Grilled pesto shrimp

Pesto is a perfect summer flavor. Marinate shrimp in your favorite blend before grilling and serve up this tasty alternative to backyard burgers.

The Pastry Chef's Baking
Marinate jumbo shrimp in pesto for 20 minutes, then heat up the grill. You'll have dinner ready in minutes.

Want something a little different from hamburgers and hot dogs? Or, more importantly, something that leaves room for dessert afterwards? Then try these pesto shrimp skewers. I love both shrimp and pesto so I can't imagine why I haven't made something like this before. I used to eat a lot more pesto when I grew my own basil a couple of summers ago but ever since, I haven't had it as often. But I was thawing some shrimp and wanted to do something different with them so I jumped at this recipe I found on Pinterest from Skinny Taste.

First I had to hunt down some basil. I knew Trader Joe's sold the basil plants but I was looking for just the leaves. I finally found them in a plastic box in the organic section for $2.69. The basil plants, which carried a lot more leaves and were lushly thriving, were $2.99 each. The finance nerd in me couldn't not buy the live plant knowing basil is a creature that keeps on giving over and over again, even after you cut off the first harvest and it goes from lush to shorn. Past experience has taught me that it'll go from shorn back to lush very shortly and, for 30 extra cents, I was looking at being well supplied with multiple pesto dishes from 1 basil plant. Despite not having a green thumb, basil is the one plant I haven't killed and even managed to make grow which tells you it's likely to grow regardless of what you do to it.

This is a classic pesto recipe except it doesn't have pine nuts but I loved these skewers. I don't use my indoor grill very often because it's a pain to clean. But I'd put up with that for these skewers. This is a very simple, straightforward recipe. Putting the pesto together literally only took a few minutes so you can mix this up the morning you need it, let it marinate until lunchtime, thread the shrimp onto the skewers and grill them just in time for your barbecue. If you don't anticipate eating all of the skewers in your initial serving of them, try cooking them only to the point of being barely done. When you heat them up later in the microwave, they'll keep cooking and can eventually dry out if heated too hot or too often. Serve on a bed of salad greens or eat straight off the skewers – either way, they're delicious.

Grilled pesto shrimp skewers
From Skinny Taste

1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

3 tablespoons olive oil (I used only 2 tablespoons)

1-1/2 lbs. jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (weight after peeled)

Kosher salt and fresh pepper, to taste

7 wooden skewers

1. In a food processor pulse basil, garlic, Parmesan Reggiano cheese, salt and pepper until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil while pulsing.

2. Combine raw shrimp with pesto and marinate a few hours in a bowl. Soak wooden skewers in water at least 20 minutes (or use metal ones to avoid this step).

3. Thread shrimp onto 7 skewers.

4. Heat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan over medium-low heat until hot. Be sure the grates are clean and spray lightly with oil. Place the shrimp on the hot grill and cook until shrimp turns pink on the bottom, about 3-4 minutes; turn and continue cooking until shrimp is opaque and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.

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