Grilled Shrimp With Cilantro Jalapeño Pesto Recipe

grilled shrimp with jalapeño pesto

My hands-down favorite thing to pull off a hot grill happens to be shrimp!


Who is with me on this?

Shrimp is so versatile—hot, cold, or at room temperature—plain, sweet, or spicy. I can not think of a way that I don’t want to eat it! However, for me, the spicier, the better!

I am semi-famous among our family and friends for a couple of shrimp dishes I make. I can bring 5 pounds of my Spicy Shrimp for the grill, and it’s never enough!

The pesto for this dish is so simple. A few fresh ingredients yielded a vibrant pesto, which paired perfectly with the shrimp. Whenever we make pesto, we always omit nuts since my kids are also allergic to tree nuts and peanuts. And do you know what? I like it much better that way!  Sam

Cilantro, jalapeo, Parmesan, lemon, garlic, oil, and seasonings all come together in minutes to give you a flavorful 1-2 punch! The grill gives this a delicious kiss of smoke, and soon after you serve it, poof! It will be gone! I am not going to lie. I was eating this pesto right from the spoon!

Whether you want to serve this Grilled Shrimp with Cilantro Jalapeo Pesto as a starter or as an entrée with a robust salad alongside bread or pasta, it’s sure to be a hit!

What’s the Best Way to Peel and Devein Shrimp?

These essential steps not only enhance the visual appeal of your dish but also ensure a delightful, grit-free dining experience. Here’s a step-by-step guide to peeling and deveining shrimp with finesse:

1. Peeling with Precision

  • Begin by holding the shrimp with one hand, ensuring a firm grip.
  • Gently bend the shrimp’s body to separate the shell from the flesh.
  • Starting from the underside, where the legs are, delicately peel away the shell. The shell should come off easily, revealing the succulent shrimp within.
  • Don’t forget to remove the tail if desired, simply by twisting it off.

2. Deveining the Right Way

  • Once the shrimp is peeled, the next step is deveining, where the dark vein is removed.
  • Place the shrimp on a clean, flat surface, and using a sharp knife, create a shallow cut along the back of the shrimp.
  • With the cut made, you’ll notice a thin black or brown vein running along the back. This is the digestive tract.
  • To remove the vein, you can either gently lift it out with the tip of your knife or use a specialized shrimp deveiner tool, which easily pulls out the vein in one swift motion.
grilled shrimps

What Can I Serve as a Side Dish With This Meal?

As you embark on a flavorful journey with Grilled Shrimp With Cilantro Jalapeño Pesto, don’t forget that the perfect side dishes can elevate your dining experience to new heights. Here are some delightful companions to consider:

1. Fresh Citrus Salad:

Imagine the zesty burst of citrus flavors complementing the zing of the pesto. A refreshing citrus salad brings a tangy brightness that contrasts beautifully with the rich flavors of the shrimp. Incorporate segments of oranges, grapefruits, and a handful of arugula for a peppery kick. Drizzle with a simple vinaigrette for a burst of acidity that cuts through the richness.

2. Garlic Butter Roasted Vegetables:

For a dose of comfort and warmth, garlic butter roasted vegetables are the perfect choice. Think tender asparagus, colorful bell peppers, and buttery roasted potatoes. The caramelized edges and garlicky aroma enhance the savory notes of the grilled shrimp, creating a harmonious blend of textures and tastes.

3. Light Quinoa Salad:

Embrace a healthy option with a light quinoa salad. A medley of cooked quinoa, diced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and chopped herbs like parsley and mint create a refreshing ensemble. Tossed with a lemony vinaigrette, this salad adds a satisfying chewiness that balances the tender shrimp and provides a delightful contrast in flavors.

Side Dish Options Table:

Side DishFlavor ProfileTexture
Fresh Citrus SaladTangy, RefreshingCrisp, Juicy
Garlic Butter Roasted VegetablesRich, ComfortingTender, Caramelized
Light Quinoa SaladLemony, HealthyChewy, Refreshing
grilled shrimp with jalapeño pesto

Grilled Shrimp With Cilantro Jalapeño Pesto Recipe

Prepare to tantalize your taste buds with a burst of flavor as you embark on a culinary journey with Grilled Shrimp With Cilantro Jalapeño Pesto. This recipe brings together succulent grilled shrimp and a zesty cilantro jalapeño pesto, creating a harmonious symphony of taste and texture. Get ready to elevate your seafood game with this mouthwatering delight that's both elegant and easy to prepare.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Fusion
Servings 4
Calories 250 kcal


  • 1 pound large shrimp size 21-25 or larger
  • 2 bunches of cilantro
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup grapeseed or olive oil
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • Black pepper


  • Clean shrimp, season it with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Slice jalapeño.
  • Combine cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, cheese, oil, lime and black pepper in your food processor or Vitamix and pulse/blend until smooth. Taste and adjust. If you would like more heat, add in more jalapeño.
  • Coat shrimp with the pesto, allow it to sit for 15 minutes.
  • Heat your grill to high, and cook shrimp 3-4 minutes per side or until done to your liking.


  • For a milder heat, remove the seeds from the jalapeño before adding it to the pesto.
  • You can substitute pine nuts for walnuts or almonds in the pesto.
  • To prevent the wooden skewers from burning, soak them in water for about 30 minutes before threading the shrimp.
  • Calories: 250 per serving
  • Protein: 30g
  • Carbohydrates: 3g
  • Fat: 12g
  • Fiber: 1g
Keyword cilantro, jalapeno, shrimp

FAQs on Grilled Shrimp With Cilantro Jalapeño Pesto Recipe

Can I use frozen shrimp for this recipe?

Fresh shrimp is recommended for the best texture and flavor. If using frozen shrimp, ensure they are properly thawed and pat dry before grilling.

Can I use a different nut for the pesto?

Absolutely! Pine nuts can be replaced with walnuts, almonds, or even pistachios for a unique twist.

Is the cilantro jalapeño pesto spicy?

The level of heat depends on the jalapeño and your preference. Adjust the amount of jalapeño used to control the spiciness.

Can I make the pesto ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the pesto a day in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Just give it a stir before using.

Do I need to marinate the shrimp before grilling?

Marinating is optional for this recipe. Brushing the shrimp with the pesto just before grilling imparts plenty of flavor.

Can I use a grill pan if I don’t have an outdoor grill?

Absolutely, a grill pan works well. Preheat it over medium-high heat and grill the shrimp skewers indoors.

Can I freeze the pesto for later use?

Pesto can be frozen, but it’s best to freeze just the sauce without the cheese. Add the cheese after thawing for the freshest taste.

Can I use this pesto for other dishes?

Absolutely! This vibrant cilantro jalapeño pesto is also great on pasta, as a dipping sauce, or drizzled over grilled chicken or vegetables.

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