Pesto Shrimp Pasta

It’s a new year (almost) and I’m about to go back to a 8-4 work day. What does that mean? I’m going to need to scale it back in the kitchen. There will be more quick, “throw it together in a pan/pot” meals. This pesto shrimp pasta is so quick, it literally comes together in the time that it takes to cook the pasta.

One of the keys to making this dish affordable is finding pesto at a good price. I am usually able to find this Classico brand Pesto for under $2.50 a jar at most grocery stores (click on that link, there’s a coupon on their website!!). It adds loads of flavor and, if you don’t use the whole jar, you can keep it in the fridge or freezer. If you can find fresh herbs at a good price in the summer, make your own pesto and freeze it for use later in the year!

If you don’t like shrimp, this dish would be equally delicious with grilled chicken or sea scallops. If you’re a vegetarian, throw in a drained can of artichoke hearts.

Serve this up with some garlic bread and a quick, fresh salad and this is a five star dinner, for sure.

Pesto Shrimp Pasta

Pesto Shrimp Pasta in bowl

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5 from 4 votes

Pesto Shrimp Pasta

This pesto shrimp pasta takes less than 30 minutes to make and is as delicious as something you'd get at a fancy restaurant for a fraction of the price.
Total Cost: $11.84 recipe / $1.97 serving
Author: Beth - Budget Bytes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Servings: 6


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.22)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.14)
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined ($5.97)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes ($2.23)
  • 12 oz pasta ($1.03)
  • 8 oz jar pesto ($1.98)
  • 1/4 bunch fresh parsley ($0.22)
  • salt and pepper to taste ($0.05)


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Pasta is usually sold in 16 oz. boxes and bags, so you’ll need about 3/4 of the box (no need to actually weigh 12 oz.).
  • While the water is coming to a boil, heat a large skillet with 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. While the pan is heating, mince the garlic then add to the pan. Cook the garlic just until softened and fragrant (about 1-2 minutes).
  • Turn the heat on the skillet up to medium high and add the shrimp (thawed, drained). Saute the shrimp and garlic until the shrimp are fully cooked (about 5 minutes). They will be pink and no longer transparent when fully cooked.
  • While the shrimp are cooking, rinse and slice all of the tomatoes in half. Once the shrimp is cooked, add the tomatoes. Season the pan with salt and pepper and continue to cook until the tomatoes start to break down just slightly (about 5 min).
  • The pasta should be finished cooking at this point. Drain the pasta, add it to the skillet along with the jar of pesto. Stir until everything is evenly coated with pesto. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve!


Sometimes long, thin pasta like spaghetti or angel hair can be difficult to stir chunks, like tomatoes and shrimp, into. If you prefer, you can stir the pesto into the drained pasta and then just spoon the shrimp and tomatoes over top.
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big bowl of pesto shrimp pasta with small serving bowl filled with pasta next to it

Step By Step Photos

pesto shrimp pasta ingredients on counter
There are very few ingredients to this dish. This is pretty much all I used, except trade the parmesan for fresh parsley. Oh, and a couple Tbsp of olive oil.

garlic and olive oil in pan
Get your pasta water boiling. While you’re waiting on that, saute the minced garlic in a large skillet with olive oil.

halved tomatoes on cutting board
While the garlic is cooking, quickly slice the tomatoes.

shrimp being added to pan with garlic and olive oil
Once the garlic is softened, add the thawed and drained shrimp. The pasta water is probably boiling by now, so add the pasta and cook it until al dente.

cooked shrimp in pan with wooden spoon
Cook the shrimp over fairly high heat until it is pink and no longer transparent.

tomatoes added to shrimp in pan
Add the sliced tomatoes and cook (stirring) until they begin to break down a bit.

cooked pasta and pesto added to shrimp and tomatoes, all mixed together
The pasta is probably done boiling by now so drain it and add it to the skillet. Also add the jar of pesto and stir everything until it’s all coated in pesto.

finished pesto shrimp pasta with serving fork on side
Sprinkled some chopped, fresh parsley over top and serve.

plate of pesto shrimp pasta with  parmesan on top
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired. The pesto has so much flavor (and parmesan already in it) that I didn’t really find this necessary… just did it for the pictures :P

top view of pesto shrimp pasta with parmesan