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Shrimp, tomato, and spinach pasta in garlic butter sauce

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Shrimp, fresh tomato, and spinach with fettuccine pasta in garlic butter sauce – a delicious Italian pasta dish and a great way to use up a bunch of fresh tomatoes you might have sitting around in your kitchen.

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In this recipe, the tomatoes are only slightly cooked, preserving their freshness and shape. Combined with garlic and butter sauce, spinach, and shrimp seasoned with paprika and crushed red pepper, this pasta dish became a favorite in my household and disappeared from the skillet pretty fast as everybody went for seconds. And, it’s so easy to make!


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First, you saute fresh shrimp in garlic, butter, and olive oil, until just pink on both sides (the shrimp will still be undercooked but it will continue cooking later). Sprinkle the shrimp generously with salt and paprika, as you’re cooking it. The shrimp will smell and look so good, you will be tempted to eat half of it before even finishing up this recipe! 🙂  Don’t be like me and resist the temptation!

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Then, you add chopped fresh tomatoes and cooked spinach, together with more garlic and crushed red pepper. Mix everything well and remove from heat (while you cook the pasta).  You don’t want to overcook the shrimp and tomatoes – they will continue cooking in the next step.

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When pasta is cooked, rinsed with cold water and drained, add pasta to the skillet, along with some lemon juice and more butter. Season with salt and red pepper flakes and heat the dish, constantly stirring, until shrimp is cooked through and all ingredients are heated through:

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Right before serving, top with grated Parmesan cheese:

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Shrimp, tomato, and spinach pasta in garlic butter sauce

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 servings

Shrimp, tomato, and spinach pasta in garlic butter sauce


  • Follow Julia on Pinterest and Facebook to get more recipes and dinner ideas for your weekly meal planning!

  • 1 pound fresh shrimp, uncooked, shelled and deveined
  • 5 medium tomatoes, fresh, chopped into large cubes
  • 1 cup cooked spinach
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 small lemon
  • salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more)
  • paprika
  • 10 oz fettuccine pasta
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving


  1. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil until melted. Add fresh shrimp and half the minced garlic. Make sure shrimp is not crowded. Cook for 1 minute on one side until pink on that side. While it's cooking, generously sprinkle paprika and salt over uncooked side of the shrimp. Flip the shrimp over and cook for another 1 or 2 minutes until pink on the other side.
  2. To the skillet with shrimp, add chopped fresh tomatoes, cooked spinach, and remaining amount of minced garlic. Add 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more). Mix everything well, remove from heat while you cook pasta.
  3. In the mean time cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent pasta from cooking and getting mushy.
  4. Add pasta to the skillet with shrimp and vegetables with 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice (depending on the juiciness of your lemon, it could be 1/4 of small lemon or 1/2 lemon). Don't add too much lemon juice. Season with salt and more crushed red pepper. Warm it up on medium heat until shrimp is cooked through, and all ingredients are heated through.
  5. To serve, top with grated Parmesan cheese.



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{ 110 comments… add one }
  • Matt October 30, 2014, 8:15 pm

    Looks freaking delicious!

    • Julia November 3, 2014, 3:19 pm

      Thank you, it was an amazing pasta dish!

      • Cara Tidur Nyenyak June 2, 2017, 6:36 pm

        Seriously, it looks really good! I guess if all italian foods are so delicious! And thank you for sharing this pasta recipe!

    • Sally Franklin August 26, 2017, 7:44 pm

      This was a great dish to make. I appreciated the clear instructions. I added mushrooms and used the fresh spinach instead of cooked, adding new the mushrooms with the other veggies. Thank you, Julia, and commenters for their suggestions.

      • Julia November 3, 2017, 6:26 pm

        Thank you, Sally! I am glad you liked the recipe! Adding mushrooms is a great idea!

  • [email protected]'s Recipes October 31, 2014, 11:48 am

    The flavour, texture, and colour…o..dear God..this pasta dish looks to die for, Julia.

  • Monica November 2, 2014, 1:22 pm

    Oh boy – that looks amazing. I just made pasta for lunch and now I want to make this!!

  • sarah k @ the pajama chef November 4, 2014, 3:31 pm

    what a flavorful dinner! i love the sound of this!

