Sun-Dried Tomato Shrimp Pesto Pasta

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta on your table in 20 minutes!

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta loaded with juicy shrimp and bathed in a sun-dried tomato pesto that is OUT OF THIS WORLD!  This quick an easy dinner boasts more flavor than a 5 star restaurant at a fraction of the cost!  It is guaranteed to become a new favorite that is easy enough for everyday but gourmet enough for special occasions and company.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta on a plate with basil.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Recipe

You guys know I love pasta, from Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta, Shrimp Fettuccine, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Weeknight Spaghetti Bolognese, Million Dollar Mac and Cheese and  Chicken Parmesan with spaghetti, but I am not exaggerating when I say this sun-dried tomato pesto pasta is one of my favorite pastas of ALL time.  I kid not.  Not when it comes to Sun-Dried Tomato Shrimp Pesto Pasta!

This shrimp pasta is quick and easy – 20 minutes or less – but the flavors are out of this world thanks to the sun-dried tomato basil pesto.  This pesto deserves its very own recipe.  It’s tangy, garlicky, herby, salty and packs a flavorful punch – you will want to use it on everything!

The shrimp gets cooked in the pesto so it soaks up all the magnificent flavor then bathes the succulent shrimp and the pasta.  It’s intoxicating.  And did I say only 20 minutes already?

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Ingredients

This sun-dried tomato pasta is only as good as the pesto, so I created a jaw-dropping delicious Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto. It combines:

  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • fresh basil
  • almonds
  • shallots
  • garlic
  • balsamic vinegar
  • tomato paste
  • red pepper flakes
  • oregano
  • salt
  • pepper

In addition to the pesto ingredients, you’ll also need:

  • linguine
  • large shrimp
  • grated Parmesan cheese

Ingredient FAQ’s

Do I have to use shrimp?

If you don’t have shrimp on hand or you want to make this Shrimp Pesto Pasta more economical, you can easily replace the shrimp with chicken for an equally delicious dish! Simply chop the chicken into bite size pieces and cook them just like you would the shrimp.

Can I use other noodles?

Shrimp Pesto Pasta is delicious with any type of pasta!  I prefer linguine, but you can use spaghetti, angel hair pasta, rigatoni, penne or fettuccine. Really any pasta will work, just make sure it is cooked al dente!

This Shrimp Pesto Pasta could also be turned into a rice dish by stirring into rice or even over spaghetti squash or zoodles for a low carb alternative.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta on a plate being scooped with tongs.

What Shrimp is Best for Shrimp Tomato Pasta?

For this easy shrimp pasta recipe, you are going to want to use shrimp that is:

  • 31/35 count/pound
  • Raw
  • Shelled
  • Deveined
  • Defrosted (if it’s been frozen)

You can purchase shrimp that is larger or smaller.  If it’s smaller, you want to sauté your pesto for a minute before adding the shrimp to give the aromatics more time tot cook.

HOW DO I DEFROST SHRIMP?

I usually purchase frozen shrimp so can keep it stocked at all times to make easy recipes like this Shrimp Pesto Pasta.   I purchase shrimp that is shelled and deveined so all that’s left to do is defrost.

To defrost shrimp:

  • Quick Defrost: Place the frozen shrimp in a colander then place the colander in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with cold tap water and let it sit for 10 minutes.   After 10 minutes, replace the water with new cold tap water and submerge the shrimp again.  Let shrimp sit an additional 10- 20 minutes.  If the shrimp isn’t completely defrosted, then repeat.
  • Easy Defrost: The easiest way to defrost your shrimp in the refrigerator overnight.

How do you clean shrimp before cooking?

If you can’t get your hands on peeled and deveined shrimp, it is easy to do, just will take your Shrimp Pesto Past from 20 minutes to 35 minutes 🙂

  1. First, locate the vein in the shrimp running along its back.
  2. Make a shallow cut with and use the tip of the knife to lift it out.
  3. The veins and shells can then be thrown away.
  4. Rinse the shrimp and lay on a paper towel to dry.

