Healthy creamy pesto shrimp pasta in a white bowl

Easy Healthy Creamy Pesto Shrimp Pasta – Ready in 25 Minutes

In Brunch, Mains by sarawalkenbach16 Comments

You need a dinner recipe that you can whip out in less than 30 minutes. One that only uses 1 pot! A recipe, so tasty, your whole family will love! This Healthy Creamy Pesto Shrimp Pasta is it!

There are only 7 ingredients in this one pot wonder.

shrimp, pesto, cherry tomatoes, bowtie pasta, goat cheese, spinach, sunflower seeds are all the ingredients you need for this light creamy pasta dish.
Only 7 ingredients needed for this flavorful shrimp pasta dish.

If you like this one-pot wonder, you’ll love my one-dish Artichoke Chicken recipe.


A few things about sweet succulent shrimp…

All Shrimp are NOT Equal

In my opinion, wild caught Gulf Shrimp is best. Many farmed shrimps are contaminated with antibiotics and use slave labor to peel shells! Learn more about shrimp farming overseas in this article.

Size Matters

For this Healthy and Creamy Pesto Shrimp Pasta, a medium or small sized shrimp is all you need. No need to spend the money on the jumbo shrimp.

When purchasing your shrimp, you will see a number range associated with the size. Medium (41-50) means there are 41-50 shrimp per pound. Small (51-60) has 51-60 shrimp per pound.

Buying them shelled will save you time, but they are a little more expensive. If you can, pay the price for shelled, to make this meal even easier.

Healthy creamy pesto shrimp pasta in a white bowl next to a fork and knife
Small to medium shrimp work great in this pasta dish. Choose already shelled and de-veined shrimp to save time.


This is the flavor enhancer! Pesto is soooo good, and easy to make. (It’s also easy to buy!) Here are the ingredients in standard pesto:

  • Fresh Basil
  • Olive Oil
  • Nuts (typically pine nuts)
  • Garlic
  • Parmesan Cheese

Whiz up these ingredients in a food processor, or buy a jar at your local market.

Leftover Pesto

There are so many ways to use up leftover pesto. My favorite is making a salad dressing. If you like pesto, you will love this recipe for Spinach Salad with Easy Pesto Dressing. Here are a few more ideas:

  • Put on top of Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Mix it with Greek Yogurt for a tasty veggie dip
  • On top of Sliced Tomatoes
  • Put it on top of Chicken and bake
  • Mixed in with Rice or Quinoa

Pesto can also me frozen. Put leftover pesto in small freezable containers for up to 6 months.

Pesto covers bowtie pasta, wilted spinach, goat cheese crumble, and cherry tomatoes in this creamy and healthy pasta dish. It's topped with sunflower seeds.
Pesto is the flavor booster in this Healthy and Creamy Shrimp Pasta dish.

Goat Cheese

Usually creamy and healthy aren’t used in the same sentence. Goat cheese is packed with vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Winning! For more health benefits of goat cheese, read this WedMD article.

Goat cheese is tangy, light, and melts beautifully in this pasta. If you aren’t a fan, sub cream cheese.

If you love goat cheese like me, you’ll love these Goat Cheese & Basil Crackers.


To keep up with the name of this recipe: Healthy Creamy Pesto Shrimp Pasta, choose a healthier pasta. I prefer whole wheat.

If you are gluten free, use your favorite gluten free pasta. Jovial brand is the preferred gluten free brand by many. However, there are so many more options out there.

Pasta and shrimp being scooped out of the pasta water for this Creamy Pesto Shrimp Pasta.
Pasta and shrimp can be cooked together! Start the pasta first, then add the shrimp with a few minutes left on the pasta.

Pasta Shapes

Change up your pasta shapes. My kids always get excited when they see a new shape on our table. The possibilities are endless:

  • Bow Tie
  • Spiral
  • Corkscrew
  • Animal Shaped
  • Tubes

Of course regular ol’ spaghetti will work too.

Important Pasta Cooking Note

Once your pasta is done cooking, don’t dump the pasta water! This is filled with starchy components that help bring the sauce together. Dip out a big mug of the pasta water and hold back.


The two veggies in this dish are tomatoes and spinach.


Pesto, pasta, and tomatoes are like the 3 amigos. Such a flavorful team!

Tomatoes are free radical fighters! They contain lycopene which helps with UV damage from the sun and with heart health.

cherry tomatoes in a bowl ready to be mixed in to this shrimp pasta dish.
Use cherry or grape tomatoes in this Pesto Shrimp Pasta dish.

