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Date Night In Cilantro Pistachio Pesto Shrimp Pasta

Delicious pesto shrimp pasta with a crazy good fresh cilantro pistachio pesto! This flavorful & healthy 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.

Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins

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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 pasta 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.

pesto shrimp pasta in a skillet with two forks and two glasses of wine

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!

healthy pesto shrimp pasta ingredients on a board

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.

creamy pesto shrimp pasta in a bowl with a fork

How to make shrimp pesto pasta

  1. 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!
  2. Cook the shrimp. Add oil, shrimp, garlic powder, salt & pepper to a large skillet and cook it until it’s no longer pink.
  3. Cook pasta & toss. Then, cook your pasta until al dente, drain it and stir in the pesto & shrimp well.
  4. 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!

twirling a scoop of shrimp pesto pasta from a plate

Storing tips

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

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

4.98 from 37 votes
twirling shrimp pesto pasta up from a plate
Course Dinner, Gluten Free, Seafood
Cuisine Italian
Keyword date night, pesto shrimp pasta, shrimp pesto pasta
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Serves 4

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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Recipe Notes

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.

Servings: 4 servings
Serving size: 1 serving (based on 4)
Calories: 448kcal
Fat: 18.4g
Saturated fat: 3.2g
Carbohydrates: 54.6g
Fiber: 3.9g
Sugar: 1.3g
Protein: 17.4g

Recipe by: Monique Volz | Photography by: Yoga of Cooking

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