Shrimp Pasta with Lemon Garlic Sauce

4.86 from 61 votes
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Shrimp pasta recipe with lemon garlic sauce served with zucchini and tomatoes. A simple, healthy meal prepared in only 30 minutes.

Shrimp pasta recipe with lemon garlic sauce served with zucchini and tomatoes

how to make shrimp pasta

Shrimp pasta mixed in a lemon garlic sauce is always a dinner favorite at our house when we crave a lighter meal. The recipe is a fusion of pappardelle ribbon noodle pasta with succulent shrimp and delicious vegetables.

Unlike a hearty beef bolognese sauce, these noodles are tossed in lemon garlic and pepper sauce. If you are in the mood for a quick pasta dinner with seafood and vegetables, this recipe will make your taste buds rejoice! When I’m in a time crunch or looking to switch up the repetitive chicken or fish dinner, shrimp is my go-to seafood. It cooks within minutes and can be easily prepared by even novice cooks.

Shrimp pasta in a saute pan with lemon garlic sauce and vegetables

Shrimp selection

There are a variety of shrimp sizes available at the market. I find that the names can be confusing, so I look for the “count” per pound.

Pasta shape

The sauce is very light, noodles such as penne and angel hair will capture the sauce nicely. I chose flat ribbon-shaped pappardelle pasta to get a maximum coating on the sauce and seasonings. I found lemon pepper pappardelle pasta at Trader Joe’s grocery store. The zesty lemon and spicy black pepper add a nice kick.


Matching pasta with a sauce is simple, and the combinations are endless. I decided to gently infuse extra virgin olive oil with minced garlic and red chili flakes. The goal is to transfer the flavors of the garlic into the oil without browning the garlic. The spicy capsaicin also diffuses into the oil so that there is a nice spicy flavor in the sauce.

A bowl of shrimp pasta with a light lemon garlic sauce


To make this sauce light and fresh, heat tomatoes until just cooked through and ready to burst. You’ll find when you toss the pasta before serving, the sauteed tomatoes will create a beautiful pink sauce from the sweet flesh. Thinly sliced zucchini is also added and cooks in just minutes.

Often we crank up the heat in our pans to get things going a little quicker from stove to the belly. Just taking a little bit of time to let the ingredients marry together and not overcook the infused olive oil sauce will highlight the natural flavors of the dish.

For this shrimp pasta recipe, you’ll get nice subtle roasted flavors of fragrant garlic with each bite and a little spicy heat from the pepper flakes. Dinner doesn’t get any more irresistible than tossing together fresh jumbo shrimp, spring vegetables, zesty lemon in a little bit of olive oil, garlic, and spices.

A bowl of shrimp pasta with a slice of lemon and a fork

Oh man, you should have seen how fast our family devoured these big bowls of shrimp pasta, we couldn’t stop eating it! We were so surprised how much the lemon brightened and lightened up the dish. The jumbo size prawns were perfect with freshly squeezed lemon juice, garlic, zucchini, grape tomatoes, and freshly chopped Italian parsley.

You could also garnish the dish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or add pepper for crunch. I would recommend a nice glass of crisp white wine to pair with your meal. Make sure to let me know when you try this recipe and what you think in the comments section below. Mangia Mangia!

More shrimp recipes

How do I prevent overcooking shrimp?

How do you avoid super rubbery shrimp that shrinks down to almost nothing in size? When shrimp is raw, the flesh is a whitish-gray color. As it cooks, the protein turns to an opaque whitish pink color. This takes about 2 to 3 minutes per side for this recipe. The shrimp should curl up into a loose “C” shape when properly cooked. If they have curled up into a tight “O” shape, then you may have risked overcooking. The shrimp is cooked towards the very end of this recipe to reduce overcooking and drying out of the seafood.