How to Make Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Shrimp

I know you might be tempted to purchase pesto to make Shrimp Pesto Pasta, and that is totally fine – it will just be a different recipe. For this Shrimp Pesto Pasta recipe, you want THIS sun-dried tomato pesto – AND it is super easy to make!

Showing how to make Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto by blending fresh herbs in food processor.

To make pesto, add all of the pesto ingredients to a food processor and process until finely chopped. You want your pesto to be thick, creamy and smooth.

Showing how to make Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto by blending raws ingredients.

Once you process your pesto (in literally, just a couple minutes) comes the best part –  add it to your skillet along with your shrimp and saute your shrimp in the sun-dried pesto glory…

Showing how to make Sun-Dried Tomato Shrimp Pesto Pasta by cooking shrimp in pesto.

Add some Parmesan along with your linguine and some reserved pasta water, and you have the most dynamite, restaurant-worthy (I dare to say better than restaurant worthy)  pasta in under 20 minutes!

How to Tell When Shrimp Is Done Cooking

Color:  Raw shrimp starts off  translucent gray and turns pink and opaque when it is cooked.  Your shrimp is done as soon as it is fully opaque without any gray left.  The best place to check your shrimp for doneness is the crevice in the back of the shrimp where the vein was removed.  When the base of this crevice becomes opaque, the shrimp is done.

Showing how to make Sun-Dried Tomato Shrimp Pesto Pasta by adding pasta to the shrimp and pesto.

Tips for Making Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta

  • Use pine nuts, if desired: I use almonds in my pesto because I love a good almond pesto and I always have them on hand, but you are welcome to substitute them with pine nuts if you prefer.
  • Thin the pesto, if needed: Add olive oil one tablespoon at a time to loosen the pesto. You can also thin it with reserved pasta water once its added to the pasta.
  • Shrimp tails on or off? I recommend cooking your shrimp with the tails on because the tail shells contain flavor that seeps out and we get more robust shrimp flavor. Once your shrimp is cooked and resting you can remove the tails if you desire.

Recipe Variations to Try

  • Can I use a different protein?  I know this is Sun-Dried Tomato SHRIMP Pasta, but that doesn’t mean you can’t turn it into Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Pasta – or even smoked sausage! Toss bite-size raw pieces of chicken breasts or thighs with the shrimp marinade and continue with the recipe. 
  • Can I make it vegetarian?  You can make this pasta vegetarian by omitting the shrimp – although you will miss the succulent morsels!  You can add in firm tofu or extra veggies such as mushrooms or zucchini. 
  • Can I make it spicier? Absolutely! Add additional red pepper flakes to taste but be careful, a little goes a long way!

Can I add Vegetables to Shrimp Pesto Pasta?

Absolutely!  Any of the following veggies would taste fantastic with your Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta:

  • zucchini
  • broccoli
  • mushrooms
  • carrots
  • asparagus
  • peas
  • green beans
  • red bell peppers

Sun-Dried Tomato Shrimp Pesto Pasta in a pan

What can I use as a garnish?

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta is fabulous all on its own but is made even more delicious with the addition of:

  • Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Fresh herbs (parsley or basil)
  • Pine nuts

How to Reheat Sun-Dried Tomato Shrimp Basil Pasta

  • Microwave:  Add a splash of chicken broth or water to your individual serving of Shrimp Pesto Pasta.  You don’t need to stir it in yet.  Microwave for one minute, stir, then continue to heat at 30 second intervals until warmed through.
  • Stove:  For larger portions, reheat Shrimp Pesto Pasta on the stove.  You will need to add a splash of chicken broth or water to loosen the pesto.

How to Store Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Shrimp

Shrimp Pesto Pasta should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  When properly stored, shrimp pasta is good for 3 days.

CAN I PREPARE SHRIMP PESTO PASTA AHEAD OF TIME?

To make your Shrimp Pesto pasta come together even more quickly, you can make your pesto up to 5 days in advance and store it an airtight container in the refrigerator.  The pesto will solidify a little in the refrigerator but will loosen once you heat it the skillet.

You can also prepare your pasta in advance.  Take care you cook it al dente, rinse in cold water and toss in a drizzle of olive oil to keep it from sticking together.  Store in an airtight container.

