Grilled Shrimp Pesto Pasta is a quick and easy dinner full of Mediterranean flavor. Shrimp and tomatoes are quickly marinated in pesto and grilled to perfection. Tossed with with angel hair pasta, more pesto, feta, and kalamata olives for a light and flavorful dinner!
If you’ve never tried shrimp and pesto together I highly recommend it. It’s such a good combo and even better when you grill the shrimp. Pesto is a great way to easily add a ton of flavor to foods that is otherwise pretty flavorless.
I have several recipes on the blog for pesto pasta already. This Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Pesto Pasta is the most popular and great for spring and summer.
This Grilled Shrimp Pesto Pasta is a combination of both Mediterranean and Italian flavors. Basil pesto is used to create the sauce for the pasta and acts as a quick marinade for the shrimp and cherry tomatoes.
Feta and kalamata olives round out the Mediterranean flavors of this easy pasta recipe. The meal comes together quickly and other than threading the shrimp and tomatoes on to skewers, doesn’t require much prep work.
Ingredients for Grilled Shrimp Pesto Pasta
- peeled and deveined shrimp
- cherry tomatoes
- angel hair pasta
- feta cheese
- kalamata olives
- fresh basil or parsley for garnish
How to Make Grilled Shrimp Pesto Pasta
Start by combining the shrimp, cherry tomatoes and some of the pesto in a large bowl. Let them hang out and marinade while you prep the remaining ingredients and pre-heat the grill.
Pre-heat the grill to about 400° F. Thread the shrimp and tomatoes onto metal skewers or wooden ones that have been soaked in water.
Before putting the shrimp on the grill get your pasta cooking. Shrimp take almost no time to cook. Grill the shrimp and tomatoes for about 2 minutes then flip them over and grill another 1-2 minutes. Remove the shrimp and tomatoes from the skewers.
When the pasta is al dente, reserve about a half cup of the pasta water and then drain it. Add the pasta back into the pan along with the pesto, lemon juice, kalamata olives, shrimp, tomatoes, feta, salt and pepper.
Toss everything together with tongs and add in as much of the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen up the sauce. Garnish with parsley or basil then taste for seasoning before serving.
Tips for Grilling Shrimp
- Skewer the shrimp with metal or wooden skewers. If you are using wooden skewers you’ll need to soak them for at least 2 hours or overnight. Skewering the shrimp makes them easy to flip, cooks them evenly, and you won’t run the risk of them falling through the grill grates.
- Use a large to jumbo size shrimp for grilling. In count terms this is 31/40 for large, 26/30 for extra large and 21/25 for jumbo.
- Grill shrimp hot and fast. Heat your grill to at least 400° F. Oil the grates then lay the shrimp skewers down over direct heat. Depending on the size it will take about 2 minutes on the first side and another 2 minutes when you flip them. They’re ready flip when they start to turn pink and opaque.
Frequently Asked Questions
What size shrimp should I use?
I recommend using anywhere from 31/40, 26/30, or 21/25 count. For ease I like to buy shrimp that is already peeled and deveined. If you want to save money and don’t mind the work you can buy them with the shell on.
Can I use a different type of pasta?
Yes. I chose angel hair for this recipe, but spaghetti, bucatini and linguine would all be great. For a short pasta try cavatappi, gemelli, fusilli, or orzo.
Can I make these without a grill?
Yes. If you don’t have a grill you can use a grill pan or large skillet. Heat your stove to medium-high heat and either spray the grill pan with cooking spray or tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add the shrimp and tomatoes, no need to skewer them, and cook until the shrimp are pink and the tomatoes have softened, about 3-5 minutes.
More Shrimp Recipes
- Teriyaki Shrimp and Pineapple Skewers
- Skillet Shrimp Fajitas
- Lemon Dill Grilled Shrimp with Yogurt Herb Sauce
- Grilled Shrimp with Romesco Sauce
- Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa Verde
- 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup pesto, divided
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 pound angel hair pasta
- Reserved pasta water
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives
- Chopped basil or parsley for garnish
- In a large bowl combine the shrimp, tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of pesto, salt and pepper. Stir together until coated and set aside for 10-15 minutes while you prep the remaining ingredients.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Thread the shrimp and tomatoes onto skewers.
- While the grill is preheating cook the pasta. Reserve a 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining the rest. Add the pasta back into the pan.
- When the grill is preheated oil the grill grates then place the skewers on them and close the lid. Grill for 2 minutes then flip them over and grill another 2 minutes or until they're pink and opaque.
- Add the grilled shrimp and tomatoes to the pasta along with the remaining pesto, feta and olives. Toss everything together with tongs and add pasta water as needed to loosen up the sauce. Taste for seasoning, garnish with chopped basil or parsley and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 398Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 254mgSodium: 1337mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 34g