Shrimp Panzanella (Grilled With Pesto, 26 Minutes)

Grilled pesto shrimp panzanella is a delicious mix of fresh tomatoes, grilled bread, plump shrimp and pesto. Summer backyard fare at its best that takes less than 30 minutes with just 7 ingredients.

The whole dish screams summer – grilling the shrimp and bread, summer tomatoes and fresh basil pesto. Great combination.

grilled shirmp panzanella with pesto on greens on a plate.

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.

The grilled bread gets chewy on the inside and still maintains a bit of crunch on the outside. We skewer the shrimp for grilling to prevent them from falling through the grill grates (and it’s much quicker to flip them this way!)

Bottom line: This grilled shrimp Panzanella salad with pesto is a quick and easy meal, perfect for a summer lunch or backyard dinner. Serve it warm or at room temperature.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

raw shrimp, cherry tomatoes, pesto, baguette, green onion, lemon, garlic, olive oil.
Ingredients: shrimp, tomatoes, bread, lemon, oil, pesto, garlic, spinach, green onion

Shrimp: I prefer to use large shrimp for this recipe to avoid over cooking.

Pesto: For simplicity, buy a good quality pesto or make your own homemade pesto. Here is a recipe made in a food processor for a 5-minute basil pesto with walnuts.

Bread: I like to use a French bread or baguette – a bit on the stale side is best, but don’t worry if it’s not.

  • Instead of grilling the shrimp, you can roast them in a 425F/218C oven for 6 minutes. And the bread can be broiled for a couple of minutes until golden brown.
  • Add-ins:
    • To make the meal stretch farther, add red onion, olives, a grilled bell pepper, cucumbers, shredded carrots and/or other veggies.
    • Add toasted walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios or other nuts.
  • Substitutes:
    • Pesto: Try other types of pesto like spinach, parsley, etc.
    • Tomatoes: Any ripe tomatoes will do, but you simply can’t beat peak-of-the-season heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes. Cherry tomoatoes or grape tomatoes work well too.
    • Tofu: Substitute tofu for the pesto shrimp for a vegetarian version.

How to make grilled pesto shrimp Panzanella

skewered raw shrimp coated in pesto, baguette wedges on pan.
Thread shrimp onto skewers and coat in pesto.
grilled skewered shrimp coated in pesto, grilled baguette wedges on pan.
Grill pesto shrimp skewers and bread for about 2 minutes per side.
grilled shirmp panzanella with pesto on greens on a plate.
Rub garlic on bread and cut bread into small pieces. Make the pesto vinaigrette and toss with bread cubes, shrimp, tomatoes and green onions. Let sit for 10 minutes to absorb the flavors.

Thawing: If you forget to defrost the shrimp overnight in the fridge (best option), place them in a colander and run cold water over them for 10-15 minutes.

Cooking: Don’t overcook the shrimp or they will turn rubbery. They only take about 2 minutes to grill per side. Maybe one extra minute if shrimp are large. They are done when they turn opaque.

Shortcuts

  • Use a good store-bought pesto from your local grocery store or Costco.
  • Buy frozen peeled and deveined shrimp. Thaw them first.

Make Ahead

The dish can be made ahead of time since it’s served warm or at room temperature. In fact, it’s even better if you give it a bit of time to develop the flavors. You can make it the day before and serve it cold, but I find it is more flavorful when you bring it to room temperature.

What to serve with shrimp pesto salad

I like to serve the grilled shrimp salad over a bed of greens for the color and nutrition. You can pair the pesto shrimp with a creamy tomato soup or this easy gazpacho recipe and a cold beer.

grilled shirmp panzanella with pesto on greens on a plate.

If you like bread salad, try one of these:

If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟with a comment in the recipe card below. Thanks so much!

grilled shirmp panzanella with pesto on greens on a plate.
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5 from 7 votes

Shrimp Panzanella (Grilled With Pesto, 26 Minutes)

Grilled pesto shrimp panzanella is a delicious mix of fresh tomatoes, grilled bread, plump shrimp and pesto. Summer backyard fare at its best that takes less than 30 minutes with just 7 ingredients.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time6 minutes
Total Time26 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 3

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (thawed if frozen)
  • 5 tablespoon pesto, divided, Note 1
  • 1/2 small baguette, cut lengthwise in quarters or French bread
  • 1 clove garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Garnish: chopped fresh basil (optional)

Instructions

  • HEAT GRILL to medium-high heat, about 425F/218C. (If using wooden skewers, soak them beforehand for 10 minutes). Note 3 if you don't have a grill.
  • PREPARE SHRIMP: In a medium bowl, mix shrimp with 3 tablespoons of pesto. Thread shrimp onto metal or presoaked wooden skewers. 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 minutes per side (or 3 minutes if very large) 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/2.5 cm).
  • 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 a large bowl. Pour on Pesto dressing. Toss everything together. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to allow flavors to develop and soak into bread. Add chopped fresh basil leaves for garnish and serve over baby spinach or other greens if desired.

Recipe Notes

  1. Pesto: Use any pesto you like (including store-bought) or try our basil pesto recipe: Process in food processor until smooth: 1 cup/24 grams packed Basil leaves, 1/4 cup/20 grams grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons pinenuts or walnuts, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 1/4 cup/54 grams olive oil. (makes 1/2 cup/120 grams).
  2. Variations and substitutions:
    • Instead of grilling the shrimp, you can roast them in a 425F/218C oven for 6 minutes. And the bread can be broiled for a couple of minutes until golden brown.Β 
    • Add-ins: To make the meal stretch farther, add red onion, olives, a grilled bell pepper, cucumbers, shredded carrots and/or other veggies. Or add toasted walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios or other nuts.
    • Heat: Add a few red pepper flakes to spice it up.Β 
    • Substitutes:
      • Tomatoes: Any ripe tomatoes will do, but you simply can’t beat peak-of-the-season heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes work well too.
      • Tofu: Substitute tofu for the pesto shrimp for a vegetarian version.
      • Pesto: Try other types of pesto like spinach, parsley, etc.
  3. 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.
  4. Make Ahead: The pesto shrimp salad is even better made 10-15 minutes or more ahead to develop the flavors. If serving cold, the shrimp and bread can be grilled a day or two before. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days.Β Β 
Β 
Nutrition values are estimates.Β 

Nutrition

Calories: 293kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Sodium: 269mg | Potassium: 278mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 486IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 2mg
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5 from 7 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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