When dinner needs to be something different look no further than our perfectly cooked shrimp paired with zucchini noodles with pesto! This one-pot dish starts with sauteed shrimp, adds in some fresh zucchini noodles, and is topped with a brilliant homemade pesto that is so much easier than you think. Even better, this WHOLE LOTTA YUM pesto zoodles with shrimp dinner cooks up in about 20 minutes.
Pesto Zoodles with Shrimp
Since our family has gone keto, we have had to adapt a lot of different foods to meet our new dietary criteria. The journey has been a good one though as we have found the health benefits of a low-carb lifestyle far outweigh our old eating habits.
Zoodles quickly became a family staple, well before the rest of the world caught on. Zucchini noodles are a perfect way to enjoy pasta dishes and they work well with a variety of sauces – including pesto! After a few minutes of prep work, we are able to enjoy all of the previously carbohydrate-loaded dishes we used to eat without sacrificing flavor.
Pesto is a simple Italian sauce that combines garlic, salt, basil, and cheese. When combined with zoodles, the garlic and basil both stand out, but do not overpower the subtly of the cheese or zoodles. Topping the pesto zucchini noodles with shrimp offers a dinner that is light yet filling, and ripe with flavor.
While we generally serve pesto zoodles with shrimp as a complete meal, you can always pair it with a side salad, top it with additional cheese, or serve it with breadsticks for your non-low-carb guests.
Why You’ll Love This!
- Sauteed shrimp cooks up quickly and waits patiently while you prepare the rest of this dish.
- Zucchini noodles are an excellent way to increase your vegetable intake while keeping your dishes low-carb and keto-friendly.
- As a complete meal, pesto zoodles with shrimp works well for keto, low-carb, and gluten-free eating plans. By themselves, pesto zucchini noodles provide the perfect vegetarian or vegan dish.
- Homemade pesto sauce tops this dish with amazing flavor but doesn’t overpower the rest of the ingredients.
If you love to utilize zucchini noodles in your keto and low-carb lifestyle, be sure to check out these other zoodle recipes including zoodle carbonara, keto alfredo sauce with zoodles, and chicken zoodle soup.
Or give these zucchini chips a try, along with our zucchini curry and roasted baby zucchini. All of these recipes are perfectly keto-friendly.
While this recipe has a large assortment of ingredients, especially if you opt for homemade pesto, don’t be overwhelmed. With a little bit of prep work, the whole thing comes together quickly allowing you to create a restaurant-quality meal your whole family will enjoy.
- raw shrimp – peeled (leaving tails on is optional)
- zucchini – spiralized
- olive oil
- pesto sauce – homemade recipe below or jarred
- Optional garnish – Shredded parmesan cheese
To make dinner super fast and in less than 20 minutes, by all means, feel free to use a jarred pesto sauce! However, we highly recommend homemade pesto sauce. Once you start making your own pesto, you won’t ever go back to the pre-packaged kind.
Just one batch of pesto makes more than you’ll need for this recipe. This is the same sauce that we also use in our homemade pesto recipe. We do recommend you read that post as well, since it teaches you how to store and freeze leftovers, plus gives you lots of ideas on what to do with leftover pesto.
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, dried
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup parmesan, grated or shredded
- Change things up by swapping out shrimp for chicken. These pan-fried chicken tenders pair nicely with zoodles and pesto.
- Vegan/Vegetarian – Opt to go meatless and simply serve your pesto zoodles for a great vegan/vegetarian option.
- Keto/Low-Carb – While our homemade pesto with zoodles and shrimp is a low-carb/keto meal, if you opt for jarred pesto be sure to read the label to ensure it complies.
Step by Step Instructions
You want to spiralize the zucchini before you start cooking, this recipe cooks up super fast in less than 15 minutes, so you want to have everything prepped before you start.
Spiralize the zucchini or buy zoodles ready to go from the grocery store.
If you’re making homemade pesto sauce, you’ll want to do that before you start cooking. If you’re using a jarred grocery store pesto, skip ahead to cooking the shrimp and zucchini.
To make the homemade pesto: In a food processor with the machine running, mince the garlic until fine, and add the remaining ingredients. Puree into a smooth paste, scraping the bowl down a couple of times if needed.
This makes more pesto than you’ll need for the recipe. Use the leftovers to mix with soups, eggs, or more zoodles. The sauce freezes for up to 6 months.
Heat 2 T olive oil heat in a skillet on medium-high heat. Cut the olive oil back to 1 Tbsp if you’re using a non-stick pan.
