Harissa Shrimp and ‘Noodles’ (Gluten free, Paleo, Whole30)

When you have limited options, your brain tries to make the best out of those.  Something like that is what happened with this recipe.  If you are on a grain free diet, you must have definitely come across spaghetti squash.  If not, you are in the right place. I will show you how to cook spaghetti squash the easiest way and I will also show you how to make this fancy schmancy noodle dish! The flavors in this dish are so amazing!

So I got spaghetti squash from the grocers last week and cooked it in my Instant Pot. Yes, that’s the easiest way to cook spaghetti squash I think! I divided the spaghetti ‘noodles’ into 4 ziplock bags and kept them in the refrigerator. If you are not planning to use them within a week, you should freeze them. As for me, I made stir fries with it a couple times – asian style, adding some ginger, garlic and coconut aminos and some chicken or shrimp for protein. Easy peasy!

Then a couple days ago for lunch, I was again going to do something like that when I saw an Instagram post for a spicy shrimp recipe. Now that got me excited. You see that’s my Indian genes… I can’t help it! 🙂 The thought of spicy shrimp had me drooling and then somehow my brain reminded me of my ‘harissa shrimp‘, where I marinate shrimp in a harissa marinade and grill them.  More drooling!

So that’s how this recipe was born. Nothing too complicated. I just quickly threw in some red chillies along with some garlic and cumin into the food processor to come up with the ‘harissa’ paste.  (I reduced the quantity of red chillies considerably from the authentic harissa recipe since I try to limit the amount of heat in my diet) So this modified harissa paste is a ‘toned down’ version of harissa where the heat is less but the flavors are still there! Ok so the shrimp got a nice, generous coating of this paste and then were quickly pan fried.  Into the same oil, I added a bit more of harissa and stir fried some veggies – cauliflower and broccoli. Finally added the spaghetti squash (aka noodles) and voila! Harissa shrimp and noodles ready!  The plate was wiped clean in 5 mins! The spaghetti squash noodles were so so tasty with the shrimp and harissa flavors infused into them! Yum!

To see how to cook spaghetti squash in an Instant Pot, read  this excellent post by Nom Nom Paleo.  Basically, I cut the spaghetti squash in half cross-wise.  Placed them in the insert pot on top of the steamer rack and then pressure cooked for 7 mins.  Then released the pressure quickly to prevent overcooking.  This method gives out perfectly textured ‘noodles’!

Harissa Shrimp and ‘noodles’ (Gluten free, Paleo, Whole30)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 1-2

A tasty, flavorful and spicy dish of shrimp and spaghetti squash noodles using a North African spicy marinade called as 'Harissa'


    For the harissa paste:
  • 1 Kashmiri dry red chilli, soaked in hot water
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds (Ajwain)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    For the shrimp stir fry:
  • 10-12 medium shrimp, deveined and de-shelled
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
    For the noodle stir fry:
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup cauliflower and broccoli florets
  • 2 cups cooked spaghetti squash 'noodles'


  1. For making the harissa paste, in a food processor jar add the red chill along with 2 tbsp of the soaked water and all the other ingredients listed under 'for the harissa marinade'. Blend into a fine paste.
  2. Take the shrimp in a mixing bowl and add about 2 tbsp of the harissa paste to it. (You can add more or less depending upon your preference). Let sit for 5 mins.
  3. Meanwhile heat a frying pan and add the 2 tbsp coconut oil to it. When hot, add the marinated shrimp to it and cook for about 2 mins on medium heat and then flip and cook for 1 more min. Transfer shrimp to a dish.
  4. To the same pan(which will have the harissa from the shrimp), add the 1 tbsp coconut oil and add about 1 tsp more of the harissa paste and then add the cauliflower and broccoli florets. Stir fry to mix and cover and cook on medium heat for 3-4 mins or until the veggies are cooked through. Finally add the spaghetti squash noodles and the shrimp and do a quick stir / mix to coat the noodles with the spicy oil. Turn heat off and transfer to a plate. Enjoy hot!


The harissa paste I made for this recipe is a little different from the authentic North African recipe. You can check out my Harissa Grilled Shrimp recipe for the authentic Harissa recipe. You may have extra harissa paste remaining depending upon how much you use in this recipe. You can store the extra paste in the refrigerator for up to a month.



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