Pesto Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles

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Pesto Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles is a low carb/keto friendly dish that has all the flavor of your favorite pesto pasta without the calories, carbs, and fat. Made with a quick homemade basil pesto, this dish comes together in no time and couldn't be tastier.

297 CAL 12g CARBS 12g FAT 39g PROTEIN
1 Comment

Zucchini Noodles with Pesto Shrimp is a quick and healthy meal that's packed with flavor from a healthy homemade basil pesto but good for you since it uses zucchini noodles instead of traditional pasta. Perfect for a low carb, keto, or healthy diet. And if you love pesto, you don't want to miss these Pesto Chicken and Skinny Pesto recipes.

Pesto is one of those dishes that seems healthy when you first think about it but is usually packed with so much oil and cheese that it quickly becomes a calorie bomb. In fact, most pesto has about 80 calories and 8 grams of fat for just one tablespoon. I don't know about you, but that's quite a lot considering you need a lot more than one tablespoon for most recipes. In fact, a popular pesto shrimp pasta restaurant dish may have over 750 calories.

Pesto Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles on a white plate with fork.

To combat that, I have been making my own pesto for years now. It uses all the same ingredients just in different proportions to make it much healthier.

Trust me, you won't miss all the extra oil. I use it all the time with pasta, spaghetti squash, chicken, and my absolute favorite, shrimp. I just love the combination of pesto and shrimp - so good.

Pesto Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles on a white linen.

With that in mind, I created this simple dish using this homemade pesto, zucchini noodles, and quickly sauteed shrimp. It's ready in less than 20 minutes and tastes amazing. Full of pesto flavor, sweet shrimp, and plenty of zucchini noodles.

How to make homemade pesto (lightened up)

  • 2 cups basil leaves, packed
  • 6 tbsp. water
  • 4 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • Directions: Add everything to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Add a touch of red pepper flakes for some spice.

Making pesto at home is easy. One of the reasons I love to make it at home is that it means you get to control the ingredients and also the amount of oil. Here is my basic recipe for lightened-up pesto.

Tips and Tricks for Making Pesto Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles

  • Protein: You can use all different types of protein in this dish. I have made it with chicken, ground turkey, chicken sausage, and salmon. Sometimes we make a mash-up of this dish with these Sausage Zucchini Noodles.
  • Noodles: When I make dishes like this, I usually make some whole grain pasta on the side for other family members to add to the dish. This makes it heartier and more filling for them but also makes sure they are getting lots of veggies too. You could also use spaghetti squash or other veggie noodles in place of the zucchini noodles.
  • Dairy Free Version: If you are dairy-free, you can make this with nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan cheese. The pesto turns out great and you can sprinkle some extra on top before serving.
  • Veggies: Sometimes I add in some fresh cherry tomatoes or canned fire roasted diced tomatoes as well.

Low Carb Pesto Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles on a plate with fork and napkin.

Looking for other zucchini noodle recipes?

The Best Way to Make Zucchini Noodles

  • The easiest way to make zucchini noodles is with a spiralizer. I have this one that pairs with my Kitchen Aid mixer and I couldn't be happier with it. If you don't have a Kitchen Aid mixer or want a less expensive option, there are tons of good options. For most options, all you have to do it cut off the ends, insert it into the spiralizer, and turn to create little zucchini spirals.
  • If you don't want to use a spiralizer, you can also use a mandolin. Cut the zucchini into thin planks and then use a sharp knife to cut them into noodles.
  • A final option is to use a vegetable peeler. Simply make long planks using the peeler and then use a knife to cut those into noodles. This method is fairly time-consuming and it can be difficult to use the peeler as the zucchini gets smaller.
  • One important note about zucchini noodles. Zucchini naturally contains a ton of water, which is why some people complain of soggy noodles. If you have time, salt the zucchini noodles and let them rest on paper towels for 10-15 minutes. Then pat dry. This will pull out some of the water and result in a better texture for the noodle.
The Recipe
Pesto shrimp and zucchini noodles with Parmesan cheese and lemon,

Pesto Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles

297 CAL 12g CARBS 12g FAT 39g PROTEIN
1 Comment
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  • 1 cup fresh basil, packed
  • 3 tbsp. water
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp. almonds
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1.33 lbs. shrimp
  • 4 zucchini, cut into noodles

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Add the first nine ingredients (basil, water, Parmesan, almonds, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper) to a food processor. Pulse until combined to make a home made skinny pesto.


Add the olive oil to a skillet over medium high heat. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side until pink and opaque. Remove and set aside. You can add more flavor to the shrimp here if desired with garlic powder, paprika, Italian seasoning, grill seasoning, or any other of your favorite spice blends.


Add the zucchini noodles to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until just tender. Stir in the shrimp and pesto. Serve with Parmesan cheese.


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Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 2 cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 297
Calories from Fat 105
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12g
Saturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 250mg
Sodium 450mg
Total Carbohydrate 12g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 8g
Protein 39g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
† We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.
1 Comment
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August 5, 2019 - 16:24
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