This spring inspired angel hair pasta with shrimp and asparagus is light, fresh, and super satisfying. It’s easy enough for a weeknight dinner, but feels fancy enough for date night in!
I’ve probably eaten more pasta over the last year than I have in the last 5 years combined. Since we’ve all be quarantining at home, there is just something so perfect about pasta for dinner. It’s easy to make, warm and comforting, and super customizable. With pasta, the options are seemingly endless!
As we head into (slightly) warmer temperatures in March, I’m starting to crave fresh spring flavors. This angel hair pasta with shrimp and asparagus is light, yet comforting and filling at the same time. It has a hefty amount of vegetables, and paired with a lean protein like shrimp, this pasta dish is actually pretty healthy!
Ingredients in this angel hair pasta with shrimp and asparagus
Here is everything you need to make this pasta dish:
Angel hair pasta: This type of pasta is basically super thin spaghetti. Angel hair pasta is perfect for light pasta sauces and vegetable-based dishes – like this one! I used whole wheat angel hair, but you can use regular or even legume-based pasta.
Shrimp: Buy fresh shrimp that is peeled and deveined for easy preparation.
Garlic: You’ll use five cloves for lots of flavor.
White onion makes up the base flavor along with garlic.
Cherry tomatoes: When cooked on the stovetop, the cherry tomatoes burst to release all their delicious juices into the sauce.
Asparagus: You’ll use a whole bunch of asparagus in this pasta dish.
Parsley adds fresh and bright flavor.
Lemon juice adds a bit of acidity to balance out the savory flavors.
White wine – Pasta and white wine just belong together! Just a little adds tons of flavor to this light pasta sauce.
Red pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese, for serving.
How to make angel hair pasta with shrimp and asparagus
This recipe is easy to make and takes less than 30 minutes to come together. First, start by cooking your shrimp in a shallow frying pan. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
Tip for cooking shrimp: Use a large, shallow non-stick skillet, and heat a generous amount of olive oil on medium heat. Arrange the shrimp in one layer in the preheated pan leaving space between each piece. It’s OK to cook the shrimp in batches.
Shrimp cooks very quickly, so flip each piece after just 1-2 minutes, then cook for an additional minute. Shrimp is done cooking when completely opaque inside – but be careful not to overcook, as shrimp will take on a rubbery texture and start to shrink.
Next, blanch your asparagus. Blanching is a cooking method where vegetables are quickly scalded in boiling water, then moved to an ice bath or under cold water to stop the cooking process.
Blanching vegetables like asparagus brings out the vibrant green color, maintains crunchy texture, and preserves a lot of the nutrients in the vegetable.
In the same pan you cooked the shrimp in, cook the onion and garlic. Add red pepper flakes and white wine. Let the garlic an onion continue to cook until the wine has mostly evaporated.
Next, add the cherry tomatoes to the pan with a little olive oil as needed. Cook until the cherry tomatoes burst and release their juices.
Add the blanched asparagus to the pan and stir to combine. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley, with more olive oil as needed.
Cook the angel hair pasta according to package instructions. Reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water.
Strain the pasta and add it directly to the pan with the vegetable sauce, along with a few tablespoons of the pasta water. Use tongs to gently toss the pasta in the sauce, coating all the noodles evenly.
Serve pasta topped with 5-6 shrimp on top per person. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and more parsley.
Storage tip: This recipe keeps well in the fridge for 1-2 days. I recommend storing the shrimp and pasta separately in airtight plastic or glass containers, and reheating them separately in the microwave to avoid overcooking the shrimp.
Is angel hair pasta with shrimp and asparagus healthy?
As a Registered Dietitian, I am here to tell you that pasta can absolutely be part of a healthy meal! When paired with nutritious ingredients, pasta is filling, satisfying, and nutrient dense.
This pasta dish is definitely on the healthier side. Here’s why:
Filled with vegetables. This dish is packed with different types of vegetables – cherry tomatoes, asparagus, garlic, and onion. Including more vegetables in your diet can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, help with weight maintenance, and lower your risk of chronic diseases. Vegetables add filling dietary fiber to this pasta dish, which also helps balance your blood sugar levels.
Shrimp is a lean protein. Protein is important for muscle growth and repair and keeps us full and satisfied. Lean proteins are low in calories and have little to no saturated fat, so eating them will not affect our blood cholesterol levels. A 3 ounce serving of shrimp has 84 calories, 18 grams of protein, and micronutrients, like selenium, vitamin B12, and iron.
Cooked using healthy fat. Olive oil is rich in healthy unsaturated fat. Most of the fat in olive oil comes from monounsaturated fat. Replacing saturated fat in the diet with monounsaturated fat will produce favorable effects on blood cholesterol levels, by lowering the “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Bonus if you use whole wheat or legume-based angel hair pasta, which has more dietary fiber than regular pasta!
Toss the shrimp with half the lemon juice and a generous shake of salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add the shrimp to the skillet in an even layer, making sure not to crowd the pan.
Cook shrimp for 1-2 minutes per side, then remove from the pan and set aside on a plate.
In the same pan you cooked the shrimp, heat the remaining olive oil and add the garlic and onion with a generous shake of salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Add the red pepper flakes and white wine. Continue cooking until the wine has mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Add the cherry tomatoes with a splash more olive oil if needed. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes burst. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
Blanch the asparagus: bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath in a mixing bowl with ice and cold water – set it right next to the stove.
Add asparagus and cook for exactly 30 seconds, then use tongs to remove and place the asparagus spears directly in the ice bath. Once cooled, chop into small, 1 inch pieces.
Add the asparagus and parsley to the pan with the tomatoes. Stir to combine and reduce heat to low.
Cook pasta according to package instructions in salted water. Reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water.
Strain the pasta and transfer to the pan with vegetables. Add a splash of pasta water, the remaining lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil. Gently toss the pasta in the sauce so everything is evenly distributed.
Serve pasta topped with 4-6 pieces of shrimp and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.
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