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Coconut Shrimp Curry (Paleo + Whole30 Friendly!)

Creamy Coconut Shrimp Curry – This easy shrimp curry recipe has a gorgeous coconut curry sauce and colorful veggies that make it extra special. (Gluten-Free, Paleo + Whole30 Friendly) 

Overhead view of a bowl of paleo coconut shrimp curry with jasmine rice on a white background

I grew up with a mom who tried all sorts of new dishes. We had a *few* standbys that made an appearance every month or two (pasta, soups, my mom’s chili, etc.) but I always felt like she constantly mixed new things into the rotation. As a mom myself, I’m really impressed by all the different dishes my mom exposed us to in a time when she was on a tight budget, there wasn’t as much readily available in the grocery stores, and it was the era of casseroles and pre-made dinners.

One of those things was shrimp curry. My mom’s recipe was a semi-homemade version that I remember thinking was just amazing. And these days, when I get the craving, I know just how to treat myself! My shrimp curry recipe is a nod back to my mom’s, with a few additions I absolutely love.

This creamy coconut shrimp curry is AWESOME. The sauce is luscious and silky, without feeling too heavy, and the color from the peppers and fresh herbs keep things colorful and bright. Plus, the whole thing is usually done in the time it takes me to cook rice (including peeling and de-veining shrimp!).

Here’s what you need to get started…

Close up view of a pan of coconut shrimp curry in sauce with veggies

HERE’S WHAT GOES INTO MY COCONUT SHRIMP CURRY RECIPE:

SHRIMP. I almost always buy frozen shrimp since we live in the middle of a desert (aka The Land of No Freshly Caught Shrimp). Thrive Market is a great source for sustainably caught shrimp delivered right to your door. Plus, it’s already peeled + deveined! (Get 25% off your first order with this link!)

COLORFUL BELL PEPPERS + GREEN ONION. I love adding color with veggies, so I use a mix of 1/2 red and 1/2 yellow bell peppers, plus green onions. You can totally use all of one color bell pepper (I suggest red) if that’s easier for you. I use leftover peppers in salads, cauliflower fried rice, breakfast bakes, chili, or for snacking.

AROMATICS. Ginger and garlic add loads of lovely flavor to the curry. I keep things simple by using frozen garlic + frozen ginger. It’s such a time-saver and tastes just as vibrant as fresh. (Plus, there’s no discovering later that it’s gone bad!)

MY INCREDIBLE CURRY SAUCE. If I do say so myself, this is a seriously mouthwatering curry sauce recipe. Made from pantry staples like peanut butter or cashew butter, tamari or coconut aminos, yellow curry powder, and coconut milk, it’s velvety smooth and full of flavor.

FRESH HERBS. Then, you add in even another layer of flavor with some fresh herbs. I like a mix of cilantro + basil, but you can use all of one or mix and match with some fresh mint if you like!

FUN GARNISHES TO FINISH. Lastly, for serving, you can top this with any little add-ons or goodies you like. Some of my favorites are crushed peanuts or cashews, red pepper flakes, lime wedges, or toasted coconut.

Overhead view of a bowl of paleo coconut shrimp curry with colorful veggies, crushed peanuts, and a fresh lime wedge

MIX IT UP! HERE ARE A FEW DELICIOUS WAYS TO PLAY WITH THIS SHRIMP CURRY RECIPE:

ADD MORE VEGGIES! This shrimp curry recipe is just BEGGING to be played with, and my favorite variation is adding more veggies. Depending on your dietary needs, you can try…

  • Adding 1 cup or so of snow peas or sliced zucchini along with the bell peppers
  • Stirring in 1 cup frozen peas right at the end (they only need a minute to heat through!)
  • Mixing in 1-2 cups of spinach when you add the sauce. It’ll wilt down to practically nothing.

GO CREAMIER. For an even silkier sauce, you can swap in coconut cream for the coconut milk I usually use. It’s higher in fat and calories, which can be great for keto friends, powering up after a workout, or when you need some extra sticking power to stay full.

GET SPICY. I’d put this shrimp curry in the mild-medium range for spice as written, but you can easily kick up the heat by adding a pinch or two of red pepper flakes to the sauce or looking for a yellow curry powder labeled “hot” or “spicy.”

Setting down a bowl of coconut shrimp curry on a white background

FAQ + TIPS AND TRICKS FOR THE BEST SHRIMP CURRY:

PALEO & WHOLE30 APPROVED NOTES. The shrimp curry itself is paleo and whole30 approved when you make it using compliant ingredients (compliant coconut milk, cashew butter, and coconut aminos). You can eat it alone or serve it over cauliflower rice or sautéed veggies. If I’m not serving it over rice, I usually just add a few more veggies to the sauce (like a small zucchini, spinach, or snow peas).

HOW TO PEEL + DEVEIN SHRIMP. If you’ve never done it before, peeling and deveining shrimp might seem intimidating. It’s really much easier than it sounds! Here’s a quick tutorial to get you started. (I love buying already peeled + deveined to save time!)

