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This creamy Cajun shrimp pasta recipe is a restaurant-quality meal that’s ready in just 25 minutes! It’s a favorite to impress guests or make for a midweek treat with its bold flavors.
Craving chicken instead? Try my Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta next.
Why you’ll love it
I know that every blogger will say they like their own recipes, but I REALLY love this Cajun shrimp pasta Alfredo. It’s a definite make-again (and again) one for me, and I cook it for company every chance I get. It’s super simple, so tasty and fast, and doesn’t require a bunch of obscure ingredients.
What we’ve got here is basically a jazzed up Alfredo sauce with a delicious kick from Cajun seasoning, and the plump and juicy shrimp are the best complement to it. It’s creamy, garlicky, and slightly spicy. Not like burn-your-mouth spicy, but a harmony of flavors kinda spicy!
What you’ll need and why
- Pasta – I chose penne this time, but any shape you have on hand will work. I’ve also made it with spaghetti and linguine.
- Shrimp – frozen ones that are deveined and already peeled are the most convenient. To thaw them, simply run them under cool water in a colander.
- Olive oil and butter – for sautéing
- Onion – I usually go for sweet (Vidalia) onions in sauces
- Dijon mustard – it’s one of my top tricks for enhancing the savory quality of sauces. It’s not going to make it taste like mustard!
- Sun-dried tomatoes – they add more rich flavor to the sauce
- Garlic – use even more if you adore garlic. This garlic press minces it easily without peeling!
- Heavy cream – to make it extra luxurious
- Cajun seasoning – the star of the Cajun Alfredo sauce. If sodium is a concern, use a low or no-salt variety. I like Tony’s best.
- Fresh basil – it’s a pop of herby contrast and freshness
- Parmesan cheese – as always, with a pasta like this, generous amounts of freshly grated parmesan cheese is the icing on the cake. Grate your own from a block with a Microplane zester for maximum freshness and great texture.
- If you don’t happen to live by the sea, frozen shrimp are actually a fantastic choice because the ones at the seafood counter at the grocery store have been frozen previously, thawed, and are less fresh when you get them.
How to make Cajun shrimp pasta
This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Boil the pasta. Meanwhile, sauté the onion in butter and oil in a skillet until lightly browned. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, Dijon mustard, and garlic, cooking for a minute or so. Stir in the cream and Cajun seasoning to make the luscious sauce.
- Add the shrimp, and cook until they’re pink and cooked through and the sauce has thickened a bit.
- Drain the cooked pasta and toss it with the sauce. Add some fresh basil and parmesan, and enjoy!
Substitutions and variations
- I wouldn’t recommend substituting the heavy cream for anything with a lower fat content. It could curdle and won’t taste nearly as rich or decadent. If you’re used to using something like coconut milk, you could try, but our kitchen hasn’t tested it.
- For the shrimp, I just buy the 31-40 count 3/4 pound bags of frozen raw shrimp, but you can substitute any medium to large size, and the exact number doesn’t have to be precise. If you can only find 1 pound bags, use that.
- I like leaving the tails on to add some dimension in the photos, but you’re welcome to take them off when you’re cooking it in your kitchen.
Leftovers and storage
- Leftovers of this creamy pasta will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container. Make sure to not let it sit out for too long before refrigerating.
- This won’t freeze well. Pasta and cream sauces rarely do!
- To reheat, warm over a low heat in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally. Add in a splash of cream to revive the sauce if needed.
What to serve with it
- I like to pair it with a slice of crusty bread, or you could go all-out and make this Cheesy Garlic Bread.
- For something lighter, this Super Simple Parmesan Arugula Salad is a great choice.
- The shrimp and sauce are low carb, so you could even make them and pair with something other than pasta if you wish. Try cauliflower rice!
Will you make this easy Cajun pasta? Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!
Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- 8 ounces uncooked pasta
- 3/4 pound medium shrimp thawed & peeled
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 small onion chopped finely
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes julienned
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning see note
- 8 large leaves basil torn
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste
- Boil a large, salted pot of water for the pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, add butter and olive oil to a skillet on medium heat. Sauté onions for 5 minutes or until they’re lightly browned if you wish (this gives extra flavor).
- Stir in the Dijon mustard, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic to the pan and cook for about a minute.
- Add the cream and Cajun seasoning, and cook for a few minutes until you have a nice, smooth sauce.
- Add the shrimp in, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked and the sauce is reduced to your liking. Season with salt & pepper if desired, add the fresh basil, and toss the drained pasta with the sauce. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
- Cajun seasoning can be quite salty, so be sure to give the dish a taste before adding extra salt & pepper, or use a lower sodium version.
- If you can only find 1 lb. bags of shrimp, use that. You don’t need to be spot on 3/4 pounds (they sell 3/4 pound bags where I live).
- I used the julienned (cut into strips) sun-dried tomatoes that are packed in oil and drained the oil prior to adding them to the pan.
- Feel free to remove the tails of the shrimp. I leave them on for photos but usually remove them in real life. 😉
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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