Garden To Table Cheese Boards, Grazing & Entertaining

Fra Diavolo Seafood Stew

This Fra Diavolo Seafood Stew is one of my favorites. It’s so delicious, filling, and satisfying, while also being very easy and customizable. The thick and spicy tomato broth has an underlying sweetness from fennel and richness from parmesan cheese which slowly simmers the mounds of seafood, infusing it all. The best part? This seafood stew can be what you want it to be… a simple and quick weeknight meal (30 minutes) or a decadent and impressive meal for guests. Let me show you…

Fra Diavolo Seafood Stew in a white bowl on an Italian linen black and natural linen tablecloth.

The Inspiration…

Seafood soups and stews are a favorite of mine. I have been a pescatarian for… I don’t even know how long at this point, 15 years? Seafood has always been a love of mine, but when I removed meat from my diet, seafood definitely took on a bigger role. Seafood stews are such a great meal. They are (in most cases) very nutritious, high in protein, low in carbs, and deeply satisfying. They can be found in nearly every cuisine… in this case Italian. The inspiration for this Fra Diavolo Seafood Stew came from dishes from two of my favorite restaurants.

#1: Street And Co.

The first is Street and Co. in the Old Port in Portland, Maine. I went to college in Maine and I try to go back once a year to get my dose of that rough, austere coast, jump into the cold North Atlantic sea, and eat lobster and blueberries with abandon. I make it a point to treat myself to dinner at Street and Co. while I am there. They are a Mediterranean, bistro-style seafood restaurant on a cobblestone street in the heart of the Old Port. The inviting modern, rustic design, and inspired seasonal menus at this restaurant are heaven to me and there is always something new or unusual to try.

I have visited here on a few solo trips and eaten at the bar. Made of concrete, it is also a working raw bar and is the best place to eat and get a behind-the-scenes view. Here, I have tried many new things. I ordered my first whole fish and was taught how to remove the bones and the best way to eat it. But to get to the point… at Street and Co. they have a phenomenal Lobster Diavolo dish for two which comes to the table in a copper skillet, brimming with lobster and seafood and linguine. This was my first experience with Fra Diavolo and I have been devoted ever since.

#2: Trattoria Delia

The second source of inspiration is from Trattoria Delia here in Burlington, Vermont. It has been a pinnacle of the local food scene in Burlington for years, creating deeply satisfying, authentic Italian food. It is a treat to visit, especially in the winter months, and sit by the crackling fire. Here, I fell in love with their seafood stew, a large bowl filled with a mix of seafood in a rich tomato broth scented with fennel and herbs. So satisfying and so delicious.

For this recipe, the two of these meet. The heat from the Fra Diavolo mingles with a rich fennel scented broth. I have created this as a thick stew. I don’t eat traditional pasta (being on a low carb, Keto diet,) but for those pasta lovers and people in your life who aren’t on a low carb diet: I sometimes make pasta on the side which can be added to the bowl before you add the stew on top. Everyone’s happy. But to be honest this stew is so satisfying and filling that you don’t need it.

The Ingredients…

This stew is simple to make from simple ingredients. The base for the stew combines tomatoes, fresh fennel, onion, garlic, crushed red pepper, parmesan cheese, and a mix of fresh basil and parsley. It is quick and easy to make at any time of the year.

Next is the seafood. Here is where the flexibility and customization comes in. Here, I used a mix of shrimp, lobster tails, mussels, and tilapia. I always have tilapia on hand, but other firmer white fishes will work, like snapper. The great thing about this recipe is that you can make it what you want it to be.

Looking for a quick weeknight meal? You can pare it down to just shrimp and fish. Looking for a showstopping dinner? Do it up with your seafood choices. Anything goes really. Calamari and clams are great additions too.

You can mix and match your seafood with no real effect on the carbs in this dish, they all have relatively few, with the exception of the mussels. Two medium mussels equal about one gram of carbs. The nutritional information for this recipe factors in 5 mussels per person which adds about a quarter of the carbs in the recipe. The other seafood has no effect on the carbs. So if you are following a low carb diet you will want to keep your eye on them.

The Steps…

First, let’s make the base for the stew. This is a quick and easy to prepare. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for a minute. While that is cooking, add the onion to a food processor and puree. Add this to the pan and cook for four minutes.

Slice the fennel into 1/2 inch slices and cut them in half, add these to the pot and stir. Then add the can of crushed tomatoes and stir. Next is the fun part. Take the whole tomatoes from the can and (with clean hands) squish them and add them to the pot with their juices. Be careful, the juices can fly! Then add the sugar (sugar replacement), salt, and pepper and simmer on medium-low for about 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, add the parmesan cheese and fresh herbs and stir. At this point, taste the stew to make sure that it has the right amount of sweetness and salt for you. If so, add the clam juice and stir.

Now we are ready to add the seafood. Stir in the shrimp and mussels. Place the rest of the fish on top of the stew, cover, and simmer until the shellfish opens and the fish and shrimp are firm and opaque. This will be about 5 minutes more.

