Elevate Your Grilling Game with Pesto Grilled Shrimp: A Flavorful Delight

Grilling season is upon us, and what better way to celebrate than with a dish that combines the vibrant flavors of pesto with succulent grilled shrimp? Pesto grilled shrimp is a culinary masterpiece that delights the senses and elevates any outdoor gathering or weeknight dinner. In this article, we’ll delve into the art of preparing pesto grilled shrimp, exploring the origins of pesto, the benefits of grilling shrimp, and step-by-step instructions for creating this mouthwatering dish.

The Origin of Pesto:

Pesto, a classic Italian sauce, originated in the Liguria region of northwest Italy. Traditionally made with fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil, pesto is a versatile sauce that adds depth and flavor to a variety of dishes. Its vibrant green color and aromatic fragrance make it a favorite among food enthusiasts worldwide.

The Benefits of Grilling Shrimp:

Grilling shrimp is a fantastic way to enhance their natural sweetness and impart a delicious smoky flavor. Unlike other cooking methods that

Elevate Your Grilling Game with Pesto Grilled Shrimp: A Flavorful Delight
Elevate Your Grilling Game with Pesto Grilled Shrimp: A Flavorful Delight

may require added fats or oils, grilling allows shrimp to cook quickly over high heat, resulting in tender, juicy morsels with a hint of char. Additionally, grilling shrimp is incredibly versatile, as it can be done on a traditional grill, a stovetop grill pan, or even indoors on a countertop grill, making it accessible year-round.

Preparing Pesto Grilled Shrimp:

Now, let’s dive into the process of preparing pesto-grilled shrimp:
  1. Gather Your Ingredients: To make pesto grilled shrimp, you’ll need fresh shrimp (peeled and deveined), homemade or store-bought pesto sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  2. Marinate the Shrimp: In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Allow the shrimp to marinate for at least 15-30 minutes to absorb the flavors.
  3. Prepare the Grill: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes to prevent burning.
  4. Skewer the Shrimp: Thread the marinated shrimp onto skewers, leaving a small space between each shrimp to ensure even cooking.
  5. Grill the Shrimp: Place the skewers directly on the preheated grill and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until the shrimp are pink and opaque with grill marks.
  6. Brush with Pesto Sauce: During the last minute of grilling, brush the shrimp generously with pesto sauce, allowing it to melt and infuse the shrimp with its aromatic flavors.
  7. Serve and Enjoy: Remove the skewers from the grill and transfer the pesto-grilled shrimp to a serving platter. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and lemon wedges for an extra burst of flavor. Serve hot and enjoy!
Elevate Your Grilling Game with Pesto Grilled Shrimp: A Flavorful Delight
Elevate Your Grilling Game with Pesto Grilled Shrimp: A Flavorful Delight


  1. Health Benefits: Pesto grilled shrimp not only tantalize the taste buds but also offer nutritional benefits. Shrimp is a lean source of protein, low in calories, and rich in essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and selenium. When paired with a homemade pesto sauce made with fresh basil, olive oil, and garlic, you’re adding antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and heart-healthy fats to your meal.
  2. Variations: While the classic pesto grilled shrimp recipe is a crowd-pleaser, there are countless variations you can explore to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs. For example, you can experiment with different types of pesto, such as sun-dried tomato pesto, spinach pesto, or even cilantro-lime pesto, to create unique flavor profiles. Additionally, you can add extra ingredients to the skewers, such as cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, or chunks of pineapple, for added color and texture.
  3. Grilling Techniques: Mastering the art of grilling shrimp requires a few key techniques to ensure perfect results every time. One essential tip is to preheat your grill thoroughly to prevent the shrimp from sticking. Another tip is to leave the tails on the shrimp while grilling, as they not only add flavor but also make it easier to turn the shrimp without them slipping off the skewers. Additionally, avoid overcooking the shrimp, as they can become rubbery and lose their delicate texture.
  4. Presentation: The presentation of your pesto grilled shrimp can elevate the dining experience and impress your guests. Consider serving the skewers on a bed of mixed greens or orzo pasta tossed with pesto for a vibrant and colorful presentation. Garnish with freshly chopped herbs, such as parsley or basil, and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese for an elegant finishing touch.
  5. Pairing Suggestions: Pesto grilled shrimp pairs beautifully with a variety of side dishes and accompaniments. For a complete meal, consider serving them alongside grilled vegetables, such as asparagus, zucchini, or bell peppers, drizzled with balsamic glaze. Alternatively, you can serve them with a light and refreshing salad, crusty bread for dipping in pesto, or a chilled glass of white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Giglio, to complement the flavors of the dish.


Q: What makes pesto grilled shrimp a standout dish for summer grilling?
A: Pesto grilled shrimp combines the smoky flavors of grilling with the vibrant taste of homemade pesto sauce, creating a delicious and memorable dish perfect for summer gatherings.
Q: How can I make homemade pesto sauce for grilling shrimp?
A: Homemade pesto sauce can be made by blending fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil in a food processor until smooth.
Q: Can I use store-bought pesto sauce instead of making it from scratch for grilling shrimp?
A: Yes, store-bought pesto sauce can be used as a convenient alternative to homemade pesto sauce for grilling shrimp.
Q: What size shrimp is best for grilling?
A: Large shrimp, preferably 16-20 count per pound, are ideal for grilling as they cook quickly and evenly without becoming overcooked.
Q: How long should I marinate the shrimp before grilling?
A: Shrimp should be marinated for about 15-30 minutes before grilling to allow them to absorb the flavors of the marinade.
Q: What’s the ideal temperature for grilling shrimp skewers?
A: The grill should be preheated to medium-high heat, around 375-400°F, for grilling shrimp skewers.
Q: How do I prevent shrimp from sticking to the grill?
A: To prevent shrimp from sticking to the grill, ensure that the grill grates are clean and well-oiled before cooking. You can also brush the shrimp with oil before grilling.
Q: Can I grill shrimp without skewers?
A: Yes, shrimp can be grilled directly on the grill grates without skewers. Just be sure to oil the grill grates well to prevent sticking.
Q: Can I prepare pesto grilled shrimp in advance for a barbecue or party?
A: Yes, you can marinate the shrimp in advance and store them in the refrigerator until ready to grill. Additionally, you can prepare the pesto sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator.
Q: What are some recommended side dishes to serve with pesto grilled shrimp?
A: Recommended side dishes include grilled vegetables, rice pilaf, pasta salad, or crusty bread for soaking up the delicious pesto sauce.


Pesto grilled shrimp is a culinary delight that combines the freshness of shrimp with the bold flavors of homemade pesto. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue, enjoying a cozy dinner at home, or craving a taste of summer any time of year, this dish is sure to impress. With its simple preparation and exquisite taste, pesto grilled shrimp is a must-try recipe for any seafood lover or grilling enthusiast. So fire up the grill, gather your ingredients, and treat yourself to a deliciously satisfying meal that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving more.

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