Garlic Shrimp Pasta
Filed under recipes that make me feel like a fancy restaurant chef, even though what I’m actually doing is stirring noodles and drinking wine: Garlic Shrimp Pasta! This quick, easy, and healthy shrimp recipe tastes like the sort of special date-night dinner I crave on a Friday, all for the level of effort I’m willing to put in on a Thursday. Read: VERY LITTLE EFFORT.
This shrimp pasta feels part hold-me-I-love-you, part give-me-carbs-I-love-myself.
Even if the only creamy pasta you’ve made before came out of a blue box, this is so utterly, deliciously doable that you can cook it with confidence and success.
Perhaps you need a simple weeknight meal (ALWAYS). Perhaps you are cooking for a special someone (I hear there’s an upcoming holiday that starts with a “v,” rhymes with “alentine’s,” and ends in chocolate). Perhaps you just really love noodles. I and garlic shrimp pasta stand beside you.
This healthy garlic shrimp pasta has my ideal pasta/veg/protein ratio. You’ll find oodles of color twisted in with the noodles. The pasta is clearly present, but you won’t feel like you’re eating giant pile of mostly spaghetti with a few casual veggies and a scarce shrimp or two dotted sparsely throughout, as if they’re being rationed.
This creamy lemon garlic shrimp pasta is bright, beautiful, and brimming with healthy ingredients. Count me in!
How to Make Easy Garlic Shrimp Pasta (FAST and DELISH)
Although this healthy garlic shrimp pasta does take advantage of freezer shortcuts, it still tastes fresh and lively thanks to an infusion of boldly flavored ingredients. Flavor-wise, this recipe is similar to a garlic shrimp scampi pasta but is much lighter.
I didn’t use any butter or cream—I found that with the vibrancy of the garlic, the freshness of the lemon zest, and the perk of the Parmesan cheese, the shrimp pasta didn’t need it.
This easy recipe cooks in three parts: the veggies, the lemon-garlic shrimp, and the pasta noodles themselves. The shrimp and vegetables cook quickly, so you’ll likely have them sautéed and ready to stir together by the time the pasta water has boiled.
- Linguine. Whole-wheat pasta or similar thin pasta noodles are the best for this dish. The whole-wheat noodles help make this recipe healthier, as they contain more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than white pasta.
- Shrimp. Fresh or frozen works here. I can hear the seafood purists on my tail now. Speaking of tails, you can buy frozen raw shrimp with the tails (and veins and shells) already removed and save yourself some much-deserved additional time. Frozen shrimp thaw quickly and cook in less than four minutes. FOUR. I can’t even check Instagram that quickly.
- Another vote in favor of frozen: Unless you live near the ocean, the shrimp you buy “fresh” at the grocery usually arrived frozen, then are thawed prior to being sold. If you truly want to spring for fresh shrimp, it’s worth asking to make sure you are receiving a better quality product.
- Vegetables. I used a mixture of shallots and mixed vegetables (again, fresh or frozen vegetables will work). When hearty winter potatoes and I need to go on a break, frozen vegetables are my saving grace. They’re frozen shortly after being picked, so they maintain their nutritional value. They’re never out of season, and best of all: I don’t have to chop them.
- You can use fresh vegetables too, but frozen is a true time and money savings, especially in the winter. Don’t be afraid to try it. You can also feel free to swap in other vegetables you enjoy. For example, I love this Spicy Shrimp Pasta with broccoli and bell peppers.
- Garlic. The star of this dish. The garlic perfectly complements the lemon and white wine sauce.
- If you’re a fan of this shrimp + garlic combo, you’ll love this Garlic Shrimp with Quinoa.
- Red Pepper Flakes. To keep everyone awake. I add a healthy pinch; feel free to add more or less to taste.
- White Wine. For flavor and for drinking while you cook (I call that a win!). I recommend using a dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc. If you prefer to make this dish wine free, you can substitute low-sodium chicken broth.
- Lemon Juice + Zest. Adds freshness, brightness, and vibrance to this delish lemon garlic shrimp pasta.
- Toppings. Freshly grated Parmesan and fresh parsley are my favorites. They give this recipe a scampi-esque flair, similar to my low carb Healthy Shrimp Scampi.
Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the water, reserving some for later, and then toss the noodles with a bit of oil to keep them from sticking.
