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A bowl of Cajun shrimp pasta in a creamy sauce sprinkled with parsley

Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta, Lightened Up

This creamy, cream-less, Cajun shrimp pasta is FULL of flavor without all the calories. It's a perfect 30-minute weeknight meal that feels way more indulgent than it is. 
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 500kcal
Author Ann Otis


  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 lb shrimp fresh or frozen and thawed, shelled and deveined*
  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ red bell pepper diced
  • ½ green bell pepper


  • 4 oz white mushrooms sliced
  • 2 roma tomatoes chopped
  • 1 12 oz can whole evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain or creole mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)


  • In a medium bowl, combine the paprika, onion powder, thyme, oregano, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
  • Add the shrimp and toss to coat thoroughly.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and cook the penne according to the package directions. Drain and return the pasta to the pot.
  • While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 minute, then toss to finish cooking, just until it’s no longer opaque (just about 2 minutes total). Remove shrimp to a plate. Lower the heat to medium.
  • Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in the same pan and add the onion, garlic, green and red pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Add evaporated milk and mustard and stir to combine.
  • Bring to a simmer and simmer until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 4-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for a minute more.* Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Add the pasta to the sauce or the sauce to the pasta (depending on the size of your pan), and stir to combine. Stir in the shrimp and its juices. Serve and garnish with chopped parsley if desired.


*To quickly thaw frozen shrimp, put it in a colander under cold running water until thawed.
*Be careful not to cook the sauce for too long after adding the tomatoes and before adding the pasta, or the acid in the tomatoes will cause the sauce to curdle. This does not affect the flavor, only the look!


Calories: 500kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 208mg | Sodium: 977mg | Potassium: 576mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 859IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 285mg | Iron: 3mg