Pesto Pasta with Shrimp and Asparagus

April 12, 2016

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This Shrimp Pesto Pasta comes together in around half an hour and is a family favorite recipe! Linguine is tossed with a basil-parsley pesto, fresh asparagus, tender shrimp and lemon juice to make the most incredible pasta dish. 

shrimp pesto pasta with asparagus in large white bowl

Easy Shrimp Pesto Pasta

In case you haven’t noticed, I really love pasta! We have pasta of some sort at least once a week. You should see my pantry, about 1/3 of it is stocked with pasta and noodles.

I mean, not to be a hater but zoodles are an abomination! Okay, I’m only kidding. I can’t say that until I’ve actually tried them.

Someday I’ll get there but I’m not quite ready yet :). What can I say? I love carbs. They make me full and therefore no longer hangry…or in other words they make me a kind and happy human.

Today’s recipe is a shrimp and asparagus pasta that’s been tossed with a homemade basil and parsley pesto, and let me tell you it is oh so good! It is abundantly flavorful thanks to the fresh pesto and a bit of fresh lemon juice, plus you get those delicious and unique flavors from the fresh asparagus and shrimp.

So far my family is 2 for 4 that like shrimp (one daughter and myself), and now I just need to get my husband and my other daughter to like it too. But for now I guess it just means more for me.

Just like I used to be kind of annoyed by the fact that my husband didn’t like fresh tomatoes so he’d request his serving without, then I just realized once upon a time that that meant more tomatoes for me so there are no complaints there.

We all have different taste buds but hopefully yours agree with me on this, because this pesto shrimp asparagus pasta is incredibly delicious!

Homemade Pesto in food processor

Shrimp Pesto Pasta Ingredients

If you’ve never made homemade pesto before, don’t fret, it’s super easy! Here’s what you’ll need to make the shrimp pesto pasta.

For the homemade pesto, you’ll need:

  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh parsley
  • Shredded Parmesan
  • Pine nuts
  • Garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

And for the shrimp asparagus pasta, you’ll need:

  • Linguine
  • Asparagus
  • Shrimp
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice

shrimp for shrimp pesto pasta in large skillet

How to Make Pesto

  • Add all of the pesto ingredients except the olive oil into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth.
  • Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the basil-parsley pesto reaches your desired consistency.

How to Make Shrimp Pesto Pasta

  • Steam asparagus pieces in steamer basket.
  • Boil linguine in salted water and reserve 1/3 cup of the pasta water before draining.
  • Cook shrimp in a skillet with a little olive oil until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour lemon juice over shrimp, then add pasta and asparagus.
  • Add pesto to the skillet and toss to combine. If needed, thin the sauce with some of the reserved pasta water.

shrimp pesto pasta with asparagus in white serving bowl

Can I Use a Pine Nut Substitute in This Recipe?

Yes, if you don’t have pine nuts on hand I recommend adding chopped walnuts instead. And if you have a nut allergy, feel free to omit the nuts entirely.

Can I Make Basil Pesto Instead?

Yes, if you don’t like parsley or don’t have any you can add more basil to the pesto instead of fresh parsley.

Can I Omit the Shrimp?

If you really don’t like shrimp, or if you don’t want to pay the higher price for it, feel free to replace the shrimp with chicken breasts diced into 1-inch cubes, then increase the cooking time by about 6 minutes (or until cooked through).

Can I Use Another Type of Pasta?

Of course! Any long, thicker pasta will work (like fettuccine, spaghetti, tagliatelle, etc.). Avoid anything too skinny, as you need a pasta that can hold its own next to the shrimp and asparagus.

shrimp pesto pasta with asparagus garnished with basil leaves

Tips for Making Shrimp Pesto Pasta

  • For the brightest flavor, use freshly squeezed lemon juice instead of the pre-bottled juice.
  • If you don’t want to steam the asparagus, you could sauté it in a little olive oil before you cook the shrimp.
  • If asparagus isn’t in season, feel free to throw in some fresh spinach or another green of choice.
  • If using frozen shrimp, thaw before cooking. (Also, be sure to use frozen raw shrimp, not the pre-cooked kind).

More Easy Pasta Recipes You’ll Love:

Shrimp Pesto Pasta with Asparagus

A quick and easy pasta recipe made with linguine, asparagus, pesto and shrimp. This has so much flavor thanks to the pesto and it's the perfect compliment to shrimp.
Servings: 5
Prep15 minutes
Cook20 minutes
Ready in: 35 minutes



  • 2 cups (55g) packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup (14g) slightly packed parsley leaves (or more basil)
  • 1/3 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts (toasted or untoasted)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil


  • 10 oz dry linguine pasta
  • 1 lb asparagus, tough ends trimmed and discarded, remaining diced into 2-inch pieces and steamed
  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice


For the pesto:

  • To a food processor add basil, parsley, parmesan, pine nuts, garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste (I use 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper). 
  • Pulse until finely chopped, then with processor running slowly pour in olive oil and let run several seconds until it's well combined and smooth.

For the pasta: 

  • Boil pasta in salted water according to directions on package, reserve 1/3 cup pasta water before draining. 

To cook the shrimp:

  • While pasta is cooking, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add shrimp, season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing occasionally until opaque throughout and outsides are pink, about 3 - 4 minutes. 
  • Pour lemon juice over shrimp and toss. Add pasta and asparagus to pan with shrimp and toss while seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Let it cool for one minute (I just like to do this so it doesn't cook the pesto), and add the pesto and toss to coat, thin with reserved pasta water as desired. Serve immediately.


  • If you really don't like shrimp, or if you don't want to pay the higher price for it, feel free to replace the shrimp with chicken breasts diced into 1-inch cubes, then increase the cooking time by about 6 minutes (or until cooked through).  
  • If you don't want to steam the asparagus, you could sauté it in a little olive oil before you cook the shrimp.
  • If asparagus isn't in season, feel free to throw in fresh spinach or another green of choice. 
Nutrition Facts
Shrimp Pesto Pasta with Asparagus
Amount Per Serving
Calories 539 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Fat 25g38%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 232mg77%
Sodium 227mg10%
Potassium 454mg13%
Carbohydrates 47g16%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 28g56%
Vitamin A 1540IU31%
Vitamin C 15.8mg19%
Calcium 248mg25%
Iron 5.5mg31%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.