Pasta with shrimp and avocado sauce

Summer is a perfect season for relaxed, no-fuss, cooking; this salad was prepared at the last minute with ingredients in my pantry and freezer; shrimp, whole-wheat boxed pasta, broccoli, avocados, and a medley of basic spices. Hearty but not heavy. Served with an avocado sauce just because I had some avocado laying around, and figured why not? 

 INGREDIENTS: 6 servings

  • 1 pound of shrimp
  • 2 tsp of cumin
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil (more as needed)
  • juice of a lime or lemon
  • rind of a lime or lemon (optional)
  •  4 cloves of garlic, mashed into a paste with salt and divided
  • 1 tsp of Aleppo  pepper or chili powder
  • 1/4 cup of assorted herbs
  • olive oil, as needed
  • 1 cup of broccoli florets, steamed
  • 2 avocados, mashed
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup of drained Greek yogurt or labneh (optional)
  • 1/2 pound of dry boxed pasta such as penne or tube, whole-wheat preferably 


1. Cook the pasta in lots of salted boiling water; the last 5 minutes of cooking, drop the broccoli florets in the pasta water; drain pasta and broccoli when al dente and pour a few tablespoons of olive oil and toss to keep the pasta from sticking.

2. Peel the shrimp and sprinkle with cumin and paprika. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil and fry the shrimp till pink. Add the mashed garlic and half the lemon juice and toss to coat the shrimp. Transfer the shrimp to the pasta bowl and toss with the pasta and broccoli and chopped herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning.

3. Mash the avocados and add the remaining lemon juice, garlic and yogurt or labneh; serve with the pasta.


Um Elias showing me how she prepares zaatar.





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  1. Posted July 26, 2012 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    Such a lovely idea to use avocados! You chose well with shape of pasta – works so well with that gorgeous shrimp.

  2. Posted July 26, 2012 at 3:57 am | Permalink

    Wow but that sounds good, all my favourite flavours :) Diane

  3. Posted July 26, 2012 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    What a beautiful shrimp dish. Love it! I love my zatar too. its a wonderful herb to cook with.

  4. Posted July 26, 2012 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    What a perfect summer meal! And a clever and delicious way to use an avocado – which pairs so well with shrimp. I love the flavors of this dish and I love the simplicity!

  5. Posted July 26, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    It would be impossible to top this Joumana…avocado, aleppo, broccoli, plum shrimp???? Yes! Yes! Yes! :))

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  6. Posted July 26, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I love everything about this pasta dish! Even the way you used seashell pasta with shrimp. I wish I had this for dinner tonight.

  7. Theresa Gebrail
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    I love the photo of the woman preparing the zaatar. I have some growing in my garden and was wondering how to dry it and what else needs to be added. Any ideas?

  8. Joumana
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    @Theresa: You need to wait for the zaatar to flower and then for the flower bud to close up; then you harvest it and place it on a sheet in a dark place that gets a good draught to dry for about a month; then you remove the stalks and twigs and take it to the mill or mill it yourself in a flour mill; then you add some golden toasted sesame seeds and sumac and salt, to taste. I have a post with the proportions under zaatar in the blog.

  9. Theresa Gebrail
    Posted July 27, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Thank you! The zaatar is flowering now, so I’ll be picking it soon.

  10. Posted July 28, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I love the flavors at work here, Joumana. Do you toss the pasta with the sauce, or just spoon a little over the top of the dish?

  11. Joumana
    Posted July 28, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    @Oui, Chef: I made the sauce and since it was too thick to toss and I did not want the photos to look like the pasta was green, I kept it on the side and we ate it by dipping the pasta in it.

  12. Posted July 29, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Fabulous salad!!

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