A tall stack of Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta on a plate with basil.

What to Serve with Shrimp Tomato Pasta

Shrimp Pesto Pasta is delicious with roasted vegetables, a big salad and bread.  Some of my favorite pairings include:

LOOKING FOR MORE SHRIMP RECIPES?

A close up of Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta on a fork.

20 Minute Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Shrimp Pasta

Shrimp Pesto Pasta on your table in 20 minutes! This pasta is loaded with juicy shrimp and bathed in a sun-dried tomato pesto that is OUT OF THIS WORLD!  This quick an easy dinner boasts more flavor than a 5 star restaurant at a fraction of the cost!  It is guaranteed to become a new favorite that is easy enough for everyday but gourmet enough for special occasions and company
Servings: 6 -8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound linguine
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Pesto

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta in salted water. Once al dente, drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  • Meanwhile, add Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Pesto ingredients to a food processor and process until finely chopped.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Pesto and saute for 1 minute. Add shrimp and continue to saute just until shrimp are opaque. Stir in Parmesan cheese until mostly melted, then add pasta and toss to coat, adding enough reserved pasta water to moisten to desired consistency (I used ¾ cup).
  • Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

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34 Comments

  1. Dorothy Dunton says

    Hi Jen! OMG this is making me very hungry! I showed it to my husband a few minutes ago and he said “so you want this for dinner?” I’m laid up right now with back problems so he has been doing all the cooking (which he is really good at). That said, I am missing coking! All of your recipes look so good and I think I’ll take my husband up on his dinner offer! 🙂

  2. Jen says

    Hi Dorothy, I am so sorry you are having back problems, I hope you feel better quickly! I am happy to hear though that your husband is taking good care of you – very good care of you with this pasta no less :)! I hope you both enjoy it!!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Becky, you are too kind! I hope you love it – its a good one :)!

  3. Keiko Pack says

    Hi Jen!! I found your site a while ago, and I have been enjoying your recipes!! I meant to contact you earlier, but I always ended up with looking at your various great recipes and printing them out(there are a lot of them that I haven’t made, but I want to make), and getting late and tired, so anyway, here I am! I made “20 Minute Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Shrimp Pasta,” and it was sooooo good. I think I am going to buy more sun-dried tomato just for this recipe! I also made your caramel, and really like it. James really like it, too! Oh, your garlic Parmesan stick was so good, too. I served it to sister missionaries, and they really like it, too! Yummy!
    I am strengthen by your faith and testimony. Thank you for being such a great example. You are amazing! You really are. We would love to see you sometime. I would love to catch up with you!

    P.S. I remember going to Thai food and playing wolleyball with you. Fun memories! Please say hello to Patrick!

    • Jen says

      Oh my goodness Keiko, it is SO good to hear from you! Are you guys in San Diego? We definitely need to get together! I am so happy to hear you have been following my blog and enjoying my recipes – that is the highest compliment! and I am SO happy you loved this pasta so much much – yay! I would love to catch up but couldn’t find you on FB. Want to PM me and we can go out to lunch? I would love to see you, thanks for reaching out!

      • Keiko Pack says

        Hi Jen! It is so nice to hear from you, too!
        I don’t have FB account, but I just sent you a message. Please let me know when you get it.
        We live in 4 hours north from San Diego, but we visit San Diego often. Yes!! I would love to get together when we go there next time. By the way, I made “Easy garlic Parmesan breadstick” again tonight, and everyone loved it! Thank you for the yummy recipe!

        • Jen says

          I just got your email – thanks Keiko and responding now 🙂

  4. Vanessa says

    If I’m feeling a bit lazy and decide to use pesto from a jar, how much does this recipe call for please?

    • Jen says

      Hi Vanessa! I’m sorry but I have not measured it out because I make the pesto with the sundried tomatoes. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

      • Caytib says

        I only have a two cup processor and this just about filled it up, so about a cup and a half to two cups (12-16 oz)

  5. Cheryl says

    Hi Jen,
    Thank you so much for this yummy recipe! My whole family including my most fussy little eater love it! One question hope you can help. Can the pesto be kept in the fridge for about a week? I’m a working mum and it will definitely help if I could prepare this in the morning with the ready made pesto Keep up the great work Jen! Oh, will you be doing video tutorials?

