Shrimp and Pesto Pasta Recipe

This comforting shrimp and pesto pasta with juicy tomatoes and hints of lemon zest is a 20-minute Mediterranean dinner that’s so comforting. Lots of freshly-grated parmesan on top help elevate this simple dish to one perfect bite!

Bowl of shrimp and pesto pasta with juicy tomatoes and parmesan cheese.

Why You’ll Love This Shrimp and Pesto Pasta

If you need an easy, hearty recipe that can be enjoyed hot or cold on a weeknight, this shrimp and pesto pasta is for you.

  • Great for meal prep. Store it in serving-size containers you can just pop into the microwave when you get home.
  • Mediterranean-inspired. The combination of shrimp, lemon zest, juicy cherry tomatoes, and parmesan make this pesto pasta a Mediterranean dish.
  • Versatile. This pesto pasta can be served warm or fresh out of the fridge for a chilled pasta salad!
  • Perfect for leftovers. Boil different kinds of short pasta and mix them, or slice up leftover chicken instead of cooking the shrimp.
Labeled ingredients for shrimp and pesto pasta.

Recipe Ingredients

Lemon zest, herby pesto, sweet cherry tomatoes, and savory parmesan give this recipe its Mediterranean flair. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact amounts.

For the Shrimp

  • Shrimp – I prefer medium or large shrimp shrimp for a buttery, tender interior. Small shrimp over-cook very easily so avoid them.
  • Avocado oil – Feel free to use olive oil, vegetable oil, or coconut oil.
  • Lemon zest – It needs to be fresh zest.
  • Red pepper flakes – Cayenne pepper works too.
  • Salt and pepper – Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper are best for this.

For the Pasta

  • Pasta – Spaghetti, fettuccine, penne, and fusilli all work.
  • Pesto – Try my Homemade Basil Pesto or use your favorite store-bought one.
  • Cherry tomatoes – Avoid Roma and Heirloom tomatoes because they’re too meaty and have many seeds, making the pasta watery.
  • Parmesan cheese – Freshly grated cheese is better than the bottled version.

How To Make Shrimp and Pesto Pasta

Stir the pasta and pesto into the pan with sauteed shrimp to reduce clean-up. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more detailed instructions.

  • Boil the pasta. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook it according to package instructions. Drain it and set it aside.
  • Season the shrimp. Toss the shrimp, zest, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a bowl until well combined.
  • Sautée them. Place a pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and shrimp. Cook them for 3-4 minutes, or until completely pink. Don’t over-cook them because they’ll become rubbery. Remove them from the heat and set them aside.
  • Add the pesto. Place the pasta in a bowl. Add the pesto and toss until well combined.
  • Serve it. Transfer the pasta to serving bowls. Top it with shrimp, tomatoes, and parmesan. Enjoy!
Picking up pesto fettuccine with a fork.

Tips & Variations

Warm or chilled, this shrimp and pesto pasta is perfect year-round.

  • Make it a pasta salad. Once fully cooled, pop the pasta into the fridge until completely chilled. Enjoy it straight out of the fridge for a refreshing pasta salad.
  • Swap the protein. Slice my Baked Chicken Parmesan, New York Strip Steak, or Pecan Crusted Salmon and use it instead of shrimp for this recipe.
  • Make it spicy. Top the pasta with chili oil to taste or slice up some Calabrian chilis for a bit of heat.
  • Add more cheese. Sprinkle the pasta with 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese or fresh mozzarella for a cheesier bite.
  • Use leftovers. Boil the different kinds of leftover short pasta you have laying around in the pantry according to package instructions. Drain and mix them together. The pasta shapes may be different but the taste will be the same.
Close-up of pesto pasta with shrimp, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese.

What To Serve With Shrimp Pesto Pasta

This shrimp and pesto pasta is a hearty dinner option on its own. You can also pair it with some Grilled Zucchini with Tomato Basil Bruschetta on the side. Air Fryer Asparagus are great too. For salad options, try my Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing or Roasted Pepper Peach Caprese with Balsamic Reduction.

Proper Storage

Store it in serving-size portions for easy reheating throughout the week.

  • Fridge: Place it in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • To reheat: Microwave it for up to a minute or until warm. You can also heat it in a pan (covered) over medium heat for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

More Easy Pasta Dishes


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This shrimp and pesto pasta recipe with sweet tomatoes and parmesan cheese is an easy weeknight dinner that can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Pan Seared Shrimp:

Pesto Pasta:

  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Add in pasta and cook until al dente according to package instructions.
  3. To a small bowl, add raw shrimp, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
  4. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat.
  5. Add in avocado oil and shrimp to the pan.
  6. Sauté shrimp for 3-4 minutes, or until completely pink. Remove from pan and set aside.
  7. Drain noodles and add to a bowl with the pesto. Toss to coat.
  8. Top with shrimp, fresh tomatoes and grated parmesan.


  • Serving Size: 2 cups
  • Calories: 576
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Sodium: 413 mg
  • Fat: 25 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 52 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 38 g
  • Cholesterol: 37 mg

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