Healthy Tomato “Cream” Sauce with Roasted Shrimp Pasta
Sometimes, I pretend that I could make it on the East Coast.
In my favor: American history is one of my favorite subjects (I completely nerded out on Boston’s Freedom Trail), I adore big cities and quaint towns alike (the East Coast is packed with both), and my accent might make me cute and interesting.
Not in my favor: I have a sensitive Midwest heart, regularly greet total strangers on the sidewalk, and despise traffic. Admittedly, I’m playing on stereotypes here. Please forgive me, and then talk to my friends out East—they’ll agree that my excessive Midwest friendliness belongs on this side of the Mississippi.
Why I’ll keep pretending: I am spellbound by seafood, and the East Coast is filled to the gills with it.
With few exceptions, I will eat just any animal whose natural habitat is a large body of water. Oysters? Love ’em. Squid? Done. Sea urchin? Not yet, but I spied them on Bizarre Foods and am totally down.
Someday, I will take an East Coast road trip organized entirely by seafood destinations. The trip will dangerously start in Maine and might end there too, since I don’t know if I will be capable of parting with the lobster, ever.
Life in a landlocked state and on a budget generally limits my fresh seafood intake to special dinners out. The frozen alternatives, while affordable, can taste like seawater mush if the wrong ingredient or recipe is chosen. Frozen shrimp, however, I have found to be a successful ingredient to add to stir fries (see shrimp fried rice), baked dishes (try swapping it for chicken in these easy enchiladas), and pastas, particularly this hearty Healthy Tomato “Cream” Sauce with Roasted Shrimp Pasta.
Oven roasting the shrimp before adding them to the pasta is the trick. It enhances their flavor and texture significantly so that you avoid the “mush” factor that can occur when frozen seafood thaws.
The sauce is rich, hearty, and healthy. Greek yogurt and evaporated milk create the same effect as heavy cream without the fat, and jarred pasta sauce + frozen veggies slash the prep time, making this dish one of my weeknight go-tos.
Whether you are looking for a time-saving meal at the holidays, a satisfying dish on little dollars, or to feed your seafood fetish, this Healthy Tomato “Cream” Sauce with Roasted Shrimp Pasta recipe is for you.
Now, who wants to meet me in Maine?
Want more frozen seafood ideas? Try these Tilapia Burgers
If you haven’t already, enter here for a chance to win the handmade apron of your choice from a unique Etsy shop.
Healthy Tomato “Cream” Sauce with Roasted Shrimp Pasta
Healthy tomato cream sauce using greek yogurt recipe. Served with roasted shrimp.
Yield: Serves 6
- 12 oz. (about 3/4 standard-size box) whole wheat spaghetti or your long noodle of choice (linguini, fettuccine...)
- 1 T. + 1/2 tsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, diced and divided
- 1 T. minced garlic, divided
- 2 tsp. red pepper flakes, divided
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper, divided
- 2 (12 oz.) bags frozen bell peppers (or the fresh equivalent or your veggies of choice), thawed and drained
- 1 c. prepared pasta sauce (I like Newman's Own)
- 2 (14.5 oz.) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 1/4 c. milk (I use non-fat evaporated milk for the extra creaminess, but any milk will work just fine)
- 1 c. non-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 (10 oz.) pack frozen spinach, thawed with excess moisture squeezed out
- 1 lb. (16 oz.) frozen shrimp, thawed and deveined with tails removed
- Grated Parmesan cheese (optional, for serving)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta as directed, drain, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a dutch oven or large pot, heat 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil over medium. Add half of diced onions and sauté until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 tsp. (equivalent of 1/2 T.) garlic, 1 tsp. red pepper flakes, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Sauté 2-3 minutes more. Turn heat to medium high. Add red peppers and continue to cook until fully heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Return heat to medium. Add 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil, remaining onion, and remaining garlic. Cook until onions soften slightly, about 2 minutes. Add prepared pasta sauce and diced tomatoes, one can drained and the second can with all the liquid. Turn up heat until mixture begins to bubble, stirring frequently.
- Reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Stir in milk. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place shrimp on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper, tossing shrimp to coat as needed. Roast in preheated oven, just until pink and no longer translucent, 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Once sauce has thickened, add remaining 1 tsp. red pepper flakes. Stir in Greek yogurt until combined. Stir in spinach. Add peppers and shrimp and stir until heated through. Last, add prepared pasta, stirring to coat evenly with sauce. Serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese as desired.
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