Pesto shrimp is delicious and very easy to make. So easy in fact, it’s an ideal recipe for a weeknight dinner.
Like many of my recipes, this tasty shrimp recipe was born out of my desperate need to use up ingredients before they go bad.
I never actually planned to make pesto shrimp. I simply needed to use up some leftover pesto sauce. But now I’m grateful that I did because this very tasty recipe is now part of our regular dinner rotation.
Using up pesto sauce
It all started when I bought fresh basil to make eggplant caprese. The caprese 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. But since the husband and I have been eating a low-carb diet and limiting grains, using the pesto as a pasta sauce was not an option.
So I searched online (the search “what to do with pesto sauce” returns a surprisingly long list of results), and one of the suggestions was “serve with grilled fish.”
Aha! I thought. Pesto goes well with fish. And I happen to have some frozen shrimp in the freezer (as I always do). So why not coat the shrimp in the sauce and broil them? How bad can it be?
Well, it wasn’t bad at all! In fact, these shrimp were so good that all four members of our family have immediately declared this dish as “blog-worthy” and asked that I add it to our rotating dinner repertoire.
The ingredients you’ll need
You’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make pesto shrimp. 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 to use sustainable, wild-caught, local shrimp.
How to make pesto shrimp
It’s so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. The basic steps:
1. You simply toss some raw shrimp in pesto sauce, either store-bought or homemade.
2. Thread them on skewers.
3. Then broil for 4 minutes. That’s it! Dinner is ready!
Should I soak wooden skewers?
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.
Can I use store-bought pesto sauce?
Absolutely. Personally, when I do, I try to find a sauce made with olive oil. It’s surprising how many of these jarred sauces are made with soybean oil!
What to serve with pesto shrimp
I like to serve this dish with tomato salad. It makes for a pretty, colorful meal.
Sometimes I make microwave spaghetti squash, toss it with some olive oil, salt, and garlic powder, and serve the shrimp on top.
What about leftovers?
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.
More shrimp recipes that you might like
If you like shrimp and feel like trying more shrimp recipes, give this shrimp scampi a try – it’s so easy to make and so very flavorful.
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- 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried (40 grams)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- ½ teaspoon 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 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.