Grilled Shrimp with Awesome Arugula Pesto and Charred Lemon

While the gorgeous grilled shrimp get all the attention in this recipe, our bright and delicious Awesome Arugula Pesto is really the backbone! We love this pesto as a fast way to elevate SO many dishes, and this is a classic example of what you can do with it. After the shrimp is grilled, you can toss the shrimp directly in the pesto or pour a generous amount of pesto on a white plate and use the back on a spoon to spread it into an elegant backdrop for nesting the shrimp and lemons. This simple plating tip makes for a stunning presentation! 

Recipe calls for shell-on shrimp, but feel free to get deveined if you prefer, especially if serving children, elders or people with mobility impairments. Cooking shrimp in the shell adds a lot of flavor to the meat and also provides a protective layer to keep them from quickly overcooking, especially when grilling! Besides, peeling shrimp around a table of loved ones is the definition of a party we want to be at.


1 lb. shell-on shrimp (16–20 per lb.)

1 package (2 ounces) Forward Greens Hot Mix

2 medium-large lemons, cut in half and grilled face down

¼ cup olive oil, + more for grill grate or pan

3 garlic cloves, minced

¾ teaspoon himalayan sea salt

½ cup Awesome Arugula Pesto

  1. Prepare the grill by heating to medium-high heat, lightly oiling the grate. If making this over your kitchen stove, warm cast iron skillet to medium heat and drizzle pan with olive oil. 
  2. If using shell-on shrimp, we recommend taking the step of using kitchen shears to snip down the back of each shell along the vein until just before the end. This will be helpful later when enjoying after grilling. You can also peel shrimp down to the tail for ease of eating. 
  3. In a small jar, add ¼ cup olive oil, sea salt, 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed grilled lemon and minced garlic. Whisk to combine.
  4. Give the shrimp a rinse and then add to a medium sized bowl. Toss in olive oil mixture and thoroughly coat.
  5. Grill shrimp for 3-4 minutes each, turning half way through. Make sure to not over grill, shrimp should just turn opaque and shells should have some beautiful charring from the grill or skillet. Keep in mind cooking time will differ slightly if the shells or on or peeled off. 
  6. Slice your lemons widthwise in the middle and grill alongside the shrimp, about 2-3 minutes each. Strong grill marks make a beautiful statement in this dish and adds an additional dimension of flavor. 
  7. Prepare for serving by spreading pesto lightly on a plate and spread an even layer of Forward Greens Hot Mix over the top. Finish by arranging the grilled shrimp and adding the lemon halves on plate edges. Give a fresh quick squeeze over the top just before serving and prepare for the applause!  


Awesome Arugula Pesto

Recipe Yields: 1 ¼ cups

This pesto is an excellent fresh, healthy take on classic pesto, offering the perfect elevated addition to your staple “fridge door” condiments! By using flavorful and nutritious arugula, this pesto can be made sustainably year round, not just in the summer months when basil is abundant. We think you will LOVE this versatile pesto that comes together in minutes. Use it as a dip, spread, sauce or honestly, slathered on just about anything to add instant color and flavor. Making a double batch is highly recommended! Spread it on toast, layer it in our Heirloom tomato on puff pastry tart or spoon directly into your mouth ;) The options are endless. 

2 packages (4 ounces) Forward Greens Awesome Arugula 

¾ cup parmesan cheese, grated

⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted

3 garlic cloves

¾ cup olive oil (high quality)

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

½ teaspoon himalayan sea salt

  1. Begin by adding the grated cheese, pine nuts, garlic cloves and salt into the bowl of your food processor and pulse into a coarse meal, making sure the cloves of garlic are broken down and no large chunks remain, scraping down the slides if needed. 
  2. Next heap the arugula on top of the nut and cheese mixture and pour in your measured olive oil and lemon juice. Blend, stopping to scrape sides for any stray bits until the pesto is bright green and has your desired consistency. We love it as a more viscous, creamy sauce but you can blend for less time if you want it to have more variation in texture.
  3. Transfer to an airtight, sealed container. Store in the fridge for up to 7 days.