodles, then some greens on the side can be the perfect way to bring some fresh flavor to your dish.

And when it comes to fresh greens, there is nothing quite as decadent as crisp asparagus, pan-fried in rich butter!

While asparagus tastes great no matter how it is cooked, somehow searing it in a griddle with a generous coating of butter takes this luxurious vegetable to a whole new level!

The delicately caramelized exterior of the asparagus lends a dimension of sweetness to the dish, pairing perfectly with the juicy, succulent shrimps.

Butter-fried asparagus can either be served as whole spears on the side of your pasta or sliced diagonally and scattered over the whole dish.

4. Shrimp Scampi Bruschetta

Shrimp scampi might be a great main course, but if you’re looking for something new then it makes a great starter or canape as well!

Simply toast thin slices of crusty bread, and top with finely diced fresh tomatoes and fresh basil leaves. Carefully balance your juicy shrimp on top, along with a light scattering of parmesan shavings.

Shrimp scampi bruschetta can be served either warm or cold, making them the perfect prepare-ahead snack to go with pre-dinner drinks.

Check out another one of our favorite recipes below!

5. Creamy Polenta With Spinach

Many people are a bit wary of polenta, and this versatile ingredient has a bit of an undeserved bad reputation! But, like couscous, polenta can easily be transformed from a tasteless ingredient into something incredible.

And with polenta, you need to go one of two ways – either toast it up into crisp patties or turn it into a rich and creamy side dish.

Blending polenta with earthy spinach and creamy, rich parmesan cheese transforms this basic ingredient into something delectable, that works perfectly with the light and delicate flavors of shrimp scampi.

Check out another one of our favorite recipes below!

6. Pan-Roasted Broccoli 

It is easy to underestimate the versatility of broccoli. Not only is this nutritious green vegetable incredibly good for us, but it also can be cooked in so many different ways that it works with just about anything.

When broccoli is pan-roasted, the inner stem retains essential crispness, while the delicate florets take on a great caramelized flavor.

When served with shrimp scampi, these florets soak up every last drop of juice, ensuring that every bite is a taste sensation.

For an interesting twist on this side dish, try adding some red chili flakes, garlic, and sesame seeds.

7. Gnocchi With Green Beans & Parsley

Gnocchi is another much-maligned ingredient, often reported to be tasteless and bland. But when it comes to the best sides for shrimp scampi, less is often more!

We don’t want a side dish that overshadows the delicate flavors of our seafood dish, and for this, gnocchi is just perfect.

The other great advantage to gnocchi is that it is the ideal partner for any butter or oil-based sauces. Your shrimp scampi will truly have the opportunity to shine here, with each delicate ball of gnocchi coated in the rich and flavorsome sauce.

To counterbalance the richness of this dish, add in some fresh steamed green beans and finely chopped parsley. 

8. Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice is a low-carb alternative to normal rice, with a delicate nutty flavor that tastes incredible with shrimp scampi.

It is also surprisingly filling, so can be used instead of pasta noodles to turn shrimp scampi into a satisfying yet healthy family dinner.

If you’ve never made it before, don’t be daunted by cauliflower rice. This dish is super easy to prepare – simply cut the cauliflower into chunks, and blitz it in a food processor until it resembles rice.

This can then be gently sauteed in olive oil, along with finely chopped scallions, a squeeze of lime juice, and plenty of salt and pepper.

9. Quinoa & Carrot Salad

While the quinoa craze might be starting to wane, we have to admit that this tiny seed has been a life-changer when it comes to wholesome and filling salads.

Gone are the days when salads were a side dish – thanks to the addition of grains, pulses, and seeds such as quinoa, a salad can now become the main event!

Quinoa has a great fresh flavor with a hint of nuttiness. When mixed with grated carrot, tahini, and fresh lemon juice, it becomes zingy, flavor-packed, and absolutely delicious.

Check out another one of our favorite recipes below!

10. Mediterranean Butter Rice

As shrimp scampi has Italian-American origins, we thought it would be a good idea to pay homage to the roots of this classic dish by pairing it with another Mediterranean side.

This flavorsome rice dish is cooked in vegetable or chicken stock, along with plenty of butter.

This gives a rich and decadent flavor to the rice, turning plain old basmati rice into something truly amazing. When paired with shrimp scampi, the buttery juices mingle together, creating a decadent taste sensation.

If this all sounds a bit too rich for you, counterbalance the flavor with some freshly chopped parsley.

Check out another one of our favorite recipes below!

11. Zucchini Noodles With Summer Vegetables

Shrimp scampi served with spaghetti noodles is an all-time classic that never fails to please. But, let’s face it, pasta is not always our best friend!

If you are trying to cut down on calories or reduce your carb intake, switching the pasta noodles for strands of zucchini is a quick and easy swap for a healthier dinner option.

Zucchini noodles – or zoodles – are easy to make with a spiralizer, and taste great too. Add in some fresh summer vegetables for extra flavors, such as corn, fresh tomatoes, and roasted red peppers.

12. Roasted Parmesan New Potatoes With Mediterranean Herbs

Staying on the Mediterranean theme, these crisp, cheesy potatoes are a fabulous partner for shrimp scampi.

The fluffy interior is perfect for soaking up all those delicious seafood juices, while the herby, cheese-coated exterior gives a luxurious contrasting flavor.

To make roasted parmesan potatoes, slice some new potatoes in half and toss them in olive oil and salt.

Roast them in the oven until crisp and golden, then scatter over some flaked parmesan and finely chopped Mediterranean herbs. Thyme and oregano work really well here, but any leafy green herb can be used.

Leave the dish for a few moments to allow the cheese to melt, then gently shake it to distribute the toppings evenly. Serve alongside shrimp scampi, with some freshly steamed green vegetables.

13. Avocado Rice

Step aside cauliflower rice, as here is the new kid on the block – avocado rice!

While avocado cannot be used as a substitute for rice, stirring creamy avocado through freshly steamed rice creates a rich and decadent dish that would work perfectly with shrimp scampi.

This dish works best with brown rice, as it is robust enough to stand up to the thick, creamy avocado flesh. A squeeze of lime juice will help to bring a level of freshness to the dish.

Check out another one of our favorite recipes below!

14. Lemon And Spinach Orzotto

So, in case we haven’t made it clear by now, two flavors are great with shrimp scampi – lemon juice, and fresh green vegetables.

Using them in a classic orzotto recipe is an ideal accompaniment to your favorite quick and easy seafood dish.

But what exactly is orzotto? Orzotto is very similar to risotto but made with pearl barley instead of rice.

Pearl barley is a great alternative source of carbohydrates, with a great nutty flavor that is perfect with the garlicky freshness of shrimp scampi.

Check out another one of our favorite recipes below!

15. Fusilli Lunghi Pasta Noodles

It wouldn’t seem right to do a comprehensive review of the best sides for shrimp scampi, without talking about pasta noodles!

And while the classic pairings are usually spaghetti or linguine, we thought we’d take the opportunity to encourage you to try something new.

Fusilli Lunghi pasta noodles are long pasta shapes, but instead of being straight, the strands are formed into a distinctive corkscrew spiral shape.

This gives each and every strand the capacity to soak up the maximum amount of sauce, as well as retain fragments of finely chopped herbs and flavorings.

The succulent shrimps will become entangled within the pasta, meaning every mouthful is packed with flavor.

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