I am obsessed with pesto. Now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest, grilled pesto shrimp skewers are a real crowd-pleaser. Great as an easy app for a large crowd or 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 and take this recipe to a whole new level.
Fresh Basil Pesto
Homemade 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. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a standard blender or single-serve blender instead. Just don’t blend too aggressively or it will turn into a creamy paste.
Sometimes small grocery stores or local farmer’s markets will have fresher locally made pesto that is usually better than brand-name pesto sauce. You can tell how fresh pesto is by how green it is. Old pesto will take on a duller and deeper dark green color.
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 taste 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.
The key is to load the shrimp in pesto. There is no such thing as too much pesto—it will only add to the flavor. Marinating the shrimp in pesto for 30 minutes will only enhance the flavor. However, a flash soak in a lot of pesto will also do the trick.
Grilling Pesto 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
- 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