Summertime is best with an abundance of seafood and herbs, especially basil. It’s the best time to call on our elegant pesto shrimp pasta recipe. The sautéed shrimp and crunchy vegetables are tossed in buttery pesto sauce for a quick yet tasty meal.
This recipe calls for homemade pesto but don’t let that intimidate you. The sauce is extremely simple to whip up and tastes better than any store-bought version.
Is This Pesto Shrimp Pasta Healthy?
Yes, our pesto shrimp pasta recipe is healthy.
One of the main ingredients in this pesto pasta is shrimp, so the dish contains a great deal of protein. Each serving has about 40 g of protein — about 80% of the recommended daily allowance.
Pesto pasta can be high in saturated fat and sodium since its sauce is usually loaded with salt, nuts, olive oil, and cheese. We moderated the portions and used just enough of each condiment to flavor the dish.
Each serving, thus, yields about 500 calories with 556 mg of sodium and only 4 g of saturated fat, all complying with our nutrition guidelines.
Ingredients for Pesto Shrimp Pasta
Our pesto shrimp pasta is versatile. Once you master the cooking process it’s easy to swap out different proteins and veggies to match your mood. It's great fun to personalize your pasta.
Any size of shrimp can all work in pesto pasta, but we recommend the medium or large variants. This way, they won’t cook too quickly and dry out in the pan.
If you use fresh shrimp, it’s best to peel and devein them before cooking. If you use frozen shrimp, you won’t have to do that prep work; just thaw them before cooking. Also, we kept the tail on for this pesto pasta recipe since it adds more flavor to the sauce.
Our recipe calls for asparagus and cherry tomatoes of different colors. They all deliver crunchy texture and natural sweetness to cut the rich sauce, giving the dish a more balanced flavor.
Note that you don’t always have to stick to the recipe; you can go with any seasonal veggies you have on hand.
The pesto sauce shines best with long-cut pasta like spaghetti, fettuccine, or bucatini. Or try a pasta with curves and grooves — fusilli or radiatori, for example. They give the herb-based sauce plenty of surface area to grab onto.
4. Pesto Sauce for This Recipe
Unlike other pasta sauces, pesto depends on its fresh and raw flavor. Thus, heating the sauce for too long will dull its herbaceous scent. This is also a reason why most store-bought pesto is quite disappointing.
Today's shrimp pasta tastes best with homemade pesto sauce. Don't worry, it's incredibly easy to prepare. With simple elements (spinach, basil, shallot, pine nuts, olive oil, cheese, and lemon juice), our pesto sauce always hits the spot.
It’s buttery with a hint of herbs and the vibrant flavor of lemon zest. Once you’ve learned to make it at home, nothing else will ever compare. The best part is, it pairs well with so many different types of foods, from salmon and chicken to sea bass.
Store and Reheat Leftover Pesto Shrimp Pasta
If you want to store the leftover pesto shrimp pasta, it’s best to portion it out into different airtight containers or Ziplock bags. This shrimp pasta can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 - 5 days or up to 3 months in the freezer.
To reheat the pasta, either warm it on the stovetop or zap it in the microwave.
The best option is to place your desired portion in a non-stick skillet with a bit of olive oil or water and stir over medium heat until your dish is heated through. If you opt for the microwave, add 1 - 2 tablespoons of water to the pasta in a microwave-safe bowl before reheating for 2 - 4 minutes.
What to Serve With Pesto Pasta Shrimp
Since the pesto shrimp pasta is rich and deep in flavor, we love to pair it with a light burrata salad. The healthy salad made with arugula, carrot, radish, beet, crunchy pistachios, and burrata cheese will please your palate.
The meal is then rounded out with our fresh lime juice. The tangy and sweet fruit juice is a lip-smacking yet straightforward way to complete the meal's flavor profile.
11 oz peeled and deveined shrimp (equals to 22 oz raw shrimp)
12 oz cooked pasta
0.5 oz basil
1 oz spinach
0.5 oz shredded parmesan cheese
3 oz red cherry tomatoes
3 oz yellow cherry tomatoes
6 oz asparagus
1 fl oz unsalted chicken broth
2 tbsp garlic (chopped)
5 1/2 tbsp olive oil (divided)
1/2 tsp salt (divided)
2 tbsp shallot (chopped)
0.5 oz pine nuts
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp parsley (chopped)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 oz spinach and 0.5 oz basil and boil for 30 seconds. Transfer the boiled veggies to an ice water bowl to blanch. Squeeze the excess water with your hands and set the greens aside.
To make the pesto, combine the boiled basil and spinach with 2 tbsp garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tbsp parmesan cheese, 2 tbsp shallot, 0.5 oz pine nuts, 4 1/2 tbsp olive oil, and 1 tbsp lemon juice in a blender. Process until the mixture is well blended. Set the pesto aside.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add 11 oz shrimp, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 1/2 tsp garlic powder to the skillet. Cook and stir frequently for 3 minutes or until the shrimp has just turned pink and opaque.
Stir in 6 oz asparagus and sauté for another 3 minutes. Add in 3 oz red cherry tomatoes and 3 oz yellow cherry tomatoes and continue to cook for an extra 2 minutes so the tomatoes start to burst and release their juices. Transfer the shrimp and veggie mixture to a plate and set aside.
In the same skillet, add 12 oz cooked pasta, pesto sauce, and 1 fl oz chicken broth. Stir for 1 minute (still on medium heat) to coat everything in the pesto.
Return the cooked shrimp and vegetables to the skillet and stir to combine them with the pasta, about 1 minute.
Remove from the heat. Garnish the pasta with the remaining cheese and 2 tbsp chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
Pesto Shrimp Pasta
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 501Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 4g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 15g
Vitamin A 1580IU
Vitamin C 18mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keywords: how to make pesto shrimp pasta, pesto shrimp pasta, pesto shrimp pasta recipe
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Natalie Butler is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a passion to help others live their best life through food, fitness, safer beauty and a healthy lifestyle. She has expertise with a variety of diets and diseases and believes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for health.
Pesto Shrimp Pasta Recipe
David H. Brague
Mouthwatering pesto shrimp pasta - simply irresistible!