Simple Spicy Cajun Shrimp Pasta
This simple 30-minute Spicy Cajun Shrimp Pasta is the perfect way to kick things up on those mundane weeknights.
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Cajun Shrimp Pasta Gives You Restaurant Vibes on Any Given Weeknight.
Spicy, tomato-y, noodle-slurping goodness. This dish is a TREAT. It’s light on sauce but heavy on flavor, and it really shakes things up on pasta night by adding the bold and fiery flavors of Cajun seasoning. Afterall, Cajun cuisine is adventurous with its West African, French, and Spanish roots! So let’s dive in.
We Go Light on the Ingredients With This One.
A lot of Cajun pasta recipes include chicken and a heavy creamy sauce. Which is a total dream, obviously. But I wanted to offer up a lighter version that packs just as much flavor—and this is it, friends. You won’t be disappointed. The tangy sauce is a simple simmered blend of veggies that coat your noodles lightly, and every bite of seasoned shrimp hits you with a wave of welcomed heat. It’s so damn good. Here’s what you’ll need to make this Spicy Cajun Shrimp Pasta:
- Spaghetti, or another long pasta like linguine
- Uncooked shrimp
- Olive oil
- Onion (red, yellow, or white will work)
- Green bell pepper
- Grape tomatoes
- Canned diced tomatoes
- Cajun seasoning
- Red pepper flakes
- Fresh basil
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
How to Make Spicy Cajun Shrimp Pasta.
We can all agree that dumping a jar of sauce over some cooked pasta is a painless and undemanding way to eat. But with just a few steps and minimal effort, you can really boost your pasta game. Buying shell-on shrimp will create a little more work since you have to remove the shells and devein the shrimp. But if you buy them shelled, it’s easy peasy. Here’s the gist on how to make this fiery dish:
- Clean and season your shrimp. If you have shell-on shrimp, take the shells off and devein the shrimp with a paring knife. Pat the shrimp dry and place them into a large mixing bowl. Drizzle a tad of olive oil over them and sprinkle on some Cajun seasoning. Give it all a toss to coat the shrimp and set them aside.
- Get the sauce started. Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the garlic and onions. Simmer for about 2-3 minutes. Then, add the diced tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and the bell pepper. Add the Cajun seasoning and red pepper flakes to the pan and stir. Let everything simmer for a good 10-15 minutes. The grape tomatoes should soften up and burst.
- Spaghetti! While the sauce simmers, cook and drain your pasta, then transfer your pasta back to the pot.
- Throw it all together. Toss the chopped fresh basil into the pasta sauce, then pour the sauce into the pot over the pasta. Give it a stir.
- Finally, the shrimp. In the same pan you cooked the sauce, add a smidgen more oil, then add the seasoned shrimp to the pan. Cook the shrimp for about 3-4 minutes or until it’s opaque and pink in color, flipping halfway through.
- Dig in! Plate the pasta and top with the shrimp, or you can toss the shrimp into the pasta and plate it. Whatever you prefer!
Equipment You’ll Need:
- Sharp knife
- Cutting Board
- Mixing Bowls
- Measuring spoons
- Paring knife (if deveining your shrimp)
- Cast iron skillet or Non-stick skillet
- Pasta pot
- Wooden spoon
Recipe Tips + Tricks.
- Speed up the prep process by getting shrimp that’s already shelled and deveined.
- Add some chopped celery to incorporate the holy trinity of Cajun cooking (a mix of onions, bell peppers, celery).
- Swap canned diced tomatoes for canned crushed tomatoes for a saucier pasta.
Some More Easy Recipes for Shrimp Lovers:
- Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas
- Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp with Chilies
- Spicy Instant Pot Shrimp Scampi
- Sesame Shrimp Stir-Fry with Ramen Noodles
Have You Made This Recipe?
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Spicy Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1/2 lb spaghetti
- 2 cups halved grape tomatoes
- 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1/2 onion, minced Red, yellow, or white will work
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 3 tsp Cajun seasoning
- 2 tsp red pepper flakes—more or less if you want to adjust to your heat preference
- 1 lb raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1/4 cup ribboned fresh basil
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
Preparing the shrimp.
- If you're using shell-on shrimp, remove the shells and devein the shrimp with a paring knife. Gently pat the shrimp dry and place them into a large mixing bowl. Drizzle 1 TBSP of olive oil over the shrimp, and season them with the Cajun 2 tsp of the Cajun seasoning; set the rest aside. Gently toss the shrimp to coat them; set aside.
Sauce and pasta.
- Heat 1 TBSP of olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic and onions, and simmer for about 2-3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and the bell pepper, and season with the rest of the Cajun seasoning and the red pepper flakes. Give everything a good stir, and let it all simmer for about 10-15 minutes. The grape tomatoes will soften up and burst.
- While the sauce is simmering, cook your pasta, drain it, and transfer it back to the pot.
- Sprinkle the chopped fresh basil into the pasta sauce, stir it, then transfer the sauce into the pot over the pasta, stirring to mix it so that the pasta is evenly coated; set aside.
Cooking the shrimp.
- Using the same pan you cooked the sauce in, add a bit more oil, and then add the seasoned shrimp. Cook them for about 3-4 minutes, or until it's opaque and pink, flipping halfway through. Keep a close eye on them so you don't overcook them—they cook quickly!
- Plate the pasta, and top each serving with shrimp. Another option is you can toss the shrimp into the pasta and plate it that way. Whatever you prefer!