Sweet & Spicy Shrimp Stir-Fry


I think we can all agree that Chinese takeout might just be the best takeout. The cardboard boxes with the wire handles! The chopsticks! The anticipation of opening the top! And then, the alluring garlicky aroma as the steam wafts up to tickle your nose.

But also: the sugar, the gluten, the soy, the peanut oil.

But also also: This recipe eliminates the sugar, the gluten, and the peanut oil of takeout, but keeps the (super easy!) velveting technique that guarantees that singular texture of a top-notch stir-fry. Loaded with fresh veggies and bright colors, this recipe is spicy-sweet and satisfying. That’s even better than takeout.

Sweet & Spicy Shrimp Stir-Fry

Serves 2 | Total time: 25 minutes | Whole30 compliant

  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos

  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or potato starch

  • 1 teaspoon unseasoned rice vinegar 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 pounds raw shrimp (any size)

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive or coconut oil

  • 1 pound green beans

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 10-12 ounces)

  • a few handfuls baby spinach

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce

  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

  • 2 teaspoons coconut sugar or honey (omit for Whole30)

  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • pinch cayenne pepper

  • garnish: toasted sesame seeds, sliced scallions


Velvet the shrimp. In a medium bowl, combine the coconut aminos, arrowroot, rice vinegar, and salt. Add the shrimp, mix well, cover, and let rest 15–20 minutes while you prep the other ingredients.


Prep the veggies. Peel the sweet potato and cut in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside. Wash and trim the green beans, then cut in half cross-wise. Set aside.


Prep the sauce. Purée all the sauce ingredients in a blender, food processor, or jar with a stick blender. Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer.


Cook the veggies. In a large, non-stick skillet or wok, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil, then add the sweet potatoes. Cover and steam until tender, 4-5 minutes. Remove the sweet potatoes to a large bowl. Add another 1/2 cup water to the pan, bring to a boil, then add the green beans. Cover and steam until tender, 4-5 minutes. Remove the beans from the pan and add to the bowl with the sweet potatoes.


Cook the shrimp. In the same skillet, dry out any remaining water and heat the oil. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook, undisturbed, 1–2 minutes. Stir and cook another 1–2 minutes, until turning opaque. Add the green beans and sweet potatoes to the pan and stir-fry until hot, then add the sauce and stir-fry until bubbly.


To serve, place baby spinach in the bottom of individual serving bowls, then top with the hot stir-fry.

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