Zoodles with a cilantro-avocado and sunflower seeds unctuous pesto topped with lightly spiced garlic-paprika shrimps. A great way to cut on carbs and fit right in that bikini this summer!cilantro Zoodles Pin

Creamy Cilantro Zoodles with paprika shrimps (5)

Zoodles, zoodles, zoodles… Quite a “hit” from last summer, not yet out of the spectrum of trends this summer… so let’s make good use of it! I’m looking for ways to cut on carbs those days and zoodles are a great way to imitate a plate of pasta without all the empty calories! If you don’t have a special instrument to make zoodles, no worry! Simply use the large hole cheese grater!

I’ve the zoodles ultra creamy with the help of an avocado based pesto and gave it a fresh touch of cilantro. If you are one of those “soap” tasting guys when you eat cilantro, just substitute it by some basil. Plus, since the carbs are out the window, the avocado will help make the dish a satisfying and unctuous one with it’s fat content. Don’t worry it’s a good “kind” of fat!

What is pesto exactly?

Creamy Cilantro Zoodles with paprika shrimpsWell I did not know if I could call this sauce a “pesto”, so I went on to check my good friend Wikipedia and got my answer. Pesto is technically a paste that is made by pounding, in other words, done in a mortar. I didn’t use a mortar, since I’m fairly lazy when it’s too hot in the kitchen to cook, but most people nowadays makes their pesto with the blender which … is the modern way to make pesto…. so I’ve used it for this “modern pesto”. The idea came from another Zoodle recipe I’ve made last year (Pesto-Avocado Zoodles) which was dreamy creamy, the perfect dish for a hot summer day. This time I wanted to use a different set of ingredients yet still similar to Genovese pesto. I’ve change the basil for cilantro, the pine nuts for sunflower seeds, the garlic for a fresh green pepper and to keep it vivid green and fresh a touch of lime. I wanted to use shrimps with the Zoodles to add proteins in there so I thought this Cilantro “creamy sweet pesto” would fit perfectly to the spiced shrimps.

Paprika’s many faces

Here, in Spain, there are many types of paprikas… the smoked, the spicy, the bittersweet and the sweet… Each done with different peppers and methods which gives them their own attributes, giving different directions to a dish. Although where I’m from, Canada, and am sure many other places. The markets often just have one or two type of “paprika”, you can generally find  a “smoked paprika” and then the general “paprika”. For this recipe, I wanted some of that “spicy” paprika for the shrimps, to complement the sweet cream pesto underneath so hopefully your version at home is the “spicy” kind. If not, add a sprinkle of espelette pepper or cayenne powder in there. We wouldn’t want to make this a “too sweet” dish and miss that nice dynamic duo that is spicy and sweet!

So let’s make zoodles!


Creamy Cilantro Zoodles with Paprika Shrimps

Makes 4 portions |Preparation: 15 minutes | Difficulty: easy

Creamy Cilantro Zoodles with paprika shrimpsIngredients
  • 6 zucchinis
  • shrimps (amount up to you)
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • paprika (spicy)
  • 40ml (1 shot) brandy  
  • salt and pepper
Cilantro Pesto
  • 50g of sunflower seeds
  • 2 full hands of fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 lime (juice)
  • 1/4 of a green bell pepper
  • 1 small avocado
  • salt and pepper
  1. Start by making the zoodles with the zucchinis, add them to a sieve with a sprinkle of salt
  2. In a blender mix all the ingredients for the cilantro pesto and reserve
  3. In a small pan, high heat, cook the shrimps with the vodka, garlic, paprika and salt and let them cook until the liquid is out (2 minutes)
  4. Rinse the pan and cook, high heat, the zoodles in a bit of olive oil for 1 minute, just enough to warm them up
  5. Add the pesto to the zoodles and mix
  6. Serve the shrimps on top of the zoodles with a lime wedge



Creamy Cilantro Zoodles with paprika shrimps


  1. I love the fact that your pesto has some avocado in there too. It must help to make it super creamy and delicious!

  2. howimetmydinner Reply

    This looks insanely delicious! And what a great way to get some veggies into your life. Mmm!

  3. these zucchini noodles look amazing and that cilantro pesto really does look creamy. I am such a big cilantro fan, so happy to see others using it 🙂

  4. ooo, give me avocado all the ways! And also all of the paprikas. I think I have four kinds at home right now myself, and I love the spicy sweet combo you have developed hare!

  5. Well this is the perfect summer dish. I love my spiralizer…and zoodles are the best. This is the perfect side for grilling season..and would feed a crowd with east.

  6. This looks so yummy, perfect for the hot summer months (I love a dish where the oven doesn’t need to be on!) And that pesto is def going to be in my recipe box, good for so many different dishes YUM

  7. Danielle Cushing Reply

    I’ve never made homemade pesto before! It looks so fresh.

  8. I think that pestos have come a long way. Just because we don’t use a mortar, doesn’t make it any less pesto. Mortar & pestles were used before the advent of the food processor 😉 The recipe looks delicious and such great ingredients in there!

  9. Perfect summer dish. I love the combination of cilantro and avocado period zoodles have been pretty popular on our table over the past few months. Thanks for sharing

  10. Derek @ Dad With A Pan Reply

    Wow that pesto you made looks so good! I used to be weird about zoodles, but they’re one of my favorite things to eat when I’m feeling in the mood for a light meal!

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