Lemony Shrimp with Asparagus and Pasta

Even though I do not consider myself religious, I was raised as a Catholic and so fish on Friday was a common occurrence, especially during lent. Even in our public school we seemed to have fish sticks each Friday (one of the few school foods I liked). I still love fish, but everyone at our house really loves shrimp too – so along with Fish Friday how about having Shrimp Sunday?

While I never stopped eating shrimp, for a long time I heard that it was high in cholesterol. However, research is showing that there are good fats in shrimp – direct from the eatshrimp.com website’s nutritional info:

Shrimp packs a wallop of protein (18 grams per 3 ounce serving), and with only 83 calories and 1 gram of fat per serving, it is healthy and so delicious. What about blood cholesterol? You need to know that that research shows, and dieticians concur, that the high percentage of “good fats” in shrimp reduces the impact of cholesterol.
Shrimp is also a nutritious alternative to other meat proteins. Shrimp is an excellent source of selenium. Selenium is an essential trace mineral in the human body. This nutrient is an important part of antioxidant enzymes that protect cells against the effects of free radicals that are produced during normal oxygen metabolism. The body has developed defenses such as antioxidants to control levels of free radicals because they can damage cells and contribute to the development of some chronic diseases. Selenium is also essential for normal functioning of the immune system and thyroid gland. Mounting evidence suggests a link-between selenium intake and reduced risk of cancer.
Shrimp also has emerged as a very good source of vitamin D and vitamin B12.

I love fresh shrimp when I can get it, but being here in St. Louis that generally is not an option so we do a lot of frozen shrimp. Even the shrimp sold as fresh at the fish counter has been frozen I’ve been told. One of our favorite ways to eat shrimp is with pasta, ok actually it is fettuccine Alfredo with shrimp but that is, ummm, not the healthiest of dishes to say the least (it is really good though). This week I’m going to try this new recipe instead which gives us pasta and shrimp, but not all the heavy cream and tons of cheese.

Lemony Shrimp with Asparagus


  • 8 oz. dried whole wheat blend thin spaghetti or Angel hair pasta
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 lb.), trimmed and cut into 1-in. pieces
  • 1 lb. medium or large raw shrimp (26-30 ct.), shelled and deveined
  • 1 T lemon zest (zest from one lemon grated on the small holes of a box grater)
  • ¾ C all-natural chicken broth
  • 1 t cornstarch
  • 3 T lemon juice (juice from one lemon)
  • 1 (2/3 oz.) bunch fresh basil, cut into thin strips (about ½ C)
  • ¼ C grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ C toasted pine nuts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside. While the pasta is cooking, heat 2 T oil in a large nonstick skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until golden, about 30 seconds. Add asparagus and cook, stirring frequently, until asparagus is crisp-tender (about 3 minutes). Push asparagus to the side, add the remaining oil, and raise the heat to medium-high. Add shrimp and lemon zest and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk together chicken broth and cornstarch and add to pan with lemon juice and basil. Raise heat to high and simmer, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. Divide pasta evenly among four pasta bowls and top with shrimp mixture. Top with Parmesan cheese and pine nuts, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition Information

(per serving) 470 calories, 18g fat (2.5g saturated, 0.6g omega-3), 170mg cholesterol, 380mg sodium, 45g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 32g protein, 20% vitamin A, 25% vitamin C, 20% iron

Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RD & Liz Weiss, MS, RD
Authors, The Moms’ Guide to Meal Makeovers

Disclosure: The recipe was provided to me by The Shrimp Council.