Garlic Shrimp, Kale, Tomato, & Pesto Pasta

You know the saying "Have your cake and eat it, too"? A more accurate version in my world would be "Have your pasta and eat it, too!"  

Like most humans, I'm a huge fan of all Italian food, the King of which is PASTA! But I've had to limit my intake of scrumptious pasta dishes because most of the ones I've tried are heavy in cream, butter, and cheese. And, well, these things don't really vibe with my whole "pursue health" mantra.

THIS pasta dish is different, though. It contains absolutely ZERO cream, butter, or cheese - but it's FULL of flavor and high in protein! It's actually my husband's favorite dish (and that's saying a lot, because the man loves a good meal.)

I came up with this dish after meeting with a Nutritionist, who mentioned (the often overlooked) shrimp as being quite high in protein. She also talked a lot about grapeseed oil, which is why I used it in this recipe. (Side note: I'm sending out an email soon detailing the benefits of different types of cooking oils; make sure you're signed up to receive emails!)  Anyway, I've never cooked much with shrimp, but I decided to toss it together some things I had in the fridge: baby kale, sundried tomatoes, garlic, and pesto -  and viola! This dish was born. It's so easy, so tasty, and leaves you feeling satisfied, but not heavy. (Can I get an 'Amen'?!)

*Make this dish gluten-free by substituting your favorite GF spaghetti noodles.*

This recipe makes about 4 servings.

What You'll Need:

  • Whole wheat spaghetti pasta (1 container, approx. 16 oz.)
  • 4 cups pre-cooked shrimp, tail off (I used Kirkland brand, found in the frozen section)
  • 3 cups organic baby kale
  • 3/4 cup sundried tomatoes
  • the juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp. basil pesto* (I used homemade pesto, but you can find store-bought pesto that is dairy free)
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil + more for drizzling
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • basil for garnish

The Method:

  1. Boil whole wheat or gluten-free spaghetti noodles until cooked al dente. Then drain, drizzle with grapeseed oil (to keep noodles from sticking) and set aside. 
  2. Pour 1/4 cup grapeseed oil into a large sautéing pan. Add shrimp and turn heat to medium. Sprinkle with powdered garlic, salt, and pepper. Turn shrimp frequently. 
  3. After 3-4 minutes, add in sundried tomatoes. Add in pesto. Stir another 1-2 minutes. Add in fresh kale and stir until kale cooks down (about 1 minute).
  4. When kale is cooked down, use tongs to add cooked pasta into the shrimp-tomato-kale sautéing pan. Mix all ingredients together in the pan. Squeeze 1/2 lemon over pasta and use tongs to mix
  5. Serve topped with fresh basil and additional salt and pepper (or parmesan, if you prefer). *Store this dish for up to 2 days in the refrigerator, in a sealed container.