  • Alice November 11, 2014, 6:23 pm

    I did this meal tonight for my boyfriend and I, and it was amazing! I’m usually not a great cooker, but this recipe is simple. It was yummy! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  • Tim January 7, 2015, 8:13 pm

    Never rinse pasta!!!!!

  • Ann January 31, 2015, 4:22 pm

    You don’t happen to have the nutritional content for this recipe do ya?

  • Margaret January 31, 2015, 10:19 pm

    made this tonight with hawaiin crockpot chicken breasts! Seriously my best meal yet!! This recipe is a keeper!

  • Carol February 5, 2015, 2:33 pm

    Should the tomatoes be seeded as well, or only chopped?

    • Lori March 5, 2015, 8:07 pm

      I seeded them And drained in colander for awhile!

    • Catherine July 23, 2017, 4:19 pm

      I usee cherry tomatoes, halved, and had no problem with seeds ot too much juice. I had the same thought about using regular tomatoes.

  • Andrecus February 10, 2015, 7:51 pm

    I just made this with colossal shrimp plus cajun crab cakes……it was too good. Everybody smackin. Pure silence and smiles.

  • Lori March 5, 2015, 8:05 pm

    Wonderful dish! Family loved it and it was super easy to make.

  • Roxanne March 20, 2015, 9:32 pm

    This was amazing! I didn’t have spinach so used broccoli. I blanched it as the pasta finished cooking. Used bowtie pasta. Added white wine when I turned the shrimp because I had a bottle opened for dinner. Everything is better with wine, even when you cook with it! Otherwise followed directions, but cut in half for the two of us. The wine with the juice from the tomatoes made a nice sauce for the pasta. Love garlic and shrimp. This was wonderful so thank you for the recipe!

  • Amy March 22, 2015, 4:09 pm

    I made this for dinner, I thought it was simple and delicious! My husband thought it was good, but prefers a little less heat. Next time I will cut the amount of crushed red pepper in half. Thank you!

  • Fiona March 25, 2015, 10:05 am

    Awesome dish. I added some chopped, roasted walnuts and feta cheese in place of the parmesan. Delish! Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Jim March 31, 2015, 8:35 am

    Looks great but do not understand rinsing and cooling the pasta only to add it right back in and heat up anyway.

    • Teresa June 27, 2017, 11:51 pm

      I am not sure, but wouldn’t you cool down the pasta to stop the actual cooking process so the pasta does not get mushy? Then you add it back in to mix with the rest of the ingredients and it just heats through. Is that correct?

  • Kim March 31, 2015, 7:11 pm

    Can I use chicken in this dish? I am allergic to shrimp.

    • Inga May 10, 2017, 6:52 pm

      I made it with cubed up chicken tenderloins instead, but didn’t use paprika. After dicing chicken I sprinkled on salt and little ground red pepper. It was great!

  • Kelsey April 1, 2015, 7:07 pm

    Yum! Made this tonight and it turned out great! Thanks for the recipie

  • Holly April 4, 2015, 8:19 pm

    This was excellent! You don’t have to pre cook the spinach. Just add in with the tomatoes and it wilts nicely in about 3 minutes. Also, white wine is a nice sub for the lemon juice!

  • Maria April 8, 2015, 1:13 pm

    Tim and Jim are right. Do not rinse pasta!!
    It does not overcook if not rinsed with cold water. It just looses a lot of the pasta flavour.
    Cheers from Europe!

  • Gene April 18, 2015, 10:54 pm

    Awesome recipe, thanks for sharing. Very tasty.

  • Shiron April 23, 2015, 7:37 pm

    This is the best pasta dish ever! I never leave comments after finding recipes online but I just had too for this dish! The favors are so simple but so sp delicious! I added sliced mushrooms and didn’t rinse my pasta and a touch of white wine…..OMG! I will make this often, it also presents well ao it looks complicated and fancy, but it’s easy, so easy!!

  • Kel Coleman April 25, 2015, 1:12 am

    Made this for dinner but used Old Bay instead of the paprika. Just my Baltimore roots showing. Oh so good.

  • Alicia May 6, 2015, 11:08 pm

    I made this tonight and it was great! The lemon with the tomatoes really made the dish. I added mushrooms too and it was a great combo!

  • Rita June 18, 2015, 3:59 am

    How much calories does this meal have?

