Pesto shrimp pasta makes a flavorful main dish with spinach avocado pesto sauce and easily cooked shrimp. A few ingredient swaps will boost the nutrition of this traditional comfort food.

Spinach Avocado Pesto Shrimp Pasta

Pesto shrimp pasta makes a great main dish with spinach avocado pesto sauce and shrimp. A few ingredient swaps boost the nutrition of traditional pasta.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Fusion
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 7
Calories 433kcal
Author Alyssa


For the Spinach Avocado Pesto Sauce:

  • 1 cup packed baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Shrimp:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb fresh frozen medium shrimp, peeled & deveined, tail-off*
  • Salt and pepper a generous amount

For the Pasta:

  • 1 14.5-oz package Barilla ProteinPLUS┬« Spaghetti
  • Parmesan cheese for serving


For the Sauce:

  • Add spinach, basil, pine nuts, and garlic to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the leaves are chopped into small pieces.
  • Add the olive oil, lemon juice, avocado, and salt and pepper and process until sauce is creamy. Set aside.

For the Shrimp:

  • Before beginning the shrimp, set a large pot of water over high heat to bring to a boil. This will be for boiling the pasta, but you can cook the shrimp in the time it takes for the water to heat.
  • Once the shrimp are thawed, add olive oil to a non-stick skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add shrimp and a sprinkle a generous amount of salt and pepper over top.
  • Let cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring shrimp occasionally so that they cook evenly. The shrimp will turn opaque and pink on the outside and curl up when done.
  • Once done, transfer shrimp to a plate.

For the Pasta:

  • Once the large pot of water comes to a boil, salt the water and add the package of Barilla ProteinPLUS Spaghetti. Let cook for 10-11 minutes, or until preferred doneness, stirring occasionally so that the spaghetti doesn't stick.
  • Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the shrimp and pesto sauce and stir to coat the spaghetti and shrimp evenly.
  • Serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired.


*I purchased frozen shrimp and thawed them before cooking. Either you can thaw them overnight in the fridge, or place shrimp in a colander in the sink under the faucet and run cold water continuously over them for 5-6 minutes, tossing them periodically. They'll be ready to cook when the shrimp are pliable. Blot shrimp dry with a paper towel and then add to the skillet.
The shrimp are prepared simply to not compete with the spinach avocado pesto sauce flavor, but you can add additional flavoring if you like. Suggestions are squeezing a lemon over the shrimp once cooked, sprinkling them with crushed red pepper flakes for some heat, an extra drizzle of olive oil, etc.


Calories: 433kcal | Carbohydrates: 44.9g | Protein: 25.1g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 2.6g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 160mg | Potassium: 178mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 2.5g | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 4.3mg

Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.