Today I’m here to share a fabulous shrimp recipe you can impress just about anybody with: Cilantro Pistachio Pesto Shrimp Pasta. GUYS, IT’S SO GOOD and absolutely perfect for Valentine’s Day. It’s made with my favorite pesto of all time, too!
This pesto shrimp pasta is one of those recipes that tastes like it belongs on a restaurant menu, which is exactly why I’m calling it my ‘Date Night In’ pasta. Make a side salad or my famous garlic bread recipe and get ready to have a cooking night in with your hunny. Or yourself. Whatever floats your boat sweetie pies.
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Ingredients in this pesto shrimp pasta recipe
This simple pesto shrimp pasta is filled with fresh flavors thanks to the homemade cilantro pistachio pesto, and has the perfect amount of creaminess. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Spaghetti: I love using spaghetti noodles in this recipe for delicious pasta twirling. Feel free to use any noodle shape you’d like, even gluten free.
- Cilantro pistachio pesto: wow, just wow! This pesto is beyond incredible and since I created it I’ve been adding it to pretty much everything. The cilantro pistachio pesto is made with roasted pistachios, olive oil, fresh cilantro, jalapeño, garlic and lime juice. It has a little zip and a slight hint of jalapeño flavor and roasted pistachios.
- Shrimp: feel free to use frozen or fresh shrimp – just make sure to devein and remove the tails.
- Garnishes: I love topping this pesto shrimp pasta with goat cheese crumbles (or leave it out to keep it dairy free) extra cilantro and some chopped roasted pistachio. While these are optional, I LOVE the flavor they add to the pasta. You can either fold the goat cheese in at the end or sprinkle on top of the pasta. DELICIOUS.
How to use frozen shrimp in this pasta
No need to even defrost the shrimp; instead, just throw them in a pan with a little olive oil, garlic powder and salt and pepper and cook until they just turn pink and opaque. Done!
Can I make this vegetarian?
Sure! This pesto shrimp pasta recipe can easily be made vegetarian by simply swapping the shrimp for a plant-based protein like chickpeas. YUM. Also feel free to try my brown butter pistachio chickpea pasta.
Customize this recipe
This pesto shrimp pasta recipe is super easy to customize to fit any dietary needs or to use up what you have stocked in your kitchen.
- Keep it gluten free: simply use your favorite gluten free pasta.
- Swap your protein: while I love the uniqueness of shrimp in this pasta, feel free to try it with chicken, or even bacon.
- Make it dairy free: because the homemade cilantro pistachio pesto is naturally dairy free, you’ll simply leave off the goat cheese crumbles to keep the full recipe dairy free.
How to make shrimp pesto pasta
- Make your pesto. You’ll simply combine all of the pesto ingredients in a food processor and process until nice and smooth. Get all of my tips & tricks for making it from scratch in this recipe!
- Cook the shrimp. Add oil, shrimp, garlic powder, salt & pepper to a large skillet and cook it until it’s no longer pink.
- Cook pasta & toss. Then, cook your pasta until al dente, drain it and stir in the pesto & shrimp well.
- Garnish & enjoy! Finally, add the pasta to bowls and top with goat cheese, cilantro and extra crushed pistachios if you’d like.
How to make this pesto pasta creamy
Looking for a bit of a creamier “sauce” in this recipe? Simply reserve a few tablespoons of pasta water when you drain it and add it in with the homemade pesto. You’ll get a nice, creamy pesto shrimp pasta – especially when added with the goat cheese!
Store any leftover pesto shrimp pasta in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Simply reheat in intervals in the microwave and feel free to freshen it up with more cilantro and goat cheese.
More pasta recipes you might like
- Vegan Pasta Primavera with Creamy Garlic Cashew Sauce
- Brown Butter Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Chickpeas
- Damn Good BLT Pasta Salad with Creamy Jalapeño Cashew Dressing
- Incredible Caramelized Onion Spinach Chicken Pasta Bake
- Roasted Veggie Mediterranean Pasta with Goat Cheese
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I hope you love this ‘date night in’ cilantro pistachio pesto shrimp pasta! If you make it, please be sure to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. You can also tag #ambitiouskitchen on Instagram — I love seeing photos of what you make.
Date Night In Cilantro Pistachio Pesto Shrimp Pasta
Delicious pesto shrimp pasta with a crazy good fresh cilantro pistachio pesto! This flavorful shrimp pesto pasta recipe is easy to make but will make you feel like you’re at a fancy restaurant. Serve with garlic bread or a side salad for a great ‘date night in’ meal.
