Shrimp Pesto Pasta is a super easy recipe that looks elegant and tastes like it came off a restaurant menu!

The secret is in the ready-made ingredients and then a few bright dashes of lemon zest and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. This shrimp pesto pasta recipe is a foolproof main dish that’s easy enough for every night but perfect for when company’s coming!

plated Shrimp Pesto Pasta with napkin in the back

Shrimp Pesto Pasta


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Shrimp Pesto Pasta Recipe

  • Creamy basil pesto sauce is a timesaver in the kitchen! It’s easy to find pesto pasta sauce freshly made from the deli department, in jars, or even in frozen packages. Stock up or DIY it if time allows!
  • Pre-cooked shrimp and a jar of ready-made pesto sauce take all of the guesswork out of this hearty, homemade recipe. Simply add cooked pasta, garnish, and serve!
  • Don’t forget to serve with some thick slices of garlic bread. Add a colorful and tangy salad like this Spinach and Strawberry Salad one and dinner is served! 

ingredients to make Shrimp Pesto Pasta


PASTA: Any pasta will do, but shapes like penne, farfalle, or bucatini are thicker and help the pesto sauce cling better. After cooking, drain and reserve some of the pasta water, but do not rinse the pasta. That little bit of starch remaining on the pasta adds flavor and helps thicken the sauce. Keep the reserved pasta water handy in case the sauce needs a bit of thinning out without becoming too runny.

SHRIMP: Never worry about overcooked shrimp and use cooked shrimp for this recipe! Thaw and look for 20/30’s which is the best size for individual servings. Peel off the shell and the tail end, or purchase shrimp that are already shelled.

PESTO SAUCE: Pesto sauce is a classic combination of olive oil, minced basil leaves, garlic, and parmesan cheese. Pre-made isn’t labor-intensive and no food processor is required! Add more or less minced garlic as desired and make it a signature sauce!

Variations –  There are so many ways to make shrimp pesto pasta different every time! Leave out the protein and make it a healthy vegetarian main dish by adding a bag of frozen veggies, or chopped kale. Spinach, sliced zucchini, and mushrooms along with a can of diced tomatoes would also work well. So many options! Switch out the shrimp for cooked, smoked salmon or cooked crab.

ingredients in a bowl to make Shrimp Pesto Pasta


How to Make Pesto Shrimp Pasta

This easy main dish is ready in 1, 2, 3! 

  1. Cook and set aside pasta.
  2. Sauté onion, add shrimp. Add everything but parmesan.
  3. Garnish with parmesan cheese or basil and serve immediately.

Recipe Tips & Time Savers

  • Reserve ½ cup of pasta sauce to thicken the sauce, if desired.
  • Make shrimp pesto pasta in advance, cover, and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve. It’s the perfect bake and take casserole for potlucks and parties!


Keep leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator up to 4 days. Add a little milk to the pesto pasta before reheating on the stovetop. Freeze portions in individual portions for up to 4 weeks. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator, and reheat as directed above. Thawed pasta won’t be as firm as fresh, so add some fresh pasta to make the dish new again!

bowl of Shrimp Pesto Pasta

Other Shrimp Pasta Dishes To Try!

plated Shrimp Pesto Pasta with napkin in the back
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Shrimp Pesto Pasta

This shrimp pesto pasta recipe is made easily with pre-made ingredients like pesto and cooked shrimp.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Holly


  • 1 pound medium pasta such as farfalle or penne
  • 8 ounce shrimp cooked
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup onion finely diced
  • ½ cup pesto sauce
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • parmesan cheese for garnish, optional
  • fresh basil for garnish, optional


  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well and reserve ½ cup pasta water.
  • Cook onion in oil until tender. Add shrimp to heat through, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add pasta, lemon zest and pesto sauce and toss to combine. Add some pasta water if needed.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with parmesan and fresh basil if desired.


Reserve ½ cup of pasta sauce to thicken the sauce, if desired.
5 from 10 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 602kcal | Carbohydrates: 88g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 365mg | Potassium: 418mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 625IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American

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Top image - shrimp pesto pasta ingredients. Bottom image - A serving dish of shrimp pesto pasta with writing


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