These grilled pesto shrimp skewers are a real crowd-pleaser. Great as an easy app for a large crowd or a quick dinner. Easily grilled in about 5 minutes and ready to eat. I eat them right off the skewer, but you could even add these to a pasta dish such as my pesto shrimp pasta.
Tips for Making Homemade Basil Pesto
Homemade basil pesto is really easy to make and is so much better than store-bought. My basil pesto consists of fresh basil, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper. Everything is blended together in a food processor to render a smooth, yet slightly granular sauce.
- Pesto is best made in a food processor, however, I’ve been making it in a single-serve smoothie blender for a long time. The key is to pulse the blender so as to not overblend the pesto and turn it into slime. Shake the contents to help mix as needed.
- Pesto should be thick and slightly granular in appearance. If it’s too thick, add more olive oil to help thin it out a bit. Pesto can be adjusted in a bowl by simply stirring in extra olive oil.
- Always use extra virgin olive oil and FRESH ingredients. Do not substitute canola or vegetable oil.
- Do not use dried basil! Always use fresh basil leaves.
- If your pesto is too thin or runny and you’ve run out of fresh basil, you can add some baby spinach. You can also stir in a little cornstarch. This will help to thicken the sauce without adding any flavor. I would merely consider this a last resort but it works in a pinch.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Adjust pesto with additional salt afterward. The salt helps to bring out the flavor and really makes pesto pop.
- Fresh garlic is best, but you can substitute garlic powder.
- Walnuts can be substituted for pine nuts. I prefer pine nuts, but walnuts work in a pinch. You can usually find pine nuts in the baking aisle with the other nuts.
If you’re looking for more pasta recipes, try my pesto gnocchi recipe or my pesto pasta salad. You can use up any leftover pesto to make pesto chicken paninis or these irresistible breakfast stuffed sweet potatoes.
Best Shrimp to Use
I’ve made this recipe with every type of shrimp. Fresh, frozen, and fully cooked. If you’re really looking for quick and easy, buy pre-cooked, peeled, and deveined cooked shrimp. Fresh shrimp is usually juicier and tastes fresher, mainly because they aren’t being cooked twice. Whatever you do, make sure frozen shrimp are completely thawed, and patted dry before adding pesto.
Tips for Grilling Shrimp Skewers
Always soak your wooden skewers in water for at least 20 minutes before skewing and grilling the shrimp. This is important and prevents the wood from burning on the grill. Raw shrimp cook on the grill very fast, about 2 minutes per side on medium heat. Make sure the grill is preheated and scraped clean before grilling.
More Grilled Skewers
- Chicken and pineapple skewers
- Grilled chimichurri shrimp skewers
- Chicken chimichurri skewers
- Grilled lemon pepper kebabs
- Chicken satay skewers with Thai peanut sauce
- Grilled teriyaki flank steak skewers
Easy and delicious grilled pesto shrimp skewers loaded with basil pesto sauce and fresh lemon juice.
- 1–1 1/2 pounds large fresh (raw) or fully cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails optionally removed)
- 1/2 lemon, juice squeezed
- 1/2 cup fresh (or jar) basil pesto
- Wooden or metal skewers for grilling
homemade basil pesto
- 3 cups basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
For the pesto
- Combine all pesto ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor or blender. Blend until mixed and smooth. With the motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream until combined. Pesto should not be too soupy or fine.
For the shrimp
- Soak the wooden skewers, fully submerged in cool water for 20 minutes so they do not burn when grilling.
- Pat shrimp dry with paper towel to remove excess moisture. In a large bowl, combine shrimp, pesto, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Toss the shrimp until completely covered in pesto sauce and let marinate in the fridge for 20-30 minutes for best results. Give the shrimp a final stir and add 4-5 shrimp per skewer.
- Preheat the grill with the cover down for 10 minutes on medium-high heat. Clean the grates well. Place skewers flat on the grill. Put the cover down and cook for 2 minutes, flip and cook for two more minutes. Shrimp should no longer be translucent and turn white/orange.
- Serve immediately with additional pesto if wanted.
I’ve made this recipe with every type of shrimp. Fresh, frozen, and fully cooked. If you’re really looking for quick and easy, buy pre-cooked, peeled, and deveined cooked shrimp. Fresh shrimp is usually juicier and taste fresher, mainly because they aren’t being cooked twice. Whatever you do, make sure frozen shrimp are completely thawed, and patted dry before marinating in pesto.
- Serving Size: 2 skewers
- Calories: 206
- Sugar: 8.2g
- Sodium: 334mg
- Fat: 5.8g
- Saturated Fat: 1g
- Carbohydrates: 8.9g
- Fiber: 0.3g
- Protein: 26.7g
- Cholesterol: 118mg
Keywords: pesto shrimp skewers, shrimp skewers