This healthy, quick, and easy Garlic Shrimp Pasta tastes like the special date-night dinner but requires very little effort. With nutritious veggies, shrimp, and scampi-inspired lemon garlic white wine sauce, this pasta dish is sure to impress for any occasion.
Shrimp pasta has a fancy feel to it, but shrimp themselves are a weeknight dinner superhero.
This homemade garlic shrimp pasta certainly makes me feel like a fancy restaurant chef (same with Seafood Pasta), but its quick and simple preparation makes it a deliciously doable recipe that even beginner cooks can serve with confidence and success.
It’s the perfect balance between healthy and indulgent, easy and impressive, and ultimately, down-right delicious.
5 Star Review
“Made this for dinner tonight and… WOW. For such a simple recipe, the flavors came together sooo nicely!”— Codi —
How to Make the Best Garlic Shrimp Pasta
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 Baked Shrimp Scampi pasta but is much lighter.
I opted to make this garlic shrimp pasta without cream and no butter.
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 simply didn’t need it.
- 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. Rich in selenium, choline, and vitamin B12, shrimp are a nutritious protein source that can be ready to eat in less than four minutes. FOUR. It’s why they’re included in so many of my best 30-minute meal recipes.
- Vegetables. Use any mix of fresh vegetables you like, or to save time chopping, feel free to use frozen vegetables. They’re frozen shortly after being picked, so they maintain their nutritional value. Best of all: you don’t have to chop them.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cook and drain the pasta, reserving some of the pasta water.
- 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. Shrimp cooks in 3 to 4 minutes.
- Cook the vegetables and remaining spices in the skillet until hot.
- Add the white wine and shrimp to the skillet. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss. Serve warm with Parmesan and parsley. ENJOY!
A dry white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, would pair nicely with this dish.
- Garlic Butter Shrimp Pasta. If you’d like this to be more indulgent, you could sauté the shrimp in unsalted butter instead of olive oil. This recipe for Garlic Butter Shrimp is a great recipe to follow for a garlic butter sauce.
- Creamy Garlic Shrimp Pasta. If you’re up for experimenting, you could also try adding a splash of heavy cream to this recipe. Otherwise, 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.
- Not a Shrimp Fan? Check out Garlic Pasta with olive oil and Parmesan.
- Not a Fan of Spice? The amount of red pepper flakes in this easy shrimp pasta recipe is variable. Our house likes spicy garlic shrimp pasta, 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. (This Mediterranean Shrimp is a more mild recipe you could try too that can be served with pasta.)
- Garlic Shrimp Pasta Penne. I love the elegance linguine (or angel hair pasta) gives this dish. If you prefer short-cut pasta (more kid-friendly), you could swap for penne, rotini, or bowtie 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.
- To Freeze. Can you freeze shrimp pasta? Technically, yes, it can 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
While this garlic shrimp pasta is hearty enough for a stand-alone meal, here are some suggestions for side dishes that pair well with it.
- Roasted Vegetables. Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Cauliflower, or Roasted Zucchini all pair nicely with pasta and shrimp.
- Salad. Try a simple Arugula Salad or a hearty Italian Chopped Salad.
- Italian Bread. No one will say no to a fluffy slice of No Knead Focaccia.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Pasta Pot. 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.
What? You’re making creamy shrimp pasta for dinner?
Add a chair (and an extra glass of wine) to the table. I’ll be there in 30!
Frequently Asked Questions
Sure! If you would like to swap the raw shrimp for precooked shrimp, you will want to add them to the garlic and shallots long enough to simply coat them in the mixture. Any longer and you’ll risk overcooking the shrimp.
Shrimp are quick to cook, making them VERY easy to overcook. Tough or chewy shrimp are often the result of overcooking. Make sure to cook the shrimp just until they turn pink and are no longer translucent. Any longer, and you risk them becoming tough. Shrimp typically cook in 3 to 4 minutes.
No. While often used interchangeably in many recipes due to their similar taste, appearance, and cooking time, prawns and shrimp are actually two different crustaceans. With that said, you can certainly make this a garlic prawns and pasta recipe if prawns are more accessible to you.
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 the remaining water, and then toss with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, rinse the shrimp and pat dry. (Peel, devein, and remove the tails if necessary)
- 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 for 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 heat. 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.
- 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.
- TO FREEZE: This garlic shrimp pasta in olive oil recipe can be frozen, but I find it does not retain its texture as well. Hence, I recommend avoiding the freezer if possible.
- GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: 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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