Add the shrimp and cook it for 1 minute, until the shrimp turns pink. Only cook the shrimp until it’s just done.
Remove the shrimp from the pan and set it aside, keeping it warm in a covered dish.
Turn the burner down to medium heat.
Cook the low-carb zoodles in the pan for 4-5 minutes, stirring them frequently.
Cooking them for 4-minutes will make “al Dente” zucchini noodles that are still slightly crisp and are a bright green shade. Opting to cook the zoodles for 5 minutes will remove the crisp and make a softer zoodle.
Zucchini is 90% liquid, so we recommend draining the zoodles before adding the shrimp and pesto. If you opt to not drain the zucchini, it will water down your pesto.
Add 2-3 Tbsp of the pesto sauce to the zucchini noodles.
If the shrimp is still warm you can just add it to the top of the shrimp zoodles and serve it immediately. You can also add the shrimp back to the pan to heat them slightly before serving.
Serve immediately. Garnish with more parmesan, fresh basil, or additional pesto on the side.
Serves 4. Enjoy!
- Be sure you are working with a warm pan before adding shrimp or zoodles to your pan. This will prevent sticking and ensure even cooking.
- It may be tempting to skip the prep work but this dish comes together super quickly. Be sure your zoodles and pesto are ready to be used before you start warming your skillet.
- Cook your zoodles for 4 minutes for an “al dente” style zoodle. Cook your zoodles for 5 minutes if you prefer a softer zoodle.
- As zoodles are 90% water, drain them after cooking so you don’t water down your pesto.
- Save any leftover pesto zoodles in the fridge and enjoy a super tasty low-carb lunch later in the week.
Although this keto pesto zoodles with shrimp dinner is a complete meal, feel free to pair it with a side salad, an additional vegetable dish, or breadsticks for your non-low-carb family members.
Our pesto zoodles recipe makes enough for four servings, and each serving contains just 322 calories, including the shrimp. The calorie count is based on using our homemade pesto sauce. If you opt for storebought pesto, the calorie count may change.
You can store any leftover zoodles with pesto you have in the fridge in a covered container. For best results, eat within 2-3 days.
Other Keto Zucchini Recipes
Looking for more keto zucchini recipes?
- Keto Zucchini Carbonara
- Keto alfredo sauce with zoodles
- Zucchini and tomato curry
- Roasted baby zucchini
- Keto Chicken noodle soup with zoodles
- 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled (leaving tails on is optional)
- 1 1/2-2 lb zucchini, spiralized
- 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 Tbsp prepared pesto sauce (homemade recipe below)
- Optional garnish - Shredded parmesan cheese
Prep the Ingredients
- Spiralize the zucchini or buy zoodles ready to go from the grocery store. If you're making homemade pesto sauce, you'll want to do that before you start cooking. If you're using a jarred grocery store pesto, skip ahead to cooking the shrimp and zucchini.
2 tsp minced garlic
2 cups fresh basil leaves, dried
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup parmesan, grated or shredded
Making pesto sauce
- In a food processor with the machine running, mince the garlic until fine, and add the remaining ingredients. Puree into a smooth paste, scraping the bowl down a couple of times if needed.
- This makes more pesto than you'll need for the recipe, use the leftovers to mix with soups, eggs, or more zoodles. The sauce freezes for up to 6 months.
Cook the Shrimp
- Heat 2 T olive oil heat in a skillet on medium-high heat. Cut the olive oil back to 1 Tbsp if you're using a non-stick pan.
- Add the shrimp and cook it for 1 minute, until the shrimp turns pink. Only cook the shrimp until it's just done.
- Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside, keeping it warm in a covered dish.
Cooking the Zoodles
- Turn the burner down to medium heat.
- Cook the low carb zoodles in the pan for 4-5 minutes, stirring them frequently.
- Cooking them for 4-minutes will make “al Dente” zucchini noodles that are still slightly crisp and are a bright green shade.
- Zucchini is 90% liquid, we recommend draining the zoodles before adding the shrimp and pesto.
- Add the 2-3 Tbsp of the pesto sauce to the zucchini noodles.
- If the shrimp is still warm you can just add it to the top of the shrimp zoodles and serve it immediately. You can also add the shrimp back to the pan to heat them slightly before serving.
- Serve immediately. Garnish with more parmesan, fresh basil, or additional pesto on the side. Serves 4. Enjoy!
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 322Total Fat 22gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 16gCholesterol 150mgSodium 796mgCarbohydrates 12gNet Carbohydrates 8 net carbsgFiber 4gSugar 6gProtein 22g