    • Jen says

      Hi Cheryl, I think the pesto should keep pretty well for 5 days or so hopefully that will help with your busy schedule! I don’t plan on doing video tutorials right now, but that could change 🙂

  6. Raquel says

    Hello Jen!
    Just found this recipe on Pinterest and I would love to make it for Valentine’s Day! Just one question, do you add all of the oil from the sun dried tomatoes jar into the food processor with the tomatoes?

    • Jen says

      Hi Raquel! I am so happy you found this recipe and my site! Yes, you add all the oil in the jar – usually pesto has quite a bit of oil so this takes its place. Enjoy and Happy Early Valentines!

  7. Shelley says

    I pinned this recipe about 2 weeks ago because your pics were so beautiful and the recipe was simple. Finally got around to making it today and it was amazing. I didn’t have enough basil so I substituted a basil parsley mix. I also forgot to add tomato paste, but it was amazing anyway. Also added mushrooms. Will absolutely positively do this again. Thank you for this!!

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome Shelley, I LOVE hearing how much you loved this pasta especially because it is one of my favorites! I’m so happy you were able to make it and thank you for commenting! Have a beautiful Sunday!

  8. Kelly says

    Made the pesto yesterday because my basil was starting to shrivel. Probably won’t make the dish until Friday. Would you suggest freezing it? This will be the third time I’ve made this and it’s outstandingly delicious!

    • Jen says

      Hi Kelly! Homemade pesto should keep for up to one week in the fridge in an airtight container so you should be just fine without freezing it. Hope that helps! and I LOVE hearing this is the third time you’ve made this – yay!

  9. Arelys says

    Hi I was wondering what is the break down per serving?? Thank you!!

  10. amanda says

    wow, I love ALL of your recipes!!!! I think this is the best recipes that I have came across so far…. Thanks for sharing…. Cant wait to try ALL of them… LOL

    • Jen says

      Thank you so so much Amanda! I LOVE hearing you are enjoying my recipes! and you have great taste, this is one of my all time favs! Have fun eating your way through my recipes :)!

  11. Michelle Houghton-Fishwick says

    I just made this and it was absolutely delicious I will definitely be making this again and I’m going to share it with my Facebook family. It was sooooo easy to make! Thank you so much

    • Jen says

      You are SO welcome Michelle! I am thrilled you found it equally delicious and easy! Today I am actually sharing a Greek pasta salad based on this recipe because I love it so much. Thanks for sharing on FB!

  12. Doreen says

    This is delicious. Everything you said about it is true. I will be making this again!

    • Jen says

      Awesome Doreen, I’m thrilled you loved it as much as me! Thank you!!

  13. Jessica Dodds says

    I am getting ready to make this – how much tomato paste and balsamic vinegar do you put in? It’s not listed on the ingredients.

    Thanks!

    • Jessica Dodds says

      NEVERMIND my first question – I must be blind! It is there!!! Thanks.

    • Jen says

      It’s listed in the ingredients as 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon tomato paste – enjoy!

  14. cindyfromminneapolis says

    Hi Jen! We thoroughly enjoyed this sun dried tomato with basil and shrimp pasta last evening. It came together in absolutely no time and I was able to use a bunch of our garden basil when I doubled the pesto part of the recipe for future use. And thank you for doing the calculating for me…my husband had a friend over so there were only 3 of us. Sometimes after a 12 hour shift, I don’t like to use my brain any longer if you know what I mean! 🙂 Love your site! Thanks again.

    • Jen says

      Awesome Cindy, I’m thrilled you loved it and your garden basil sounds divine! I definitely know what you mean – my brain certainly shuts down – I won’t let myself write recipes after a certain point! Thanks for taking a time to comment, I’m so happy you are loving my site!

  15. FollowingFoxy says

    I made this for dinner tonight. Used pappardelle instead of linguine. SO. FRIGGIN’. GOOD.
    Thanks for the recipe!

    • Jen says

      You’re so welcome, I’m so pleased you loved it so much!

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