- For the pesto:
- 3/4 cup packed fresh cilantro
- 1/3 cup shelled roasted pistachios
- 1 jalapeno, seeds removed
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 3 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
- 2-3 tablespoons water, to thin pesto
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the shrimp:
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound raw shrimp, deveined and tails off
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- For the pasta:
- 10 oz spaghetti, gluten free if desired
- To garnish:
- 1/4 cup goat cheese
- Extra cilantro
- Chopped roasted pistachios
Make the pesto by adding the following to the bowl of a food processor: cilantro, pistachios, jalapeño, garlic cloves, lime juice, olive oil, water and salt and pepper. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides and processing again, if necessary.
Next cook the shrimp: add olive oil to a large skillet or pan and place over medium high heat. Add in shrimp, garlic powder and salt and pepper; cook until shrimp is no longer pink. Remove from heat and set aside.
Cook the pasta until al dente, according to the directions on the package. Drain pasta, then add back to pot. Stir in the pesto and shrimp until well coated. Add pasta to bowls and garnish with goat cheese, a few cilantro leaves and a sprinkle of crushed pistachios. Serve immediately. Makes about 4 servings.
Feel free to use chicken instead of shrimp.
To make vegetarian: simply use 1 can of chickpeas in place of the shrimp.
To make dairy free: omit the goat cheese.
To store: any leftover pesto shrimp pasta can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Recipe by: Monique Volz | Photography by: Yoga of Cooking
That pesto sounds incredible! Yummy!
Can you freeze the pesto?
Sure! I think it would hold up well.
Wow! Such a great twist on pesto! Love the addition of goat cheese!
Dang this is so. good. I added some blistered tomatoes, which did not disappoint. Whatever you do- do NOT skip the goat cheese. I could eat this every day!
Love that idea!! And YES goat cheese is the best.
Wow! It sounds yummi. What do you think about replacing the pasta with spiralized zucchini?
Sounds delicious too!
I don’t have a food processor. Can you use a blender?
Yes that should work!
My girlfriend and I made this last week and it was amazing! We had everything in-house except for jalapeno and goat cheese so we subbed for a pinch of red chili flakes and fresh parm. Yum!
Amazing! So glad you both loved it.
This looks amazing! I would love to have you join our recipe party, What’s for Dinner – http://www.lazygastronome.com/whats-for-dinner-sunday-link-up-186/
Made this with chickpea pasta since my husband is a diabetic. We enjoyed it!!
This was my first attempt at homemade pesto and it was delicious!! I don’t think I added enough water as the pesto didn’t blend as well as I’d hoped into the pasta but it was still wonderful! Thank you for the tip about frozen –> cooked shrimp (I had some pre-cooked frozen shrimp from Sprouts and didn’t want to wait 24 hours to defrost). 🙂
Perfect! And yes, feel free to add a bit more water to get the right consistency 🙂 Glad you enjoyed!
This was GREAT!! And it’s easy to make! Who needs to eat out when you can make food this delicious at home? I did add more cilantro to get my pesto consistency to my liking. Thank you!!
Absolutely! All about the extra cilantro, too 🙂 Glad you loved it!
Where do you buy your groceries and this looks really yummy 😋😍
I love getting them at ALDI! Hope you get a chance to try this one 🙂
My husband and I made this tonight, and we both loved it! Felt like we were eating at a fancy restaurant, but for less than $4.50 per serving 🤗. I am glad I doubled the pesto recipe because we will definitely be making this again in the near future. This was the first recipe I have made of yours, and I will definitely be back to check out more. Thank you!!!
The perfect date night! That pesto is great for so many recipes too. Hope you find some more favs here 🙂
This recipe is AMAZING. That pesto! My husband and I couldn’t get enough. Definitely going into the permanent rotation. Thank you for sharing this! I topped it with honey goat cheese which was a great compliment to all the deliciousness in the pesto. (I also put 5 cloves of garlic in the pesto, because it’s garlic 👍). This is a new fav, thank you again!
Honey goat cheese sounds amazing in here! I’m all about extra garlic too 😉 Glad you both loved it!
Hey Monique! I am thinking of trying this; however, my family has but allergies. What else could I use in place of the pistachios?
Hi Lisa! You could use pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds instead. Enjoy!
My boyfriend made this for our dinner last night and I could not stop raving how delicious it was. This is our 2nd recipe of yours that we’ve put into our dinner rotation of meals we make often (the first was your amazing roasted sweet potato and broccoli with mango-coconut rice buddha bowl – we make that about once a month) and we can’t wait to try out more. Next one to try is the salmon in a roasted red pepper sauce!
