When you're looking for a quick and healthy dinner everyone will love, you'll love 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 store-bought or 5-minute homemade pesto. Even better, this WHOLE LOTTA YUM pesto zoodles with shrimp dinner cooks up in about 20 minutes.
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Pesto Zoodles with Shrimp
Zoodles have quickly become a family staple since my husband started a low carb diet and I can't eat gluten. 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, you can enjoy all of the previously carbohydrate-loaded dishes you 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.
Serve the pesto zoodles with shrimp with a side salad, top it with additional cheese and pesto if desired, or meal prep it for work lunches - it's delicious both warm and cold!
Why You'll Love This!
- Sauteed shrimp cooks up quickly (in just 1-2 minutes!) and it 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, healthy pesto zoodles with shrimp works well for keto, low-carb, and gluten-free eating plans. By themselves, pesto zucchini noodles provide the perfect vegetarian dish.
- Homemade pesto sauce tops this dish with amazing flavor but doesn't overpower the rest of the ingredients. But to make the recipe come together even quicker, you can sub your favorite store-bought pesto sauce.
- raw shrimp - peeled (leaving tails on is optional)
- zucchini - spiralized
- extra virgin olive oil
- pesto sauce - homemade recipe below or store-bought
- Optional garnish - Shredded parmesan cheese, fresh basil leaves, dollops of pesto sauce
Just one batch of pesto makes more than you'll need for this recipe, we share our 5 minute recipe and it actually makes double what you'll need - just freeze the leftovers for later! This is the same sauce that we also use in our homemade pesto recipe.
- 2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ 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.
How to Make Zucchini and Shrimp
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 tablespoon 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 tablespoon 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!
- This recipe comes together lightening fast, make sure you've prepped everything in advance.
- We recommend just cooking the zoodles until they're still a little crisp or al dente, they'll continue cooking when they rest. Overcooked zoodles = soggy zucchini.
- Since 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 meal prep 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 store-bought 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.
More Low Carb Zucchini Recipes
- Keto Zucchini Carbonara
- Keto alfredo sauce with zoodles
- Zucchini and tomato curry
- Roasted baby zucchini
- Keto Chicken noodle soup with zoodles