  • Esther June 22, 2015, 4:20 pm

    This looks delicious. Trying it tonight 🙂

  • jaee June 30, 2015, 10:34 pm

    cooked spinach- cooked how?

    • Catherine July 23, 2017, 4:21 pm

      I didn’t cook my spinach ahead. I added fresh spinach at the same time as tomatoes. It came out perfect.

  • Rosanne Cofoid September 13, 2015, 8:22 pm

    Delicious and oh so easy! Thanks, Julie!

  • george September 29, 2015, 8:34 pm

    Made this dish this evening and it was fantastic. It was nice and spicy. Thanks for the recipe. Awesome and easy.

  • Connie October 19, 2015, 6:59 pm

    I just made this and it came out great! Like others have said, the spinach doesn’t need to be cooked before hand. It’s very easy to customize this dish to your own liking, I added crimini mushrooms to mine and used pre-cooked shrimp from TJs.

    • Kelly March 29, 2016, 10:21 pm

      I have only pre-cooked shrimp on hand. Can I use that? Any suggested alterations when using pre-cooked shrimp? TIA! I look forward to making this dish tomorrow night for our family of 6

  • Lauren December 2, 2015, 3:50 pm

    Could i substitute shrimp with chicken?

    • Joel March 28, 2016, 5:48 pm

      You can substitute shrimp to any proteins

  • Latrisha Asante December 27, 2015, 9:06 am

    Can I substitute the shrimp for Mahi Mahi fish?

  • sandy January 23, 2016, 10:04 pm

    I have made the shrimp, tomato, sinach pasta in garlic butter sauce with shrimp and chicken. Can I freeze it after it is cooked?

  • Lori February 12, 2016, 12:44 pm

    Love these pasta recipes – great tasting, easy prep comfort food for these blustery days… Cooking them fills my kitchen with a mouth-watering aroma!
    The only drawback – and it has nothing to do with your awesome food – is that the ads cover the pages. Not only are they annoying but they take forever to delete (especially from an iPad) and don’t completely go away even when you are able to finally click the minuscule “X”.
    A big box remains and takes up so much space that when you try to print the recipe – it puts the print pages over to two, which is a totally avoidable waste of paper and the extra paper needlessly bulks up recipe files.
    I understand the reason for the ads, obviously, but can they please be removed on at least the recipe itself in order to keep the copy to one sheet of paper?
    Thank you!

  • Ted March 18, 2016, 12:22 pm

    I think your recipes are the greatest. Keep them coming.

  • Joel March 28, 2016, 5:55 pm

    You could substitute any proteins to dish

  • Kaye April 8, 2016, 2:14 pm

    Thank you for the recipe. I am going to make tonight. I printed out the recipe. I’m disappointed that the #1 Wrinkle Eraser Tip of 2016 had to be printed along with the recipe.

  • Kaye April 9, 2016, 8:03 am

    Very good Julia! I added some asparagus and mushrooms since I had it in the frig. This recipe is a keeper and it was so quick and easy to make too. Thanks!

    • Julia June 28, 2016, 11:18 pm

      Asparagus and mushrooms sound like a great addition here! Very refreshing!

  • Kristen Devlin April 10, 2016, 5:27 pm

    Recipe was simple to make and very delicious! We will be making this again soon!

    • Julia June 28, 2016, 11:16 pm

      Thank you! Glad to hear that you liked it so much you will be making it again! 🙂

  • MK April 11, 2016, 8:58 am

    Amazing dish. I did not have fresh spinach but had a package of creamed frozen spinach.
    Came out awesome with a bit of creamy sauce. Making it the same way tonight.
    Loved it. Try it this way.

    • Julia June 28, 2016, 11:16 pm

      Good to know that it works with creamed spinach!

  • LuLu May 3, 2016, 3:08 pm

    This Shrimp tomato and spinach pasta recipe is a boom. My husband and I could not get over how delicious it is. Will make many many more times. Thank you

    • Julia June 28, 2016, 11:15 pm

      Thank you so much! Really happy you enjoyed it! 🙂

  • Cheryl May 27, 2016, 9:46 pm

    Is it really necessary to cook the spinach? Usually spinach cooks/wilts rapidly.

