Some nights all you need is a simple, one-skillet meal to make everyone happy, and this shrimp pesto pasta recipe is one of them. Whether you use homemade pesto or buy it, this simple meal tastes like you’ve spent hours in the kitchen but it was more like 15 minutes. Watch how it comes together in this recipe video.
Pesto Pasta Ingredients
This is one of those recipes you keep in your back pocket for nights when you need to make something delicious quick.
This recipe is one of the reasons I keep shrimp in my freezer at all times. Frozen shrimp thaws fast in comparison to other proteins so this is a nearly instant meal.
Cooked shrimp is tossed with pesto, pasta, and cherry tomatoes for a balanced and satisfying meal your family will love. Let’s look at what you’ll need to make this happen:
- Pesto sauce
- Cherry tomatoes
- Olive oil
- Parmesan cheese
If you’d like to make your own pesto sauce, be my guest. It is worth doing if you have an abundance of summer basil or want to sneak in extra veggies, as I do in my Broccoli Pesto Sauce recipe so good!
How to Make Shrimp Pesto Pasta
Shrimp, pesto, and pasta are a wonderful combination that takes little effort to turn into a delicious dinner. If you can boil pasta and heat up food, you can make this meal. These are the steps:
- Boil the Pasta
Cook the pasta, according to package directions. Reserve ½ – 1 cup pasta water and drain. Set aside.
- Cook the Shrimp & Tomatoes
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Add the pesto, shrimp, and ¼ cup pasta water. Stir to combine and cook for 3 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink.
- Add the Pasta
To the shrimp and sauce, add the cooked pasta. Toss to combine and remove from heat.
- Dish up!
Top the pasta with Parmesan cheese and serve!
And just like that, you have a complete meal that’s full of flavor and easy to make.
If you or someone you can’t tolerate shrimp, you can easily swap it boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Sauté the cubed chicken for 5-6 minutes or until browned and cooked through before adding the pasta.
Can You Use Frozen Shrimp Instead of Fresh?
Absolutely! Frozen shrimp will perform the same as fresh shrimp in any recipe. However, I highly recommend thawing them first, since frozen shrimp tend to hold a lot of water and will make your dish runny.
Where to Buy Shrimp Year-Round
I always try to keep my freezer stocked with favorite ingredients that I knew my family will love. From time to time I make an online order to receive high-quality shrimp to stock my freezer for all my favoriote shrimp recipes.
I love that fresh shrimp can come straight to my door all year round with Fulton’s Fish Market. You can check out where I order here.
How to Defrost Shrimp
The best way to defrost shrimp is to let it thaw overnight in the fridge. For a quick thaw, take the shrimp out o fthe package, place them in a strainer, and run cold water into the bowl while the excess water goes down the drain.
From freezer to pan, frozen shrimp should be ready to cook in about 10 to 15 minutes.
I do not recommend thawing out shrimp in the microwave. The microwave will cook your shrimp and make them chewy.
Healthy Meals Kids Love
The meals my kids enjoy eating all have one thing in common- simplicity. Although I struggle with picky eating at my house, it does not deter me from making recipes like this one. This mama does not get offended when the kids pick out the shrimp, more for me!
Often, the simplest, no-frill recipes are the ones everyone in the family finds something they’ll eat. Other dinners you can that will both appeal to kids and satisfy adults are:
- Spinach & Tomato Tortellini
- Shrimp Cauliflower Fried Rice
- Quick & Easy Lasagna Skillet
- Chicken Flatbread Bar
- Salmon Nuggets
Those recipes are similar to what you’ll find inside the MOMables Classic Dinner Meal Plan. Each weekly plan includes simple recipes, a done-for-you shopping list, and an organized meal-prep guide to keep the cooking simple.
If you’d like a sneak peek at what we do, check out this free sample meal plan. It’s the perfect intro at what meal planning should be- simple, effective, and delicious!
More Healthy Recipes for Picky Eaters
Do you have a hard time finding quality recipes your picky eater will eat? Tell me about it!
Feeding picky eaters seems to be my calling, and I know it can be tough to find recipes that will provide nutrition while pleasing their picky palates.
After years of helping millions of parents at MOMables with their mealtimes and spent years seeking help with my family’s picky eating, I’ve put together a FREE 6-video course to make mealtimes easier.
I’ve curated a list of easy recipes suited for families with picky eaters, like Blueberry Baked Oatmeal and Mini Pizza Quiches, and that’s just for starters!
Now, if you took a look at this recipe, read this far, and then thought “no way my kid will eat this pasta, it’s green!” I’ve got you covered. Add 1 ½ cups of your favorite marinara sauce to the pasta and now it’s red!
Fresh Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta
- 12- ounces pasta shells
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1- pint cherry tomatoes
- 4- ounce jar pesto
- 1- pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
- ¼ cup pasta water, reserved
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, for serving
- In a large pot, cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes, add the pesto sauce, shrimp, and ¼ cup pasta water. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often, or until the shrimp turn pink and are cooked through.
- Add the cooked pasta to the shrimp mixture and toss to combine with sauce. Top with Parmesan cheese.
There are a lot of shrimp per bowl of pasta. If you need to stretch this recipe to feed 6, use a full 16-ounce box of pasta.