Use whole cherry or grape tomatoes in this dish. There’s no dicing or halving. By keeping them whole you will: 1.) Save time, and 2.) if you have leftovers the tomatoes won’t get weird with tough skins.


By putting the spinach in while the pasta is still hot, it wilts. This makes it softer, easier to eat, and you are able to get more in! Popeye was on to something! There are so many good reasons to eat more spinach like lowering your blood pressure and aiding in digestion.

Fresh Spinach in a glass bowl ready to be tossed in to the pasta.
Fresh Spinach will wilt mixed with hot pasta, adding vitamins, minerals, and a beautiful pop of color.

Nuts (or Seeds)

You gotta have a little bit of crunch! There are so many crunchy options. Choose your favorite! Here are some tasty nuts and seeds that go great in this dish:

  • Pine Nuts
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Pecans
  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Pumpkin Seeds

How Easy is Pesto Shrimp Pasta?

So easy! One Pot meals are the best. Less dishes = Happiness.

  1. Boil the pasta water, add a handful of salt and the pasta.
  2. With 2 minutes left on the pasta, add the shrimp. Cook until done.
  3. Drain water, saving a mug of the water for later.
  4. Put the pasta and shrimp back in the pot, add pesto and spinach.
  5. Stir until combined, add goat cheese, tomatoes, and nuts.
  6. Stir and enjoy!
Bowtie pasta with pesto mixed with cherry tomatoes, spinach, goat cheese and sunflower seeds in a white bowl.
One pot Healthy Creamy Pesto Shrimp Pasta is ready in less than 30 minutes.


Oh, heck yes to these leftovers! Pesto Shrimp Pasta is good reheated or cold. In fact, this recipe can be made a day before, for a cold pasta salad. It keeps for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

If you like this shrimp recipe, you will love this Shrimp appetizer with Zippy Dip.

Want to try this recipe? Don’t want to miss out on more Freckle Face Foodie recipes? Let me send you my FREE RECIPES DROPS a few times a month!

Healthy creamy pesto shrimp pasta in a white bowl

Healthy Creamy Pesto Shrimp Pasta

Sara Walkenbach
Healthy and creamy never tasted so good! This recipe will be a staple in your home. Full of flavor, made in 1 pot, and ready in 25 minutes!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, American Italian
Servings 6
Calories 418 kcal


  • 12 oz Pasta whole wheat, gluten free, any shape
  • 1 lb Raw Shrimp (41-50) peeled, de-veined
  • 1/2 cup Pesto jarred or home-made
  • 4 cups Fresh Spinach
  • 1-2 cups Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
  • 4 oz Goat Cheese Chevre
  • 1/4 cup Nuts or Seeds such as sunflower seeds or pine nuts
  • Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper Flake optional


  • Boil water for pasta in large stock pot. Add a handful of salt (optional) and pasta. Cook pasta according to direction on package. With 2 minutes remaining on the pasta, add in shrimp. Shrimp is done when it is no longer translucent.
  • Using a handled mug, dip out a mug full of the starchy pasta water, before you discard it down the drain. This will be used in the sauce. Drain pasta and shrimp. Put shrimp and pasta back in empty stock pot.
  • Put spinach on top of hot pasta and shrimp. Toss, wilting the spinach.
  • Stir in pesto. Add in cherry tomatoes and goat cheese. Drizzle in some pasta water. This will help make a sauce. Save left over pasta water for leftovers, if needed.
  • Taste the pasta. Add more pesto, salt, pepper, or red pepper flake, if necessary. Sprinkle on the nuts or seeds. Enjoy!



If the shrimp are done and the pasta isn’t quite ready, use a slotted spoon or mesh strainer to scoop out opaque shrimp.
When packing up leftovers, drizzle a bit of pasta water over pasta if looking dry. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
If using gluten free pasta, it is best consumed then and there…not reheated.


Calories: 418kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 24gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 711mgPotassium: 409mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 2831IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 136mgIron: 2mg
Keyword easy meals, healthy creamy pasta, healthy meals, pesto pasta, pesto shrimp pasta, ready in 25 minutes, shrimp pasta
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


    1. Author

      You are welcome, Gerry! Thanks for visiting. Let us know how it turns out.

  1. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! Not only is it easy to prepare but delicious!

5 from 5 votes

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