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What to Serve with Pesto Shrimp: 12 Easy Sides

Who is excited for pesto shrimp?

I know I am!

Pesto shrimp is one of my favorite seafood dishes.

It’s easy to make and it’s so flavorful.

But, as good as pesto shrimp is, it does tend to be a little bit on the bland side.

What to Serve with Pesto Shrimp

And let’s face it, unless you’re a kid, you probably aren’t eating it with a glass of milk.

So, if you want to serve pesto shrimp at your next dinner party or make it for your family, you’ll need some sides that go well with it.

This blog post is going to cover 12 side dishes that go well with pesto shrimp.

What Goes Well with Pesto Shrimp?

When you’re looking to pair with pesto shrimp, you’ll want to opt for something light. The best side dish for this type of meal is a salad. You can make a simple one by tossing in your favorite ingredients, like tomatoes, cucumbers and even feta cheese.

Pesto Shrimp

Looking for more options?

Then keep reading!

1. Cucumber salad

Cucumber Salad

A side serving of cucumber salad is an excellent option when you’re making a dish that includes shrimp.

You can use any type of cucumber here, but I find English cucumbers the tastiest!

You can even add a little fresh mint if you prefer!

2. Baked potatoes

Baked potatoes

Baked potatoes are a favourite of mine, and they’re so quick and easy to prepare.

Just cut up a big, chunky potato and pop it into the oven to cook, along with your favourite toppings.

Serve with whatever you like – sour cream and chives, cheese and chive sauce, or bacon and cheddar.

3. Steamed broccoli

Steamed broccoli

A side serving of steamed broccoli is a delicious accompaniment to any number of seafood dishes, and works particularly well when paired with pesto shrimp.

You can make your own by boiling the broccoli florets until they’re tender before you plate them up.

Steam the broccoli for around five minutes or until just tender enough to eat.

Toss the cooked vegetables with the pesto in a large mixing bowl, and then serve with the shrimp.

4. Fried rice

Fried rice

Fried rice can be served in many ways, but I love having it with pesto shrimp.

It’s the perfect accompaniment as the flavours are really complimentary.

The pesto shrimp is full of salty, savoury, and sweet notes, while the rice adds a lightness of texture and a freshness of flavour.

You can use ready-made or homemade pesto here if you want, though I always use my homemade version (check out my post on making your own pesto sauce).

It’s so quick and easy to make too, and there are no preservatives or additives to worry about either.

Just mix together the ingredients, season to taste, and enjoy!

5. Grilled zucchini

Grilled zucchini

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy a side dish of grilled zucchini.

If you love the flavour of pesto, try serving this as a side to any seafood based meal.

It’s a delicious way of getting your daily dose of vitamin A, and it really does make for an impressive side dish.

You can get creative with your pesto too. Try adding other veggies like peppers and onions, or even some salad leaves for extra texture and flavour.

6. Grilled asparagus

Grilled asparagus

Grilled asparagus is another super-simple side dish to serve with pesto shrimp, as it goes brilliantly with the spicy flavour of the sauce.

It works really well as a starter or main course if you want to be frugal with your time, too.

Just grill up some asparagus spears and throw them on a barbecue until they turn tender.

7. Mashed potatoes

Mashed Potatoes

This is another of my favourite side dishes to serve alongside pesto shrimp, and it really helps to balance the richness of the meal.

Mashing up your potatoes in the food processor is a quick and easy way of making them extra creamy, and they’re delicious served hot, or chilled for an even smoother texture.

You can also make your own by hand if you prefer.

8. A green salad

Green Salad

A big green salad makes for a really healthy option here.

Choose something fresh and light, like Romaine lettuce, shredded kale, cucumber, and tomatoes.

Add a few leaves of basil for flavour and colour, and you’ve got yourself a balanced, healthy, and tasty side dish.

9. Creamy pasta salad

pasta salad

This creamy pasta salad is the perfect side dish to serve with pesto shrimp!

Here are three tips for making this side dish a hit at your next dinner party:

  • Make sure you have prepared enough of the side dish. When it comes to cream-based dishes, everyone’s going to keep coming back for more!
  • Don’t over-salt your shrimp. You’ll want the pasta salad‘s flavor to shine through.
  • Serve this pasta salad at room temperature. That way, it will not overpower the taste of your shrimp, and it won’t be too cold for your guests.

Here’s how you make it:

  1. Cook and rinse your pasta—whatever shape you like—according to the instructions on the package. Then remove it from heat and allow it to cool completely before mixing it with the other ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl, combine your cooled pasta, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, chopped onion, cheddar cheese, and green peas (if you’re using them) and stir until well combined.
  3. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving! This will allow time for all those delicious flavors to come together and mingle.

10. Macaroni and cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

This delicious side dish is the perfect accompaniment to pesto shrimp. It’s easy to prepare, and it can be made in advance so you can just reheat it before serving.

Here are a few tips for making sure this mac and cheese turns out perfectly:

  • Use the right kind of pasta. Macaroni and cheese recipes usually call for pasta that has ridges or grooves to make sure the sauce adheres to every surface of every noodle. Try penne, rigatoni, or rotini (check out these easy rotini pasta recipes).
  • Don’t overcook your pasta! If you cook your pasta too long before adding it to the sauce, it will absorb too much water, resulting in noodles that are too soft and mushy. Cook your pasta until it is al dente—tender but firm enough that you have to bite into it—and then strain it immediately, without rinsing.
  • Make sure you use fresh shredded cheese. The pre-shredded stuff is coated with stuff that keeps the shreds from sticking together while they’re sitting on grocery store shelves, but that same coating also prevents your cheese from melting as smoothly as fresh-shredded cheese will!

To make macaroni and cheese:

  1. Boil water in a large pot and add pasta shells until they’re al dente (about 10 minutes). Drain the pasta once it’s done cooking and set aside.
  2. In a separate pan, melt butter over medium heat and slowly whisk in flour so the mixture doesn’t clump together. Slowly whisk in milk until the sauce thickens and add in salt, pepper, and cheese until everything is blended together well.
  3. Pour the sauce over your pasta and garnish with roasted red peppers or kalamata olives if desired.

11. Sauteed spinach

Sauteed Spinach

This sauteed spinach will be a delightful companion to your shrimp meal.

Here are three tips for serving sauteed spinach as a side:

  • Spinach takes up a lot of room in the pan at first, but it will cook down quickly. Be careful not to make too much!
  • Use garlic, salt and pepper to flavor your spinach before removing it from the heat.
  • If you don’t have a lot of fresh spinach on hand, you can use frozen spinach instead! Just add it to the pan earlier in the cooking process than you would fresh spinach.

Here’s how I usually go about making this side dish:

  1. To make sauteed spinach, start by heating olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat and adding garlic and salt and pepper (to taste).
  2. When the garlic begins to brown, add fresh spinach (it should fill the pan in a large pile) or frozen spinach (if using frozen, add about ½ cup per 1 cup of fresh spinach).
  3. Cook until done to your liking, then serve immediately with your pesto shrimp!

12. Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

These roasted brussel sprouts are filling, delicious, and make the most of a crowd-pleasing staple.

They’re also super easy to make!

Here are two tips for making this dish:

  • If you buy frozen Brussels sprouts, make sure they’re whole and not cut up. This will make them easier to roast!
  • Always use a deep pan when roasting vegetables like these. You don’t want them to dry out while they cook—putting them in a shallow pan can prevent proper circulation of heat and moisture.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. While the oven is heating, wash and trim the stems from 1 lb of brussel sprouts.
  3. Cut the brussel sprouts in half and transfer them to a large bowl.
  4. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 1/4 tsp garlic powder to the bowl.
  5. Toss all ingredients together until the brussel sprouts are evenly coated with oil and seasoning.
  6. Place brussel sprouts on a baking sheet (if there isn’t room for them to lie flat in one layer, use two baking sheets).
  7. Roast for 25 minutes or until they reach your desired level of crispiness.
  8. Serve immediately.

Why It’s Important To Serve Sides With Pesto Shrimp

Why It's Important To Serve Sides With Pesto Shrimp

Pesto shrimp is delicious, but it’s even better when you serve it with a side!

You may not think about sides as something that is essential to the dish, but we have a few reasons why you should add them to your pesto shrimp.

First of all, making sides is easy.

It doesn’t take much time to whip up an accompanying salad or vegetable dish.

You can even take a shortcut and buy pre-made sides from the store.

Second of all, they help you feel full.

If you’re just eating some pesto shrimp, you might find yourself getting hungry again in no time at all.

Pesto shrimp goes great with a bit of steamed broccoli or cauliflower rice, which will help keep you fuller for longer.

Lastly, sides are just nice!

It’s easy to make a plate look beautiful with a few colorful vegetables on the side.

It also gives people something to munch on while they’re waiting for the main course or while they eat the main course—especially if you’re serving the shrimp cold!

Pesto Shrimp Sides

12 Easy Sides to Serve with Pesto Shrimp

When it comes to seafood, there's nothing more delicious than the fresh taste of pesto shrimp. The combination of basil, garlic, and parmesan will leave you wanting more.
And while this dish is great on its own, having a side dish will elevate your meal to the next level.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 355 kcal


  • Cucumber salad
  • Baked potatoes
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Fried rice
  • Grilled zucchini
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Mashed potatoes
  • A green salad
  • Creamy pasta salad
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Sauteed spinach
  • Roasted Brussel Sprouts


  • Pick any of your favorite sides from this list to serve along with your pesto shrimp.
  • Prepare the ingredients according to the recipe.
  • Be ready to eat in no time!
Keyword what to serve with pesto shrimp