Shrimp Pesto Pasta 

By Rena |

Of all the ways you have prepared shrimp, this Shrimp Pesto Pasta will be one of your favorites! It is easy to make, packed with lean protein, and full of flavor. Best of all, it takes just about 30 minutes to put together.

top view of pesto pasta with shrimp in an orange skillet

If you love shrimp and also love pasta, you are going to love this shrimp pasta recipe made with homemade pesto from scratch. It’s very flavorful, simple and easy to make, and ready in just 30 minutes. It is a complete meal that’s filling and you won’t need to worry about making any side dishes. Tender shrimp with each bite along with flavorful pesto pasta that will satisfy those taste buds. Make this shrimp pesto pasta recipe any day of the week for a quick and easy dinner for the family to enjoy. If you don’t like shrimp or the kids won’t have shrimp, you can easily swap it with chicken.

why you will love this pesto pasta recipe

  • Simple and Easy: This shrimp pesto pasta recipe is super easy to make. It is what i call a hassle-free dinner thats filling and delicious. Shrimp cooks up fast and this pasta recipe can be ready in 30 minutes.
  • Healthy Homemade Pesto: Ditch teh store-bought pesto thats not too flavorful and make your own pesto at home. We love this homemade pesto recipe. Yummy.
  • Great for meal prep: If you meal prep, you may like this shrimp pasta dish. It can be enjoyed cold and stores well in the fridge for 3-4 days.
top view and side shot of shrimp pesto pasta

Ingredients and substitutes

  • Pasta: You can use any shape of pasta or pasta of choice to make this pesto pasta. There are healthier pasta altnernatives that can be used as well. consider using lentil or chickepea pasta.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil: We used olive oil but you may use any other oil like avocado oil
  • Shrimp: Use raw shrimp instead of pre-cooked shrimp. If you dont like shrimp you can swap it for any protein of choice. Chicken works great with this pesto pasta recipe.
  • Lemon: If you dont have any lemons, you may use lime. It is better to use fresh lemons than the ones in the bottles. Use bottled lemon juice only if you have to.

for the homemade pesto

arugula – you need to use a leafy green. something like arugula, kale, or spinach.
spinach – two types of greens should be used, a combination of spinach and kale, or spinach and arugula, or arugula and kale. if you want to stick to using only one type it’s fine, we would prefer using spinach.
Basil – this ingredient is important when making homemade pesto. please do not omit this ingredient. Use fresh basil if possible and not dried basil.
garlic– we also recommend that you use fresh garlic and not garlic powder. It makes a huge difference with the flavor.
Pistachio: these are the nuts we chose to use for the pesto, but you can use other nuts like walnuts or pine nuts.
Parmesan cheese: This ingredient is also important. you may substitute it with romano cheese.
olive oil: what makes pesto sauce even more unique is the amount of olive oil that goes into it. Do not use another type of oil. If you only have avocado oil handy it will be a decent substitute.
lemon: use fresh lemons

We do have another homemade pesto recipe you can check out.

ingredients to make shrimp pesto pasta

How to make shrimp pesto pasta

To a small food processor, add all the pesto ingredients and process until smooth.

Bring a pot with salted water to a boil, and add the pasta. Cook following the package instructions, then drain. (you may reserve 1/3 cup of the pasta water at this point if needed)

pesto ingredients in blender

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat.

Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until pink and opaque. Squeeze over the lemon and remove from heat.

cooked shrimp in a pan with red spatula in it

Once the pasta is done, add it over the shrimp together with the pistachio pesto. Toss well to coat. At this point, if you feel like the pasta looks dry, you may add in your reserved pasta water and mix again.

Serve immediately with lemon wedges, garnish with parmesan and enjoy!

pasta, shrimp, and pesto added to pan

frequently asked questions

Do you just add pesto to pasta?

Yes. The pesto doesn’t need to be cooked. Once your pasta is fully cooked, you can add the pesto over it, toss and serve. A great tip is to reserve about 1/4-1/3 cup of the pasta water to mix it in with the pesto and pasta in case your pest is a bit dry. The pasta water will help the pesto sauce stick better to the pasta.

Do you add pesto to hot or cold pasta?

Technically, it is better to add the pesto over cold pasta so it doesn’t change color. This is why it is not recommended to cook the pesto. You can certainly add pesto to warm pasta

Do I need to cook pesto from a jar?

You do not need to cook pesto whether it is from a jar or homemade.

How do you make pesto stick to pasta?

The key is to use some of the pasta water. Don’t drain all of the pasta water and save some. The pasta water makes the oils from the pesto stick to the pasta better. It is a great technique.

top view of pesto pasta in an orange skillet with shrimp

Other easy recipes you may like

top view pesto shrimp pasta in skillet

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top view of pesto pasta with shrimp in an orange skillet

Shrimp Pesto Pasta

Simple and easy pasta recipe made with homemade pesto and loaded with shrimp. Ready in just 30 minutes and its packed with flavor.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Diet: Halal
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 547kcal
Author: Rena

Ingredients

  • 8 oz pasta
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb medium shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 large lemon

For the pesto:

  • 2 cups arugula or kale, packed
  • 1 cups baby spinach packed
  • 1/2 cup basil packed
  • 1-2 clove garlic
  • cup pistachio shelled
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated, plus more for garnish
  • cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • salt and ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  • To a small food processor, add all the pesto ingredients and process until smooth.
  • Bring a pot with salted water to a boil, and add the pasta. Cook following the package instructions, then drain. (you may reserve about 1/3 cup pasta water in case it's needed later)
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  • Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until pink and opaque. Squeeze over the lemon and remove from heat.
  • Once the pasta is done, add it over the shrimp together with the pistachio pesto. Toss well to coat. At this point, if you feel like the pasta looks dry, you may add in your reserved pasta water and mix again.
  • Serve immediately with lemon wedges, garnish with parmesan and enjoy!

Notes

  • Reserve some pasta water in case you need it at the end.
  • If you don’t have pistachios, you may use walnuts or pine nuts
  • Use fresh ingredients if possible. Fresh basil is essential
  • If you don’t like shrimp, you may use chicken or any other protein instead.
  • Use any pasta of choice: for healthier options, use lentil or chickpea pasta.
  • Here is a shrimp pesto pasta recipe we made with zoodles.

Nutrition

Calories: 547kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 147mg | Sodium: 752mg | Potassium: 404mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1406IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 190mg | Iron: 2mg
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