Pesto Shrimp Pasta

Total Time

Prep/Total Time: 30 min.


4 servings

Updated: Sep. 23, 2023
Fresh basil and dash of red pepper puts zip in this lively shrimp pesto pasta. — Gloria Jones Grenga, Newnan, Georgia


  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a blender, combine 1 tablespoon oil, basil, lemon juice, garlic and salt; cover and process until smooth.
  2. In a large skillet, saute asparagus in remaining oil until crisp-tender. Add shrimp and pepper flakes. Cook and stir until shrimp turn pink, 2-4 minutes.
  3. Drain spaghetti; place in a large bowl. Add basil mixture; toss to coat. Add shrimp mixture and mix well.
Shrimp Pesto Pasta Tips

Do you have to heat the pesto before tossing it with the shrimp pasta?

You don't need to heat the pesto before tossing it with the shrimp pasta. In fact, it's important to not overheat the pesto, which is why it's tossed with the pasta in a bowl instead of the hot saucepan. The heat from the pasta and shrimp will gently warm the pesto.

How can you avoid overcooking the shrimp?

There are some key tips and tricks to cooking shrimp perfectly every time. When the shrimp are cooked through they will turn pink and hold a curved shape. Once that happens, it's important to remove the shrimp from the heat. If you're afraid they are becoming overcooked, move the shrimp from the pan to a bowl so they don't continue cooking in the residual heat.

What else can you add to shrimp pesto pasta?

If you love recipes with pesto, then you know there are some classic ingredients that are complementary to pesto. Try adding grape tomatoes, shaved Parmesan cheese, a handful of arugula, a sprinkling of pine nuts, sliced roasted red peppers or sauteed mushrooms. You could even make this pasta recipe with a highly rated store-bought pesto if you're short on time.

What do you serve with shrimp pesto pasta?

Side salads pair nicely with shrimp pesto pasta since it's nearly a meal in one. You could also serve it with bruschetta, homemade bread (like copycat Olive Garden breadsticks!) or a homey vegetable soup.

Peggy Woodward, Taste of Home Senior Food Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 393 calories, 12g fat (2g saturated fat), 103mg cholesterol, 406mg sodium, 47g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 3g fiber), 23g protein.