Amazing! So glad you guys are finding delicious recipes here 🙂 more to come!
Great recipe hands down!!! My family loved it. My daughter has a peanut allergy so I had to sub for sunflower seeds.
Amazing!! This one actually has pistachios (not peanuts) but I’m glad sunflower seeds worked out well too.
Excellent, balanced recipe! I made only 2 changes out of necessity; traded pumpkin seeds for the pistachios and lemon juice for the lime. The family ate it all up happily.
Perfect! So happy everyone liked it!
I love this for date night in! so flavorful!
What kind.of wine would go with this dish?
I think your favorite white wine would be great to pair with seafood! 🙂
Love this pesto! Especially because it can be made dairy free. So easy to make in my food processor, not too many ingredients which make it a great option for date night. Yum!!!
Absolutely! It’s perfect with so many different recipes, too 🙂
Absolutely delicious! I used chickpea rotini instead of spaghetti since that’s what was in the pantry and it turned out perfectly. My 2 year old also loved it!
Amazing!! So happy to hear that!
OMG Monique you’ve hit it out of the ballpark on this one! My whole family inhaled this we were shocked at how good this was! All of the ingredients work so well together. My dad is a traditional guy when it comes to food, so he was a bit skeptical, but he loved it as well! The goat cheese took this up to another level. Can’t suggest it enough
Amazing! So happy everyone loved it 🙂
Delicious! Quick yummy dinner! Mixed the pasta with some zoodles for extra veggies and it was perfect
Love it! Such a great dinner 🙂
This was surprisingly delicious and very easy to make.
So happy to hear that!
this tasted really great! i didn’t have pistachios on hand so instead i used raw cashews. i did have to add extra salt and black pepper to make up for the raw nuts but it was great. i also added olive oil to the pasta after draining and tossed that a bit, then added in the sauce with more black pepper. served it with chicken! yummm
Perfect! Sounds delicious 🙂
Excellent recipe!! Super flavourful and fast to prepare! I served it with whole grain pasta. Huge hit with my husband and 4 year old!!!
I’ve made this a couple times and found no need to alter the recipe as I found it to be perfect. The fresh homemade pesto was amazing and easy to make as was the shrimp. Definitely a dish that may seem difficult, but is actually quite easy and a favorite in our house!
No modifications, it was great as is!
A favorite in our house. I’ve used this same pesto recipe for other dishes because I love it so much, but bringing it back to the shrimp pasta is always a hit.
Highly recommend! I have made this several times. It is in our meal rotation every couple months. I normally try to make extra pesto and freeze a jar for a quick meal. This meal does in fact feel fancy, and it’s filling! We love shrimp, so this is perfect for us, but I’m sure chicken would work well. The flavor of the pesto is great. I love a basil based pesto, but this cilantro & pistachio base is great, both different and convenient since I always have these ingredients on hand. The goat cheese is a must! Thanks for the great recipe!
Wow. My boyfriend and I made this a few years ago for Valentine’s Day and I LOVE IT. The pesto is what makes this so delicious. We still talk about it and have started to bring it into rotation now that we live together 🙂
I used parsley instead of cilantro in the pesto. Turned out incredible. Definitely will make again. Love the addition of goat cheese crumble to give a little creaminess at the end. A spectacular weeknight meal ❤️
This is my go to ‘fancy dinner’ recipe for when I want dinner to be a little more special than usual. I will be making this for Valentine’s dinner tonight. It is delicious every time! Yum.
Yum! I always make a seafood dinner on Valentine’s day. This is my first year with a baby and this recipe was quick and easy to put together after putting her to bed. And delicious!
The best! So glad you enjoyed 🙂
This recipe was perfect for Valentine’s Day Date night in! Frozen shrimp worked great and adding some pasta water to the pesto made for the creamiest sauce! So yummy!!
Love it! Glad you enjoyed!
This was so good and so easy. No modifications necessary. It is definitely going in my regular rotation and I’ve already told several people they must try this. Planning on making a double batch of pesto next time and freezing half for a very quick freezer/pantry meal.
So glad you loved this one!
This was absolutely delicious and so easy to make. I make a ton of Monique’s recipes and I loved the switch up with a little seafood!
Love it! Such a fun dinner 🙂
I asked my husband to cook this for our Valentine’s Day dinner in this year. It was our first time trying it and we both loved it. It is a really great date night meal! It has a small amount of heat from the jalapeno which is nice and the flavors work really nicely together. The goat cheese is a great touch! We also appreciated that the cook time is rather minimal for such a tasty dish. Thanks!
