Cajun Shrimp Pasta

Everyone will love Cajun shrimp pasta! It’s an impressive dinner idea that’s irresistibly seasoned and easy to make. Here’s a…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Everyone will love Cajun shrimp pasta! It’s an impressive dinner idea that’s irresistibly seasoned and easy to make.

Cajun shrimp pasta

Here’s a dinner to impress that doubles as an easy weeknight meal: try this Cajun Shrimp Pasta! This one scores major points with kids and adults alike at our table. It features irresistibly seasoned Cajun shrimp, colorful veggies, and a rich garlic Parmesan flavoring that lightly seasons the entire batch. Wow! was echoed around the table multiple times as we at it. Of any of the easy dinner ideas we’ve had lately, this recipe stands out as one we couldn’t stop eating!

Ingredients in this Cajun shrimp pasta

This Cajun shrimp pasta is a recipe inspired by the flavors of Cajun cuisine, a style of cooking developed by the Acadians, French colonists living in Canada who were deported to Louisiana in the 1700’s. The cooking style mixes West African, French and Spanish influences and techniques. This recipe shouldn’t be considered traditional Cajun: instead if takes inspiration from the seasoning and ingredients of this style of cooking. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Shrimp: fresh or frozen, deveined and tail on
  • Onion, bell pepper, and celery: called the “Holy Trinity” of Cajun cooking
  • Garlic
  • Cajun seasoning: homemade, or purchased plus garlic powder and onion powder
  • Pasta
  • Butter
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Cream or milk
Cajun shrimp pasta

Cajun seasoning: homemade vs purchased

You can make this Cajun shrimp pasta recipe with either homemade Cajun seasoning or purchased. Here are some notes on either variation:

  • Homemade seasoning: The nice thing about this homemade Cajun seasoning is that you can customize the spice level to taste. We like making it less spicy, which means you can use more of it and get more of the other flavors (not just the heat). It takes just 5 minutes to mix up and you can use it for months.
  • Purchased Cajun seasoning: Purchased Cajun seasoning is great if you’re in a rush! We find store-bought varieties can vary in heat level, so taste it before adding. As you’ll see in the recipe below, we decreased the quantity and added garlic powder and onion powder. If you’re using our homemade blend, you can leave that out.

With the quantities in the recipe below, both worked for our entire family: even a 4 year old! If you want to increase the spice, add more cayenne to your spice mix.

Cajun shrimp pasta

A milder variation!

Don’t love spicy food but still want to make this Cajun shrimp pasta? The homemade Cajun seasoning is a great place to start: make it with the low quantity of cayenne and you’ll have a nicely seasoned pasta that works for all eaters.

Another option? Try this Blackened Seasoning! It’s got similar flavors but is on the low end of the heat spectrum.

Increasing servings for Cajun shrimp pasta

Want to make a double recipe of this Cajun shrimp pasta? The base recipe has only 8 ounces pasta, which should work for 4 servings if you serve with side dishes. But if you want to increase this recipe for more eaters, here’s what we’d recommend:

  • Double the pasta to 1 pound
  • Double the veggies and pasta seasonings
  • Increase the shrimp to 2 pounds (not 3): 2 pounds of shrimp should be enough for 8 servings. You may need to cook it in batches depending on the size of your skillet.

Of course, you can cook 3 pounds shrimp if you like: but 2 pounds should be plenty for a crowd with the doubled pasta size.

Cajun Shrimp Pasta

What to serve with Cajun shrimp pasta

Make sure to serve this Cajun shrimp pasta with some filling side dishes to complete the meal! Here are some complimentary sides we’d recommend:

This Cajun shrimp pasta recipe is…

Pescatarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free or legume-based pasta.

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Cajun shrimp pasta

Cajun Shrimp Pasta


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4 servings

Description

Everyone will love Cajun shrimp pasta! It’s an impressive dinner idea that’s irresistibly seasoned and easy to make.


Ingredients

  • 8 ounces* short pasta, like penne, rigatoni, or casarecce (gluten-free if desired)
  • 1/2 medium yellow or white onion
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, deveined and thawed if frozen (tail on or peeled)
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons purchased Cajun seasoning (or 1 ½ tablespoons homemade Cajun seasoning or blackened seasoning**)
  • ½ teaspoon each garlic powder and onion powder 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, divided
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk or cream
  • Lemon wedges, optional
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Start the pasta: Boil the pasta in salted water until al dente.
  2. Prep the veggies: Finely mince the onion, mince the pepper, and finely chop the celery and place it on a bowl. Mince the garlic and place it in a separate bowl. 
  3. Sauté the shrimp: Meanwhile, pat the shrimp dry. In a medium bowl, mix the shrimp with ½ teaspoon kosher salt, the Cajun seasoning, garlic powder and onion powder. In your largest skillet (cast iron or stainless preferred), heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side until just opaque and cooked through, turning them with tongs. Once cooked, remove to a bowl, cover, and set aside. Leave the browned bits in the skillet.
  4. Sauté the veggies: In the same skillet that you cooked the shrimp, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat and add bell pepper, onion and celery. Cook for about 3 minutes until the veggies start to become tender. Reduce to medium low heat and add the garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes more until fragrant and garlic just starts to turn golden. Remove from heat before garlic browns. Add the butter and let it melt while you get the pasta.
  5. Mix with the pasta and sauce: When the pasta is ready, drain it. To the pan with the veggies, add the pasta, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, the grated Parmesan cheese, and the cream or milk. Toss until fully combined, then add the shrimp. If desired, spritz with squirts from a lemon wedge. Taste and add additional seasoning as necessary. Serve warm, garnished with chopped parsley if desired.

Notes

*To increase this recipe for more servings, we’d recommend making 1 pound pasta, but go up to 2 pounds on the shrimp (not 3). You can double the veggies and sauce ingredients accordingly.

**If using the homemade Cajun seasoning, you can omit the garlic powder and onion powder in this recipe. For a less spicy variation, use less cayenne in your homemade Cajun seasoning or make homemade blackened seasoning.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Cajun inspired

Keywords: Cajun shrimp pasta

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.