Rinse and dry the shrimp. Cook the shallot in a large skillet until fragrant. Add the garlic and then the shrimp, topping with the spices. When shrimp is cooked through, remove it to a plate. How long should you cook shrimp? It will likely take about 3 to 4 minutes to cook.
Cook the vegetables and remaining spices in the skillet until hot. Add the white wine and shrimp into the skillet. Stir in the lemon zest and juice.
Add the pasta to the skillet and toss. Serve warm with Parmesan and parsley. ENJOY!
Recipe Adaptations and Inspiration
- Butter Garlic Shrimp Pasta. If you’d like this to be more indulgent, you could sauté the shrimp in butter instead of olive oil. This recipe for Baked Shrimp Scampi is a great recipe to follow.
- Creamy Garlic Shrimp Pasta. For more creamy options, check out my Spinach Ravioli with Shrimp. This Lemon Shrimp Pasta with Orzo is another favorite.
- Not a Garlic Fan? As its name suggests, this easy garlic shrimp pasta is not shy in the garlic arena. If you’re not a garlic fan, you may want to scale it back a little. OR you can fully embrace your garlic destiny, serve this pasta with garlic bread, and see how much your date really is into you ;-)
- Not a Fan of Spice? The amount of red pepper flakes in this easy shrimp pasta recipe is variable. Our house likes a good kick, so I used a full teaspoon, but if any members of your household are sensitive to spice, I recommend scaling back by at least half.
How to Store and Reheat Garlic Shrimp Pasta
- To Store. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Reheat very gently with a splash of water or chicken broth to keep the pasta from drying out.
- Can You Freeze Shrimp Pasta? This recipe can also be frozen, but I find it does not retain its texture as well, so I recommend avoiding the freezer if possible.
What to Serve with Shrimp Pasta
- A Crisp Green Salad. Anytime Arugula Salad or Caesar Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Crispy Chickpea Croutons would both be a delicious and healthy side for this scampi.
- Sautéed or Roasted Veggies. Roasted Frozen Broccoli and Sautéed Brussels Sprouts are both simple and tasty sides.
- Bread. Rosemary Olive Oil Bread is the ultimate way to sop up any sauce lingering in the skillet.
More Healthy Shrimp Recipes
Recommended Tools to Make Garlic Shrimp Pasta
- Stockpot. This one has a removable strainer insert, which saves me from dumping the pasta water by mistake (you want to reserve some for this recipe!).
- Non-slip Cutting Board. A safer and easier place to chop.
- Garlic Press. My favorite way to save time during prep.
Garlic Shrimp Pasta
- 8 ounces whole-wheat linguine - or similar thin pasta noodles
- 1 pound fresh or frozen raw shrimp - peeled, tails removed (if frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil - divided
- 1 shallot - peeled and diced
- 5 cloves garlic - minced
- 1/2-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes - divided (use less if sensitive to spice; 1 teaspoon will have a good kick)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt - divided
- 1 teaspoon black pepper - divided
- 24 ounces mixed vegetables - of your choice, fresh or frozen. If frozen, thaw and drain
- 1/4 cup dry white wine - such as Sauvignon Blanc (or substitute low-sodium chicken broth)
- Zest and juice of 1 large or 2 small lemons
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese - plus additional as desired
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley - plus additional as desired
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water, drain remaining water, and then toss with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, rinse the shrimp and pat dry. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 additional minute. Add the shrimp, and then sprinkle with half the amount of red pepper (1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon depending upon your desired spice level), 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Sauté, stirring to coat with garlic, just until cooked through (both sides will be pink and opaque), about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high. Add the vegetables and the remaining 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cook until the vegetables are hot and lightly sautéed, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the white wine and return the shrimp to the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes, allowing the wine to reduce. Stir in the lemon zest and juice and remove from heat.
- Add the pasta to the skillet and toss. If the pasta is too dry, add a bit of the reserved pasta water. Serve warm, topped with Parmesan and parsley.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat very gently with a splash of water or chicken broth to keep the pasta from drying out. (This recipe can also be frozen, but I find it does not retain its texture as well, so I recommend avoiding the freezer if possible.)
- To make gluten free: Use gluten-free pasta noodles and rinse them before adding them to the pan with the other ingredients in Step 4.
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