Pesto shrimp is an easy dish that's ready in just 30 minutes. It's so delicious and very easy to make. So easy in fact, it's an ideal recipe for a weeknight dinner. You can serve it as is, or as a topping for noodles (such as zucchini noodles). Leftovers are great too!
Like many of my recipes, this tasty shrimp recipe was born out of my desperate need to use up ingredients before they go bad.
It all started when I bought fresh basil to make a caprese salad. The salad was amazing but required very little of the basil. And since basil doesn't keep well in the fridge, I decided to make some pesto sauce.
So now I had half a cup of pesto sauce in the fridge, and shrimp that I've defrosted the night before. I decided to combine the two and make this super easy and delicious recipe for pesto shrimp. Success! It's now part of our regular dinner rotation.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this easy shrimp recipe. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Fresh basil: Basil doesn't last long in the fridge, so it's best to make this recipe shortly after you buy it.
Minced garlic: Mince it yourself or use the stuff that comes in a jar.
Pine nuts: You will only need 2 tablespoons for this recipe.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty.
Olive oil: For the best flavor, use extra-virgin olive oil.
Grated Parmesan: Make sure you use finely grated parmesan and not a coarsely shredded cheese.
Large shrimp, peeled and deveined: It's best, if you can, to use sustainable, wild-caught, local shrimp.
Making these shrimp is super easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
You simply toss some raw shrimp in pesto sauce, either store-bought or homemade.
Next, you thread the coated shrimp on skewers.
The last step is to broil the shrimp until opaque. This should take about 4 minutes. That's it! Dinner is ready!
Frequently asked questions
Probably. Wooden skewers can burn over a hot grill. Soaking them in water is not a foolproof method, but some say it helps prevent them from burning.
I actually almost never use wooden skewers these days - I prefer metal ones. Although the issue with those is that they get super hot so you need to handle them with gloves.
Absolutely. Personally, when I do, I try to find a sauce made with olive oil. It's surprising (and annoying) how many of these jarred sauces are made with soybean oil.
No. There's no need to flip them! Simply broil them for 4 minutes or until opaque.
Yes. You can bake them in a 400F oven until opaque. This should take 8-10 minutes, depending on their size and on how hot your oven runs.
I like to serve this dish with tomato salad. It makes for a pretty, colorful meal.
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in a shallow airtight container, for up to 3 days. Reheat them gently, in the microwave on 50% power. They're also good as a salad topping the next day.
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Easy Pesto Shrimp
- 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried (40 grams)
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- 24 oz large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Soak 8 wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes. Line a broiler-safe rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Prepare the pesto sauce: place the basil, garlic and pine nuts in food processor. Process a few seconds, until coarsely chopped. Add the salt, pepper and oil and process until smooth and fully combined, about 30 seconds, stopping to scrape the sides with a spatula if necessary. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in the cheese.
- If using frozen shrimp, place them in a colander and rinse under running water for a few minutes to defrost, then dry them on paper towels.
- Add the shrimp to the bowl and toss with the pesto sauce until well coated.
- Thread the pesto-coated shrimp on the skewers. Spoon any remaining sauce on top.
- Arrange the skewers in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
- Heat the broiler on high and position an oven rack 4 inches below the heating element.
- Broil the shrimp until cooked through and opaque, about 4 minutes.