NOT INTO SHRIMP? No problem! Just use 1 pound of chicken breast or chicken thighs cut into 1″ pieces. Cook them in place of the shrimp. Or, you can add some carrots and zucchini for a vegan version.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH SHRIMP CURRY:

  • Thai Cucumber Salad (The crisp, cool cucumbers are a perfect refreshing pairing with the hearty curry)
  • Green Veggies. Since the sauce has so much going on with the yellow + red family, I love adding more green to my plate. Feel free to serve a simple green veggie, like steamed or roasted broccoli, snow peas, or steamed frozen peas. You don’t need anything too intense since the curry has so much flavor!
  • Rice or Coconut Rice. To help soak up all that lovely curry sauce, I love serving rice or coconut rice with my shrimp curry. It’s delicious!
  • Cauliflower Rice. Or, if you’re eating grain-free, cauliflower rice is delicious! Sometimes I like using cilantro-lime cauliflower rice to add even more flavor.

Close up overhead view of a bowl of coconut shrimp curry with chili flakes, crushed nuts, and a fresh lime wedge

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Setting down a bowl of coconut shrimp curry on a white background

Coconut Shrimp Curry


  • Author: One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4-5 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This shrimp curry recipe has the most AMAZING creamy coconut sauce. It’s so good, you’ll want to eat it by the spoonful! (PS – See notes for paleo/whole30.)


Ingredients

Scale

FOR THE COCONUT CURRY SAUCE:

  • 2 Tbsp. peanut butter or cashew butter*
  • 1 Tbsp gluten-free tamari, coconut aminos,* or soy sauce
  • 2 tsp yellow curry powder
  • 1 (14oz) can full-fat coconut milk*

FOR THE SHRIMP CURRY:

  • 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil. (plus more, if needed)
  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1” squares
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1” squares
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 34 Tbsp fresh cilantro, minced
  • 23 Tbsp fresh basil, minced
  • salt, to taste

TO SERVE (OPTIONAL):

  • Additional fresh herbs (cilantro or basil)
  • Red chili flakes
  • Toasted coconut
  • Crushed cashews or peanuts

Instructions

  1. First, combine sauce ingredients in a bowl or liquid measuring cup. Stir together peanut or cashew butter, tamari or coconut aminos, curry powder, and coconut milk. Whisk or stir until smooth and set aside.
  2. Melt coconut oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
  3. Working in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan, sauté the shrimp about 2 minutes per side, until pink and cooked through. Remove cooked shrimp to a clean bowl or plate and repeat with the remaining of the shrimp.
  4. Add bell peppers and green onion to the pan and sauté 2-3 minutes, or until crisp-tender.
  5. Add ginger and garlic and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
  6. Pour sauce into the pan over the veggies. Return the shrimp to the pan and add fresh herbs. Stir to combine and bring the sauce to a simmer. (As soon as it starts bubbling, it’s done!)
  7. To serve, garnish with additional fresh herbs, chili flakes, nuts, or coconut as desired.

Notes

*PALEO & WHOLE30 NOTES. For Paleo + Whole30, use compliant cashew butter, coconut aminos, and coconut milk. If you’re using a coconut milk without any gums, you may want to stir in 1/2-1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder to the sauce to help it thicken and combine. It’ll thicken when it comes to a simmer.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Thai

Keywords: shrimp curry, coconut shrimp curry, paleo shrimp curry, whole30 shrimp curry, healthy shrimp curry, shrimp curry recipe, thai shrimp curry

24 Comments

  1. Yum! We have left over shrimp in the freezer that we wound up not using for my mother’s day dinner last night, so we’re definitely going to have to give this a try next week!

  2. Holy. cow. I just made this tonight with chicken apple sausage instead of shrimp because that’s what I had, and oh my delicious! This is my go to curry recipe from now on! THANK YOU!

  3. Do you put the shrimp back in the pan after you cook it. I’m a little confused because it said cook two batches then put aside. Wondering if you should add while cooking other ingredients

    1. Heather – Ack! You’re completely right! I forgot to write that into the recipe. My mistake! I’ve corrected it now, but you stir the cooked shrimp back into the sauce when you add the fresh herbs at the end. I’m so sorry for the confusion!

  4. I made this last night (whole30 version) for a non-paleo friend. I added some zucchini to bump up the veggies too. Served with a quick and easy side of coconut cauliflower rice and it was perfection!!

  5. Made this tonight, it was really good! I will make it again!! I used almond butter instead of cashew, because that’s hat I had.. it was still awesome!

  6. This recipe was SO good. We are on day 16 of Whole30 and I was getting discouraged by the meals we’ve been having. This one turned it all around for me. It was so good and flavorful. We will keep this in our rotation beyond doing Whole30. It definitely filled my Thai food craving. We served it over cauliflower rice and it even made that taste good – which is hard to do in my opinion.

    1. Angie – That’s SO GREAT to hear!!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! (And I know what you mean! Cauliflower rice isn’t my favorite on its own 😉 )

  7. Confession: I drank the leftover sauce that wouldn’t fit in the storage container! Delicious!

  8. Whipped this up because I had all ingredients on-hand and it was AMAZING. My picky boyfriend is already asking for me to make it again. It was restaurant quality!!

    1. Fresh/frozen will always give you the best flavor, but you can probably get by with powdered in a pinch. I’d start small since powdered ginger is much more potent–1/4-1/2 tsp. would probably be a good place to start 🙂

  9. Just made this tonight! It was delicious and beautiful. I thickened up the sauce with a little arrowroot flour because I used cauli-rice instead of regular rice. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review! I appreciate it so much. So glad you loved the curry as much as we do!

    1. Kathryn – I’m sorry it wasn’t a win for you. You may prefer to use hot Madras curry, or add jalapeño or a red Thai chili next time to increase the heat 🙂

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