Lemon Shrimp Pesto Pasta

Shrimp pasta dishes can be impressive & decadent, but also easy to throw together… especially if you use pre-cooked frozen shrimp and pre-made pesto. The lemon adds a special zing to the earthy pesto flavor, and the goat cheese adds another layer of creamy goodness.

As for the lemon, yes, it’s safe to eat lemon peels. They are beneficial to your health as they contain many vitamins & minerals, such as calcium, potassium and Vitamin C, which gives your body a nutritional boost. Lemons should be thoroughly cleaned though as they may be covered in insecticides, pesticides, or protective wax covering.

I like to use fusilli pasta, also known as Rotini, for this dish as the sauce can fully get wrapped up in the corkscrew shape. As for box brands, I’m partial to De Cecco & Barilla.

  • 1 Box Fusilli Pasta
  • 24 Pre-cooked Frozen Shrimp
  • 1 Lemon sliced in half-moon shape
  • 1 quart Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 1 jar pre-made Pesto or Garden Basil Pesto
  • 1/2 bag Fresh Spinach
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • Olive oil
  • 3 tbsp+ crumbled Goat Cheese

Defrost the cooked shrimp, preferably overnight in the refrigerator. Once thawed, remove the shrimp tails & shells. Set aside.

Cook the pasta according to the box instructions. When the pasta is done, be sure to reserve some of the starchy pasta water in a mug. The starchy water will help the pesto sauce stick to the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, sauté the sliced half-moon lemons and halved cherry tomatoes over medium heat in olive oil and garlic*. Watch to make sure the garlic does not burn. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Once they start to break-down, turn the heat to low and add the spinach, cooking down until it starts to wilt. Next, add the pesto sauce and mix well. Carefully pour a little amount at a time of the starchy water into the sauce, mixing until the sauce is thinned out a bit. Add the cooked shrimp and the pasta. Toss altogether, ensuring all the pasta is covered with the sauce. Mix in the crumbled goat cheese and serve hot.


*Note: Sometimes garlic can turn green/blue when cooked with lemons. This is totally normal and ok to eat. The color change is caused by a reaction between enzymes and sulfur-containing amino acids in the garlic. When these enzymes are activated by mild acid, they produce blue and green pigments. – Cook’s Illustrated

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