    • Julia June 28, 2016, 11:14 pm

      No, it’s not really necessary to cook the spinach. You can just add it to the skillet and let it wilt while the pasta cooks.

  • Angela G June 11, 2016, 6:44 pm

    Delicious! Great recipe. Wouldn’t change a thing.

    • Julia June 28, 2016, 11:13 pm

      Thank you, Angela!

  • Kirstin June 14, 2016, 7:20 pm

    This is the 3rd time I’ve made this and my family loves it. It’s a new favorite. I just changed it to angel hair pasta but still love it. Thanks

    • Julia June 28, 2016, 11:12 pm

      Thank you – I am always so happy to hear when people love the recipes I post. 🙂

  • Bcs July 14, 2016, 5:09 pm

    Instead of cooked spinach I’d recommend 2 c of fresh baby spinach

  • Vanita July 19, 2016, 4:14 pm

    Made it. Loved it. It was soooo easy thank you for sharing.

  • Tracy July 24, 2016, 12:05 pm

    Made this today. Delicious! Added half finely chopped bell pepper and a finely chopped medium red onion. I didn’t have spinach so before serving I added a handful of finely chopped fresh parsley and sprinkled all with garlic powder and dried oregano. We absolutely loved this dish and will certainly be making it again!

  • Claire Cooper July 24, 2016, 12:43 pm

    Julia do you have an idea of the type of dish to put the pasta dish in and the type to serve guests. The recipe looks delish

    • Catherine July 23, 2017, 4:17 pm

      I have a pasta serving set with a large shallow serving bowl and matching individual bowls. It looked lovely served this way.

  • DJDL July 28, 2016, 4:08 pm

    Rinsing pasta is a no no. The natural starch of the pasta is what makes the favors stick to it. Rinsing stops that from happening.

  • Vernia August 17, 2016, 4:52 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight. Used fresh spinach and added sausage. Delicious!!

  • debbe August 30, 2016, 3:51 am

    made this last week, the paprika built the dish – loved it, it is in my little box of recipes. will be once fortnight in my house.

  • Vickie October 2, 2016, 6:21 pm

    I just made this for supper. EXCELLENT!!!!! I did do a few things different. I added fresh mushrooms and I added the spinach without cooking it. This was the best pasta dish I’ve made in along time. Should also be good with some good white wine for more juice in it.

  • Michele Mitchell October 9, 2016, 12:06 pm

    If you’re cooking pasta separately, it is technically a 2-pot meal! Looks delicious.

  • Jack L October 15, 2016, 9:48 pm

    Prepared this tonight. It was awesome. Thanks for sharing. I believe it will count
    as a low calorie meal. Which makes it even better.

  • Erin November 7, 2016, 8:13 pm

    This recipe was super easy and spool good! Thank you for making tonight’s dinner so relaxed and enjoyable.

    • Julia December 20, 2016, 5:47 pm

      Erin, thank you so much for your sweet comment! I am glad you liked this recipe!

  • Jayne November 13, 2016, 11:00 am

    I plan to make this tomorrow night. I need to have it nearly ready when I get home from the gym, I am thinking of taking it to the point when you cook the pasta, just before I leave . Do you think that will still be ok. I’ll be gone 2 hours. Or should I just par cook the shrimp then have everything else ready. Would appreciate your advice

    • Julia December 20, 2016, 5:19 pm

      This recipe is really the best when served immediately because the spinach and tomatoes really don’t need that much cooking, and it’s so easy to overcook the shrimp, that I prefer to cook the shrimp right before serving!

  • Donna Lanza November 29, 2016, 10:13 pm

    Made this tonight for company. It was one of the most delicious pastas I have ever made. I did add a little white wine and fresh parsley. Did all the cooking of everything at 4:00. Took it off the heat. Dinner was at 7:30. Cooked pasta, heated shrimp and spinach (used spinach and kale combo, AND DID NOT PRE COOK SPINACH .) Thank you so much
    This is my new go to pasta dishes for company.
    So delicious!!

    • Julia December 17, 2016, 8:05 pm

      Thank you, Donna, I am so glad this recipe worked for you and your company!

  • Keeley December 5, 2016, 4:56 pm

    I made this last night it was sooo good

    • Julia December 17, 2016, 7:46 pm

      Thank you, I am so glad you enjoyed it!