Love that! Such a great date night dinner.
This recipe looks so fancy but was simple and easy to make! I wish I had added more pistachios, because the flavor wasn’t as strong as I had hoped, but other than that it was delicious! I made it for my boyfriend for Valentine’s Day and it was the perfect meal for us.
Absolutely! Glad you both enjoyed 🙂 Feel free to top with some more pistachios, too!
Very easy! I liked the taste, but I could have done extra lime juice and more salt.
Always feel free to season a bit more as-needed 🙂 glad you enjoyed!
This was such a great dinner for a stay at home date night! I used frozen, cooked shrimp and had to make the pesto in my mortar and pestle because we don’t have a food processor and it wasn’t blending in the vitamix. But it turned out great! Thanks for an easy to make but fancy recipe!
Perfect! Such a great date night meal 🙂
This was just OK, but the reasons behind me feeling that way are probably my fault. First, I know that pesto is best eaten fresh and doesn’t do great for meal prep, so I wouldn’t recommend anyone else try making this to be reheated throughout the week. Second, I used a particularly large jalapeño, which overly-dominated the other flavors of the dish. That said, I made this with the TJs Argentinian shrimp and their lentil-brown rice pasta, and they were both great additions to the dish.
Something I’ll try next time is reserving some pasta water to add to the food processor as I make the pesto to make it blend up smoother and prevent it from getting clumpy on the pasta.
Sorry it wasn’t a hit for you! This one should reheat well, or I’d recommend reheating with a little extra pesto in it. Love that TJ’s shrimp, too!
The pesto alone is delicious, but with the shrimp and goat cheese it is next level. Loved this meal!
The best! Glad you love it 🙂
SO GOOD, quick, and easy to make! Made this with my boyfriend for our anniversary, felt like we were at a restaurant! I made two batches of the pesto; one with jalapeño and one without. Both were delicious and so easy to make. I spread some pesto on my turkey sandwich for lunch the next day; I swear this pesto is good on anything 🙂
Will definitely make this dish again soon. Thanks Monique!
Best recipe EVER! I even enjoy it without the shrimp-just add in more veggies of your choice. So good!!
Yay!! So glad to hear you love this one 🙂
Oh my GAWD. This recipe will change your life!! Literally SO delicious. Made it for my sisters for dinner during quarantine … an absolute hit. I need to make it again, but always have so much fun trying new recipes from Monique. Cannot recommend it enough!! (I made it exactly to the recipe)
Yaaaay! So happy you’re loving this one.
Delicious and easy for a night of tree-trimming – Thanks – and added the blistered tomatoes as well – yummy! Thanks – Fay
Ooh that sounds amazing, so happy you enjoyed it!
This was an wonderful surprise twist on pesto. The creaminess of the goat cheese and the crunch of the crushed pistachios were nice additions to finish the dish off. We will definitely make this again! Made it with cauliflower linguini noodles and it was delicious! A perfect date night in for my hubby and I!
SO glad you loved this one, Rachel!
Great flavor m! Quick, easy, and delicious pasta!
I’m so happy you enjoyed it! Yay!
This was amazing. So easy and SOOOOO good! My husband also loved it and said can this be on the weekly schedule. I opted for sautéed zucchini instead of noodles and was delicious. THANK YOU for all the great recipes!
You can taste all of the flavors in this pesto. From the garlic to the jalepenos, it all goes well together. My Summer go-to now. Thanks for sharing, Monique.
So yummy! Very interesting flavor combination. So easy to make. And I love that it is dairy free.
I left out the goat cheese crumbles. Didn’t feel it was lacking in any way.
Hi Monique, would like to make this tonight but only have basil.. Do you think I could make this particular pesto with that instead of the cilantro? I know pesto is normally basil so maybe it would be fine. Just checking. I have everything else. Sounds delish!!
I ended up going to the store for cilantro because I wanted to make it as written- AMAZING!!! Loved this so much. This will go in our rotation- quick, easy, delicious 💕
Yay!! Glad it was worth the trip 🙂 Thanks, Jenny!
Sorry I’m late! I think the basil would be totally delicious 🙂
Absolutely FABULOUS!!! I added extra cilantro and pistachios to the pesto, but otherwise followed the recipe! My whole family, including my 3 year old, enjoyed it immensely. We served it with grilled asparagus. This meal checked off all the boxes. Can’t wait to make it again soon!!
It looks so wonderfull food and easy
It looks so yammi food and easy