20-Minute Lemony Shrimp Asparagus Pasta
Coming together in about 20 minutes, this Shrimp Asparagus Pasta is as delicious as it is easy. Made flavorful from lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, and a little Parmesan cheese, this easy dinner has a pound of fresh asparagus and lots of protein from shrimp. It truly is the perfect healthy weeknight dinner.
Pasta and I are having a moment.
Pasta is a pantry staple in many houses (including mine) and it is such a great thing to add veggies to. Plus, it is easy to make, super budget-friendly, beloved by many, and the perfect “meal starter” for those busy weeknight dinners.
Our crew has been enjoying all kinds of veggie-packed pasta recipes in our house lately (Creamy Pasta with Peas and Creamy Leek Mushroom Pasta are probably some of our favorites) and I always have a stash of my Easy Veggie Pasta Sauce in the freezer to make adding veggies to a dinner quick, kid-friendly, and delicious.
But I might have a new go-to pasta dinner staple…this Lemony Shrimp Asparagus Pasta.
Loaded with a pound of fresh asparagus and oodles of protein from shrimp, this pasta is an easy complete meal that is packed with flavor from garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, and Parmesan cheese. While it is incredibly delicious, I think my favorite thing about this recipe is that it’s simple and quick to throw together in just 20 minutes, making it a perfect for an easy dinner on hectic weeknights. Making 4 hearty servings, this healthy dinner can be made with any kinda of pasta, so it can easily be made gluten free for those who need it.
Can I use frozen shrimp in this pasta recipe?
Absolutely, just be sure to defrost first.
Can frozen asparagus be used in this recipe?
I haven’t tested this shrimp pasta with frozen asparagus. While I feel like it would work for flavor, the texture of the frozen veggie would likely not be as crisp as fresh. If you opt to use frozen asparagus, defrost and cut to size before adding it to this recipe.
Can this pasta be made ahead of time?
I find that this recipe is best enjoyed fresh, however leftovers will keep in the fridge for 1-2 days.
How to make this asparagus pasta: step-by-step visual
- Don’t want to use shrimp? You can use 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast instead. Thinly slice the chicken then toss it in the same seasoning as the shrimp. Brown the chicken and be sure it’s fully cooked before continuing with the rest of the recipe.
- Want to add more veggies? You can stir in some frozen peas or sauté green beans with the asparagus. A cup or two of fresh spinach can be stirred into the pan right before you add the pasta.
- To make this dairy free, just leave out the Parmesan cheese. Make sure to taste the pasta and add more salt as needed.
- You can use any kind of pasta you want for this recipe. Gluten-free, whole wheat, or bean-based pastas will work well. Just be sure to not overcook the pasta when you boil it since it’s going to be cooked for a minute or two longer with the sauce.
More veggie-loaded pasta recipes
- Quick & Easy Creamy Broccoli Pasta
- No-Boil Creamy Vegetable Pasta Bake
- Easy Veggie Pasta Sauce
- 15-Minute Creamy Pasta with Peas
- Quick & Easy Creamy Beet Pasta
- 15-Minute Spinach Mac and Cheese
Loving this healthy pasta recipe and hungry for more?
20-Minute Lemony Shrimp Asparagus Pasta
- ½ pound pasta , such as farfalle, fusilli, or other small shaped pasta
- 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp, defrosted if frozen (about 21-25 shrimp)
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil , divided
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 pound asparagus, tough ends removed
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- Pinch red pepper flakes, or more to taste
- 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- ¼ cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt the water then cook your pasta according to package instructions. Before draining, save ½ cup pasta water.
- Pat the shrimp very dry with some paper towels. I like to remove the tails, but you can also keep them on if you’d prefer.
- Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the shrimp then add ½ teaspoon lemon zest, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, and ¼ teaspoon garlic powder. Toss to combine then set aside for a few minutes. (If waiting longer than 10 minutes before cooking, place the bowl in the fridge for up to 30 min.)
- Slice the asparagus on an angle into ¼-to-½-inch pieces.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, place the shrimp one-by-one into the pan, making sure to leave enough space in between each one. You do not want to overcrowd the pan or the shrimp will steam and not brown. You may have to cook the shrimp in batches depending on the size of your pan.
- Once the shrimp are browned on one side, about 2 minutes, flip and cook for about 30 seconds on the other side. Remove the cooked shrimp to a plate.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan then add the sliced asparagus and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is lightly golden brown. Stir in ½ teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of lemon zest, and the red pepper flakes. Add ¼ cup of the pasta water and simmer until the asparagus is tender, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir in the lemon juice. Add the cooked pasta to the pan then drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Season with ¼ teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss the pasta in the sauce then stir in the Parmesan cheese. If pasta seems dry, add the remaining ¼ cup of pasta water.
- Add the shrimp back to the pan and stir for 30 seconds to reheat and combine. Turn off the heat then add the basil.
- Serve pasta with additional Parmesan cheese and fresh basil to garnish.