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This bowl of Cajun Garlic Butter Shrimp with Creamy Pesto Pasta is THE best any night of the week winter pasta. Taking a classic pesto pasta recipe and updating it with a no-cream, creamy pesto sauce, spicy garlic shrimp, and fresh greens. Every twirl of pasta has delicious and comforting fresh flavors that melt in your mouth. This is such a cozy, creamy bowl of shrimp and pasta.

Cajun Garlic Butter Shrimp with Creamy Pesto Pasta | halfbakedharvest.com

I was going to share another recipe today, but I’m so excited about this pasta that I just had to share it. Sometimes recipes take a long time to think up. Sometimes they take a long time to fully develop, but this was quick and easy. I got the idea to make a spicy, cajun-style shrimp pasta. But instead of making it super creamy and heavy, I wanted to make it with some more wholesome ingredients.

I made a few simple and easy swaps. The I added in so much color, plus some crispy, spicy shrimp, and my favorite homemade pesto pasta.

This dish comes together in minutes and it really is so delicious.

Cajun Garlic Butter Shrimp with Creamy Pesto Pasta | halfbakedharvest.com

The details on the pasta

I like to start with the pasta since the shrimp cooks up so quickly. I made my favorite basil pesto. The secret is to use a little jalapeño for an unexpected but delicious spicy kick. I know it sounds odd with all these Italian flavors, but if you love a Greek goddess style dressing, you’ll love this pesto. It’s very similar.

I like to toss in some arugula in addition to the basil. This adds vibrant color, flavor, and some much needed healthy greens!

Cajun Garlic Butter Shrimp with Creamy Pesto Pasta | halfbakedharvest.com

When the pesto is made, boil up your favorite cut of pasta. I really like using a longer cut…fettuccini or bucatini are my usual go-to’s. But something short-cut, like bow ties, is great with the shrimp too. You really can’t go wrong.

Add the hot pasta right back to that pot you boiled it in, then add all the pesto, and a splash of creamy coconut milk. The coconut milk helps to create a luscious sauce without adding in any cream. You don’t taste even the slightest hint of coconut!

Cajun Garlic Butter Shrimp with Creamy Pesto Pasta | halfbakedharvest.com

That spicy shrimp

I usually cook the shrimp while the pasta is boiling. It takes just a few minutes, so the timing is perfect.

The shrimp is pan seared in olive oil with cajun seasonings until both sides are browned. I love to make my own homemade cajun spice mix, but if you’re in a pinch, store-bought works too. Add a small pat of butter and a squeeze of lemon. They go a long way flavor-wise, especially with all the spices and garlic. Everything pairs so well together.

Cajun Garlic Butter Shrimp with Creamy Pesto Pasta | halfbakedharvest.com

To serve, I usually plate the pasta, then spoon the shrimp and any sauce left in the skillet over the noodles. This gives a nice, pretty presentation! Or, you can do it like my dad and simply toss everything together. Keep it simple.

Either way, is so good. Both the shrimp and pasta have so much flavor on their own. But put them together and you create a wonderfully delicious pasta plate.

Cajun Garlic Butter Shrimp with Creamy Pesto Pasta | halfbakedharvest.com

Looking for other fresh takes on pasta? Here are my favorites: 

One Pot Creamy Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Whipped Ricotta

Healthier Italian Wedding Soup with Lemon and Garlic

Crispy Roasted Cauliflower with Creamy Pesto Pasta

Lastly, if you make this Cajun Garlic Butter Shrimp with Creamy Pesto Pasta, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Cajun Garlic Butter Shrimp with Creamy Pesto Pasta

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 399 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Instructions

  • 1. To make the pesto. In a food processor, combine the basil, arugula, jalapeño, 1 clove of garlic, the nuts, parmesan, and 1/4 cup olive oil. Season with salt. Pulse until a sauce forms, adding 1-2 tablespoons water if needed to thin.
    2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Just before draining, remove 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain and add the pasta right back into the hot pot.
    3. Add the pesto and coconut milk, tossing to combine. Thin the pasta as desired with the reserved pasta cooking water. 
    4. Meanwhile, make the shrimp. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter, shrimp, cajun seasonings, and a big pinch of pepper. Cook on both sides until seared, about 2-3 minutes per side. Stir in the garlic, cook until fragrant. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice.
    5. Toss the shrimp with the pasta. Grab a fork and enjoy!
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner and it was so easy and SO good. Angel hair is my favorite pasta so I used that! Accidentally put all the garlic in the pesto ? But so, so delicious. Highly recommend!

  2. 5 stars
    I can’t say enough great things about this recipe. Easy to follow, quick turnaround and standout flavors. I used nutritional yeast in the pesto and you’d never know it was DF because of how creamy and cheesy it was. This will absolutely be in our rotation!

  3. 5 stars
    Made this tonight for my husband with crusty garlic bread! So good and so easy!! The Cajun seasoning on the shrimp mixed with the creamy pesto was a great combo. Can’t wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow!

    1. Hey Ashley,
      Happy Sunday! I am so glad to hear this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for making it:) ?

      1. 5 stars
        This is the second time I have made this dish I made it with chicken and shrimp the only thing I do different because my son has a nut allergy I use toasted raw pumpkin seeds if you have allergies out there give them a try it’s a great substitute!!

        1. Hi Cathy,
          Fantastic!! I love to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks for trying it out! Thanks for sharing what works well for you! xTieghan

  4. 5 stars
    Really loved this!!!!! Wasn’t sure about pesto & cajun flavors but it worked really well. I’ll definitely make this again 🙂

    1. Hi Katrina,
      Thanks so much for your comment! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks so much for making it! xTieghan

    1. Hi Barbara,
      Awesome!! Thanks a bunch for trying this recipe, I love to hear that it was a hit! Have the best weekend!? xxTieghan

  5. 5 stars
    This was incredibly delicious! And my partner was raving about it today, the day after! Good thing we have leftovers. I love all the flavors, but they were even better together!

    First, my necessary adjustments. Couldn’t find arugula, went with all basil pesto, extra pine nuts, and subbed Asiago for Parmesan. Also I am gluten free (thank you Tiegan for always acknowledging us) so I used GF fettuccini.

    I made it easier by starting the night ahead making the pesto and storing it with a layer of olive oil on top overnight in the fridge. Then it came together in a snap. Really, really delicious. I was told it was 100 ? “restaurant quality,” and I agree.

    1. Hey Patricia,
      Wonderful!! Thanks a lot for trying this recipe out, I love to hear that it was a hit! Thanks for sharing what worked well for you. Have a great weekend:) xx

  6. 5 stars
    Hi, Tieghan!

    Wow!! This is one of our all time favorites from you!
    I’ve made this recipe 5+ times in the past 2 months, which is not typical of me, as I like to switch it up.
    The pesto is insanely flavorful and pairs so nicely with the shrimp.
    I’ve been making my own Cajun seasoning, too, which has been fun 🙂
    Thanks a bunch!

    1. Hey Brittany,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a go and sharing your feedback!! I love to hear that you have been enjoying it! xTieghan

    1. Hey Megan,
      Happy Friday!! Thanks so much for trying this recipe out, I love to hear that it was enjoyed!! xx

  7. 5 stars
    Was so delicious and fresh tasting. The sauce was amazing! My boyfriend thought it could use a little more kick. It would pair with nicely with white wine!

    1. Hey Hannah,
      Happy Sunday!! So glad to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it!! ? xx