That’s it, it’s ready to serve! Ladle the seafood and stew into bowls and top with parmesan and fresh herbs… and a healthy grind of some fresh black pepper.

The Results…

This Fra Diavolo Seafood Stew is one of my go to recipes all year long. This big bowl of spicy, fennel-scented seafood in a rich tomato broth always hits the spot. It is deeply satisfying.

And it’s nutritious! This protein-rich, hearty stew, is brimming with vitamins and minerals – Vitamin K, the B Vitamins, and Zinc to name a few. This stew makes an excellent easy and indulgent meal which is low in carbs and high in protein and flavor – perfect for anyone – especially those on a Keto or low carb diet. Need more fat for your macros? Pair it with cheese and olives!

If you make this Fra Diavolo Seafood Stew be sure to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you. And if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see!

A close up of Fra Diavolo Seafood Stew in a white bowl on an Italian linen black and natural linen tablecloth.

How To Make: Fra Diavolo Seafood Stew



Adjust Servings
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
6 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
1 Medium Yellow Onion
1 Bulb Fennel
14 Ounce Can Of Crushed Tomatoes
14 Ounce Can Of Whole Peeled Tomatoes
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/4 Tsp. Fresh Ground Black Pepper
4 Tsp. Sugar Or Sugar Replacement
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 Cup Fresh Chopped Parsley
1/4 Cup Fresh Chopped Basil
8 Ounces Clam Juice
Assorted Seafood - Here I Used:
20 Shrimp, With Tails On
20 Mussels, Cleaned And Scrubbed
3 Filets Tilapia
4 Lobster Tails
Nutritional Information
9.1 Grams Net Carbs
63.4 Grams Protein
20.5 Grams Fat
482 Calories


Heat the olive oil.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Mark as complete
Add the garlic and the crushed red pepper.
Add the garlic and the crushed red pepper to the pot. Stir to combine and cook in the oil for a minute, until the garlic is fragrant.
Mark as complete
Puree the onion and add it to the pan.
Puree the onion in a food processor and add it to the pan, stir to combine with the garlic and crushed red pepper. Cook for 4 minutes.
Mark as complete
Add the fennel.
Slice the fennel bulbs into 1/2 inch slices and add them to the pan. Stir to coat them.
Mark as complete
Add the crushed tomatoes.
Add the can of crushed tomatoes to the pan and stir to combine.
Mark as complete
Add the whole tomatoes.
Add the whole tomatoes by hand, crushing them with your hands as you add them to the pot (juice and all.)
Mark as complete
Add the sugar, salt, and pepper.
Stir to combine.
Mark as complete
Reduce the heat and simmer.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.
Mark as complete
Stir in the parmesan and herbs.
Add the grated parmesan and chopped parsley and basil and stir to combine.
Mark as complete
Taste test for sugar and salt.
Taste to make sure that the sugar and salt are to your liking. Add more if necessary.
Mark as complete
Add the clam juice.
Add the 8 Ounces of clam juice and stir.
Mark as complete
Add the seafood and cook.
Add the shrimp and mussels to the pan and stir to submerge. Lay the rest of the seafood in the pan. Cover and cook until the fish and shrimp are opaque, about 5 more minutes.
Mark as complete
Ladle into bowls and then top with parmesan, fresh basil, and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.
Mark as complete


  • Joanna Revers

    Hi Tammy, Oh my goodness, thank you so much for pointing that out! I had added it to the post but not the recipe. I have updated it now. The recipe uses one fresh fennel bulb, cut into 1/2 inch slices. These are added just after the onion has cooked for 4 minutes, and right before the tomatoes are added. I love it because it adds a little sweetness and depth. If you make this let me know what you think! And again, thank you for letting me know, I really appreciate it.

  • Tammy

    There is no fennel listed in the ingredients or directions. How much should be added?

  • Joanna Revers

    Hi Margaret, I’m so glad you liked it! It is one of my favorites, especially because it is so simple and quick. Thank you so much for commenting and letting me know. It made my day!

  • Margaret polino

    I made this tonight and it was great. I didn’t change a thing I followed the recipe and it was so easy. The whole pot is gone. Thank you so much.

  • Cara Wahlgren

    This looks delicious and based on the description I knew I wanted to make it but where is the fennel?

    • Joanna Revers

      Hi Cara, Thanks for asking! The fresh fennel is added in the beginning. Start with the olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper, cook for a minute. Then add the onion puree, cook for about 4 minutes. Then add the chopped fennel. After that you are ready to add the tomatoes. Let me know if you have any questions – and let me know if you try it!

  • Peter Revers

    Hi Jo- sounds fabulous – next time we come up for lunch to Burlington can we go to Trattoria Delia and try this – or can you make this for us?

    • Joanna Revers

      Thanks Dad! Of course – I’ll never say no to Trattoria Delia!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *