Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta

This Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta recipe is made with tender shrimp, colorful veggies, and the most delicious zesty alfredo sauce.  Feel free to make yours with shrimp, chicken, sausage, or any other favorite proteins.

Cajun Shrimp Pasta

Him: Vegetarian, yet occasionally eats seafood.  Always (always) craving pasta.  Enormous side salads are a non-negotiable (which he saves to eat last, because salads are his favorite).  Medium-spicy heat tolerance.  Especially partial to Italian food.

Me: 90% vegetarian nowadays, although I admittedly still really love meat.  Always craving any kind of savory, zesty, (super) spicy food.  The more veggies and color on my plate, the merrier.  After ten years of food blogging, obsessed with using (and cleaning) as few dishes as possible.

Our happy compromise last weekend: This dreamy, creamy, ridiculously-delicious Cajun pasta.

We happened to be cooking dinner together on a day where I was really craving some protein.  So we compromised and added in a bunch of shrimp.  (<– Which I will note are a serious labor of seafood-love here in Spain, since we have to peel, devein, and pop the heads off of each one, ha.)  We then whipped up a big batch of my lightened-up alfredo sauce, and seasoned it with just-enough Cajun seasoning to give it a good kick (yet not bring tears to Barclay’s eyes).  We tossed everything together with some colorful veggies and perfectly al dente pasta, sprinkled the top with extra cheese and green onions, served it up with a big side salad and a crisp sauvignon blanc, and agreed…

…it was a total win-win.

(Especially when Barclay graciously offered to do the dishes after dinner.  Cue all the dancing, heart-eyed, confetti-popping GIFs.)

Seriously, this pasta totally ticked all of the boxes for both of us.  And since it’s a super-flexible recipe, I feel confident that you can adapt it with your favorite ingredients to tick all of yours.  Let’s make some creamy Cajun comfort food together!

Cajun Shrimp, Bell Peppers and Red Onion | Cajun Shrimp Pasta Recipe

Creamy Cajun Pasta Ingredients:

Alright, let’s start with an ingredient list.  To make this creamy Cajun pasta, you will need:

  • Shrimp: Or, you’re more than welcome to sub in another favorite protein (or a mix of proteins), such as chicken, sausage, steak, or tofu.  Or, you can nix the protein altogether, and just keep this recipe vegetarian.
  • Veggies: I used a mix of bell peppers, onion, diced tomatoes and spinach.  But this recipe is super-flexible, so feel free to also add in any other veggies that you love.
  • Diced tomatoes: I’ve also added a can of diced tomatoes to this recipe.  (I love fire-roasted.)  But chopped fresh tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes would also be delicious.
  • Pasta: Any shape of pasta will work.
  • Creamy alfredo sauce: I made a version of my lightened-up alfredo sauce for this recipe, seasoned with lots of Cajun seasoning (see below).  If you’re looking to lighten up this dish even more, feel free to halve the amount of sauce.  It’ll still be delicious.
  • Cajun seasoning: Either store-bought or homemade, you choose! Also, just wanted to give you a heads-up that Cajun seasonings can vary significantly in terms of heat/spiciness.  So if you prefer milder foods, I recommend starting with just half of the recommended amount of Cajun seasoning, and then you can always add more to taste.
  • Toppings: We topped ours with extra Parmesan cheese and thinly-sliced green onions, but both are optional.

Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta Recipe

How To Make Cajun Shrimp Pasta:

This recipe requires a bit more time than my usual 30-minute meals.  But if you feel like doing some multitasking, it can be ready to go a bit more quickly.  Simply…

  1. Cook your pasta.  Follow the package instructions and cook it in a large stockpot of generously-salted water until it is al dente, then drain.  For optimal timing, I recommend saving this step until the end of the recipe so that your pasta is nice and hot.
  2. Sauté the veggies and shrimp.  In a separate sauté pan, sauté the shrimp, onions and bell peppers together over medium-high heat until the shrimp is cooked through.  The veggies will be softened but not soggy.  (I like mine to still be slightly crisp.)  If you would like your shrimp to be extra-zesty, toss them in an additional tablespoon of Cajun seasoning before sautéing.
  3. Make the creamy alfredo sauce.  Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan (or you can opt to re-use the sauté pan, after the shrimp and veggies have been cooked), make the sauce.  Sauté some garlic in butter or olive oil.  Whisk in flour to make a roux.  Add some stock, milk, Parmesan, diced tomatoes and Cajun seasoning.  Cook until it nearly reaches a simmer and thickens.  Then taste, and season with salt, pepper and additional Cajun seasoning (if needed) to taste.
  4. Bring it all together.  Stir together the cooked pasta, veggies, shrimp, alfredo sauce, and spinach until combined.  Then serve warm, garnished with thinly-sliced green onions and extra Parmesan, if desired.

Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta

Possible Variations:

As I mentioned above, there are all sorts of ways that you can customize this recipe to taste!  Some options could include:

  • Change the protein.  Cooked chicken, sausage, steak, or tofu would also be delicious in this recipe.
  • Make it vegetarian.  Or, nix adding a protein altogether!
  • Add different veggies.  Mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels, cauliflower, zucchini, or other greens would all be delicious too.
  • Make it spicier.  Feel free to add in more Cajun seasoning (and/or extra cayenne) if you would like a spicier pasta.
  • Make it milder.  Start with half of the recommended amount of Cajun seasoning, and add more to taste.  If your sauce gets too spicy, add in some extra milk.

Creamy Cajun Pasta with Shrimp and Vegetables

Enjoy, everyone! 

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Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta

This Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta recipe is made with tender shrimp, colorful veggies, and the most delicious zesty alfredo sauce.  Feel free to make yours with shrimp, chicken, sausage, or any other favorite proteins.

Ingredients:

Pasta Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces uncooked pasta, any shape (I used penne)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound large raw shrimp*, peeled and deveined
  • 2 medium bell peppers, cored and thinly sliced (I used one red, one yellow)
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 batch Creamy Cajun Alfredo Sauce (see below)
  • 1 large handful baby spinach
  • optional toppings: thinly-sliced green onions, extra freshly-grated Parmesan cheese

Creamy Cajun Alfredo Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning, homemade or store-bought
  • salt and freshly-cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta al dente according to package instructions in a large stockpot of generously-salted water.  Drain.  For optimal timing, I recommend saving this step until the end of the recipe so that your pasta is nice and hot.
  2. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add shrimp*, onions and bell peppers and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are pink and opaque and cooked-through.  The veggies should be softened but not soggy.
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan (or you can opt to re-use the sauté pan, after the shrimp and veggies have been cooked), make the Creamy Cajun Alfredo Sauce.  Heat oil or butter over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.  Whisk in the flour until completely combined, then cook for 1 more minute, stirring occasionally.  Whisk in the stock until the mixture is completely smooth.  Then whisk in the milk, drained diced tomatoes, Parmesan and Cajun seasoning until combined.  Continue cooking the sauce until it nearly reaches a simmer and thickens.  Taste, and season with salt and pepper (and extra Cajun seasoning, if needed) to taste.
  4. Stir together the cooked pasta, veggies, shrimp, alfredo sauce, and baby spinach until combined.  Then serve warm, garnished with thinly-sliced green onions and extra Parmesan, if desired.

*If you would like your shrimp to be extra-zesty, I highly recommend tossing them in an additional tablespoon of Cajun seasoning before sautéing.

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If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta

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4 comments on “Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta”

  1. Just curious. Do you think it’s a good idea to try and cook the shrimp and the bell peppers together? Perfect Shrimp take about 2 minutes to cook, but the bell peppers are closer to 4 or 5. Doesn’t this run the risk of over cooking the shrimp?
    That said, I love your blog. You and I have very similar pallets (ms?) Yours is the only blog I subscribe to

  2. Can the sauce be made without cheese? I don’t like cheese.. (I know.. shocking).

  3. creamy pasta wow, and your protein suggestions make me think, why not all of them? Thank for a nice pasta tweak with a truly lightened alfredo sauce, I appreciate this recipe for that alone, how can you get into trouble with olive oil and Parmesan cheese?

  4. I thought this recipe was so amazing, and i used angel hair spaghetti pasta and i used chili ready tomatoes bc it was all i had and it was so good!! My 2 year old loved it and they said it was some good food.

    Rating: 5