Shrimp Pasta with Lemon Garlic Sauce

Shrimp pasta recipe with lemon garlic sauce served with zucchini and tomatoes. A simple, healthy meal prepared in only 30 minutes.
4.86 from 61 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian


  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, 16/20 count
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly grated, plus more if needed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups zucchini, ⅛-inch thick slices
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • zest of one lemon, about 1 teaspoon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 8 ounces pappardelle pasta, fresh or dried
  • 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped


  • Bring 3 to 4 quarts of salted water to a boil for the pasta. While the water comes to a boil, prepare the shrimp.
  • Season shrimp with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, stir to combine.
  • In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat.
  • Add sliced zucchini and sauté for 4 minutes, or until just tender.
  • Add the sliced grape tomatoes and sauté for 2 minutes, until just beginning to soften.
  • Add ¼ teaspoon salt to the vegetables and stir to combine. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl and reserve.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan, and turn heat to medium-low.
  • Add garlic and red pepper flakes, stir and cook for 2 minutes to ensure that the garlic does not brown or burn. You want the garlic to cook slowly and the flavors to infuse into the oil, turn heat to low if needed.
  • Keeping the heat on medium-low, add the seasoned shrimp. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until just pink in color.
  • Add lemon juice and zest to the pan, stir to combine.
  • Add the cooked zucchini and tomatoes back to the pan, and stir to combine with the shrimp.
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook pasta according to manufacturer's directions, until tender.
  • Drain the pasta and toss with the shrimp and vegetables. Add more salt and pepper as desired. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 474kcal (24%)Carbohydrates 46g (15%)Protein 37g (74%)Fat 15g (23%)Saturated Fat 2g (10%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 257mg (86%)Sodium 481mg (20%)Potassium 271mg (8%)Fiber 3g (12%)Sugar 3g (3%)Vitamin A 800IU (16%)Vitamin C 31.4mg (38%)Calcium 120mg (12%)Iron 5.6mg (31%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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19 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Lynne says

    Sounds wonderful! Can’t wait to try it. May substitute orzo for the noodles as they’re perfect and not heavy with seafood.

  2. D says

    We made this shrimp pasta recipe tonight and it was very delicious! I used 3-chopped zucchini (we ran out of tomatoes), and I used bucatini pasta. I zested the entire lemon and used the juice of the entire lemon. This really intensified the lemon freshness in a good way! We enjoyed that the recipe didn’t need any butter. We sprinkled some parmesan cheese and fresh black better. We thoroughly enjoyed this meal tonight! Thank you for the recipe!

  3. Erick says

    I made this last night for dinner. It was good but I did make one alteration. I just couldn’t get behind leaving the garlic in the pan while cooking the shrimp. That’s just too long for me even if the heat is down. Instead I went with a higher heat on the shrimp and added the garlic before the other veggies.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I think that’s a great idea Erick to add in the garlic later in the cooking process. I do that a lot in stir-fries what the pan is hotter than usual.

  4. Nancy Carlson says

    I’ve made this recipe over and over. My husband and I love it. One time when I didn’t have zucchini on hand I roasted some broccoli in the oven with the little parmesan at the end and then added it to the recipe. I’m sure would be good with spinach well.

  5. Don says

    If the shrimp is meant to be eaten off a plate, or bowl, take the shells of the shrimp. Not doing so is just lazy. If I am supposed to pick the shrimp up with fingers, leave the shells on, but not when exoecting a eat out of the bowl. It may look good but it is just lazy.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thanks for your feedback Don! The recipe calls for peeled and deveined shrimp, it’s cooks choice if you’d like to leave the tails on.

  6. Alison says

    So delicious! Jessica, I used your app and cooked along with you last night. Your calm voice is so reassuring. Thanks for this recipe!

  7. Cathy says

    Just made this, used cayene pepper (instead of red pepper), it was extremely delicious…I used spiraled zucchini. Can’t believe how yummy it was..will make it again for sure.

  8. Anne says

    Another great recipe Jessica! My husband wanted broccoli as a substitute for the Zucchini. I shocked it in the boiling water before the pasta went in and and added it to the shrimp. That lemon garlic sauce is so versatile! I may add some capers next time. Yummy!

  9. Ari says

    I made this tonight. Very tasty and easy. I happened to have some saffron at home {;-) so added it to the shrimp and also added some spinach to the whole mix in the last 2 minutes. Turned out great. But let me say that the amount of time for zucchini and tomato needs to be cut in half.
    I will make this again and again and again.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      The saffron and spinach sounds amazing Ari! Thank you for letting me know about the cooking time. How thick did you cut the zucchini? The thickness can definitely affect the time needed. Appreciate your feedback!