  • Virginia January 3, 2017, 9:43 am

    Can 2% milk be used instead of half and half?

  • Kim January 19, 2017, 10:15 pm

    Hello, Just wondering if you have the nutrition facts on this meal. I made it for the the family tonight and it’s a winner and a must to make again :))

  • Cheryl February 27, 2017, 12:25 pm

    Nutritional information please?

    • Julia March 11, 2017, 2:04 am

      I don’t have that capability yet on my site, but you can copy and paste the ingredients to get the nutritional data, using this online tool: https://www.caloriecount.com/

  • Cara April 2, 2017, 3:18 pm

    My dad made this a few weeks ago and it was delicious. It’s a repeat. And pretty healthy. Thanks!

  • Robert April 6, 2017, 9:01 pm

    I made it! Not only was it quick, it was delicious! I added mushrooms and crab as well.

  • Jessica April 7, 2017, 10:58 am

    My boyfriend and I LOVED this recipe! My first time cooking with fresh shrimp (I even peeled and deveined them myself!) and it went great! I love shrimp, but when I make them at home, they always taste terrible. I couldn’t not attempt this dish though. We had everything but the shrimp already in the house, so that was an added bonus. It was super easy, even for a novice like me. We added extra spinach, and maybe a little more garlic, since I didn’t measure, but it was SO good. He wants it to be a weekly meal, and kept saying I’ve been hiding my cooking talent! Ha! If only he knew how easy it was! THANK YOU!

  • Mary April 19, 2017, 1:38 pm

    Hi, did you alter this recipe at all in the last several months? I could swear it tastes different from the first time I made it. Maybe it’s just my imagination…?

  • Deborah April 23, 2017, 6:18 pm

    Cooked this today, so good and easy. Will be using this recipe again……

  • Karen May 12, 2017, 2:51 pm

    This pasta was wonderful. Lighter than cream sauces .

  • Jeanne May 24, 2017, 1:03 pm

    Hubby found this recipe online yesterday and I tried it for dinner. We loved it. I thought it was a little too spicy for me and thought I might cut down on the chili flakes but I just had it again for lunch today and it tasted even better! The spiciness mellowed out and the
    pasta absorbed all of those wonderful tomato juices and garlic flavor. I’m wondering if I should just make it a day ahead and warm it up like I did for lunch. I will definitely be making it again for sure.

  • Jayvenes July 3, 2017, 5:21 pm

    I made this for Sunday dinner and it was very good.

  • Deebi27 July 11, 2017, 10:40 pm

    As I have made 5- 6 of your amazing meals, tonight Shrimp, Tomato & Spinach Pasta in Garlic sauce! I know it will be yummy!

  • Catherine July 23, 2017, 4:14 pm

    This is an awesome recipe that became a favorite the first time I made it. It’s such a delicious blend of flavors and very quick to make.
    Two things I changed because it’s faster and seemed more sensible to me. I started the pasta first so that it was done as I put the shrimp in the pan, drained it, but did not rinse and added it immediately to the shrimp mixture. I also did not pre-cook the spinach. I used fresh baby spinach, chopped up some. I added it at the same stage as the fresh tomatoes. It came out perfectly cooked, not overcooked.
    The spices and sauce are perfect just as written. This neal is colorful, smells great and tastes even better. Thank you so much for this beautiful dish.

  • Cherisse October 6, 2017, 8:22 pm

    This was awesome. So good!!! Wish I had doubled the recipe!

    • Julia October 31, 2017, 7:13 pm

      So glad you liked it! Thank you for stopping by!

  • Wendy October 8, 2017, 3:37 pm

    Delicious…even better after 1-2 days….flavorful!

    • Julia October 31, 2017, 7:02 pm

      Thank you, Wendy! I am glad you enjoyed it! This recipe is definitely flavorful!

  • Lea magruder November 6, 2017, 6:41 pm

    Made this tonite just like recipe calls and added little white cooking wine. It is amazing. I will be making it again.

    • Julia November 13, 2017, 8:59 pm

      Thank you so much! So glad you liked it! The addition of white wine is a great idea!

  • Rachel November 18, 2017, 4:23 pm

    My hubs accidentally bought crooked shrimp. How would you adjust this recipe?

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