What’s for Dinner: Quick and Easy Shrimp Pesto

With increasingly busy schedules, it can be challenging to find time to cook a nutritious, homemade meal. Finding fast, easy recipes that everyone will enjoy is key. Shrimp pesto is a great option that is simple to make and only requires a few ingredients. If you’re feeling ambitious and have some extra time you can make your own pesto, otherwise you can use premade pesto from the store. Many of the ingredients you may already have in your pantry or refrigerator. Not only is this a quick option for family dinner nights, it makes a great meal for dinner parties as well.

Ingredients:

 

  • 6 cups of water
  • 4 ounces of angel hair pasta
  • 1 ¼ pounds of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ¼ cup pesto, divided
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 ounce (1/4 cup) fresh parmesan cheese, shaved
  • Basil leaves for garnish (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Cook the angel hair pasta according to the directions on the back of the package. Prepare to desired tenderness.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, use a separate pan to bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, add shrimp and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until done. The shrimp should be pink throughout. Drain shrimp and place in a large bowl.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of pesto and the grape tomatoes to the shrimp and stir.
  4. Add pasta and 2 more tablespoons of pesto, stirring until well mixed.
  5. Sprinkle the freshly shaved parmesan cheese on top and garnish with basil leaves if desired.

Shrimp are a nutritious source of protein that are low in calories and contain no carbohydrates. In addition, they are high in vitamin B12 and contain vitamins A and E, iron, magnesium, and other nutrients as well. While some people are concerned about the high cholesterol found in shrimp, when eaten in moderation they can be okay, and some studies have shown this cholesterol may not be that bad.

Making your Own Pesto

If you don’t want to use premade pesto, you can whip up a fresh batch on your own. However, to make pesto you do need a food processor.

Ingredients:

 

  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, chopped (about 9 cloves)
  • 5 cups of fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

 

Add the walnuts, pine nuts, and garlic to the food processor and process for approximately 15 seconds. Next add the basil, salt, and pepper until well mixed. Leave the food processor running and slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube. Let it keep mixing until the contents are well pureed. Finally add the parmesan cheese and continue pureeing for one minute. You should have a fresh, creamy pesto bursting with flavor and ready for use in your pasta dish. To store the excess pesto, pour a thin layer of olive oil on top and keep it in the refrigerator. To freeze, add a layer of olive oil or press plastic wrap on top making sure there is no air trapped between the layers.

Enjoy as a Family

A delicious meal can bring the whole family together. Take this time to talk about your day, discuss upcoming events, and enjoy each other’s company. Having a variety of quick and easy recipes on hand also means that children can lend a hand with preparations. Let them get involved so that they grow their cooking skills and are proud of the contributions that they are making. This can also become something special that you do together.

Remember that preparing a delicious meal does not have to take a lot of time. There are many healthy, flavorful, quick recipes that you can add to your collection and that your family will love.

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