Grilled Pesto Shrimp Panzanella combines fresh tomatoes, grilled bread, plump shrimp and pesto. Summer backyard fare at its best.
The whole dish screams summer – grilling the shrimp and bread, summer tomatoes and fresh basil pesto. Great combination.
Panzanella is a rustic bread salad, typically served with tomatoes, basil and a vinaigrette dressing. By turning the basil into a pesto used in the shrimp marinade and dressing, both the shrimp and bread cubes get well coated in the herby, salty, garlicky flavors. Add a squeeze of lemon and it’s good to go.
My husband nodded enthusiastically the other night (his mouth was full) as he was devouring it in our backyard.
I like to serve the grilled shrimp salad over a bed of greens for the color and nutrition. The grilled bread gets chewy on the inside and still maintains a bit of crispness on the outside.
Try serving the pesto shrimp with a Creamy Tomato Soup and a cold beer.
Tailor To Your Taste
- To make the meal stretch farther, add some onions, olives, grilled peppers, cucumbers, shredded carrots and/or other veggies.
- Add some toasted walnuts, pistachios or other nuts.
- You can use other types of pesto like spinach, parsley, etc.
- Any tomatoes will do, but you simply can’t beat peak-of-the-season heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes.
- Substitute tofu for the pesto shrimp for a vegetarian version.
- Buy a good pesto in the store.
- Instead of grilling the shrimp, you can roast them in a 425F oven for 6 minutes. And the bread can be broiled for a couple of minutes.
- The dish can be made ahead of time since it’s served cold or at room temperature. In fact, it’s even better if you give it a bit of time to develop the flavors.
Grilled Pesto Shrimp Panzanella
- 400 grams large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 3/4 pound)
- 5 tbsp pesto, divided (NOTE 1)
- 1/2 small baguette, cut lengthwise in quarters
- 1 clove garlic, cut in half horizontally
- 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- chopped fresh basil (for garnish)
- Heat grill to medium high.
- PREPARE SHRIMP: In a medium bowl, mix shrimp with 3 tablespoons of pesto. Thread shrimp onto metal skewers. (If using wooden skewers, soak them beforehand for 10 minutes). Let shrimp sit and marinate for 10-15 minutes if you have time.
- GRILL SHRIMP AND BREAD: Spray shrimp skewers with oil to avoid sticking on grill. Grill skewers for 2-3 minutes per side just until translucent. At the same time, grill baguette quarters on all sides until slightly charred. Remove shrimp and bread from grill. Rub cut half of garlic over bread. Cut bread into bite size pieces (1 inch).
- MAKE PESTO DRESSING: Mix remaining 2 tablespoons pesto, olive oil and lemon juice together a cup or small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- ASSEMBLE: Put shrimp, tomatoes and cut bread in serving bowl. Pour on Pesto dressing. Mix everything together. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to allow flavors to develop and soak into bread. Add chopped basil for garnish and serve over baby spinach or other greens if desired.
- Pesto: Use any pesto you like (including store-bought) or try our Classic Basil Pesto recipe: Process in food processor until smooth: 1 cup packed Basil leaves, 1/4 grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons pinenuts or walnuts, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 1/4 olive oil. (makes 1/2 cup).
- No Grill? Instead of grilling the shrimp, you can roast them in a 425F oven for 6 minutes. And the bread can be broiled for a couple of minutes.
- Make Ahead: The pesto shrimp salad is even better made ahead to develop the flavors.
Here’s another Panzanella recipe you might like: