A Spicy Perspective

Seafood Marinara (with Shrimp)

Seafood Marinara Recipe – Tender, plump shrimp are simmered in a rustic homemade marinara for a deeply flavorful red sauce that is perfect to serve over your favorite pasta!

Close view bowl of zucchini noodles with seafood marinara.

Why We Love This Easy Recipe

Who doesn’t love a simple pasta with red sauce? My tried-and-true homemade marinara sauce is a family favorite. It has deep delicious tomato, onion, and garlic flavors, but really could not be any easier to prepare in under an hour. Here we take that traditional rustic sauce and make it more inviting by tossing in light and tender shrimp.

This Seafood Marinara recipe is made with shrimp, but can be adjusted to include other types of seafood as well, like mussels, clams, calamari, scallops, lobster, prawns, or chunks of white fish. It’s wonderful to serve over traditional pasta, or with healthy zucchini noodles for a low-carb dish. And honestly, I would not blame you one bit if you eat the red sauce with a spoon right from the pan!

Top view red sauce with shrimp over zoodles.

Ingredients You Need

  • Butter – unsalted (or olive oil)
  • Onion – diced
  • Garlic cloves – minced
  • Shrimp – peeled and deveined
  • Cooking sherry – to sauté the shrimp
  • Tomato sauce – canned or jarred
  • Basil leaves – fresh, chopped
  • Salt and pepper – to taste
Bowl of shrimp marinara over noodles, with fork taking a bite.

How to Make Shrimp Marinara

Set a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the butter, diced onion, and garlic. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes to soften the onions. Make sure not to burn the garlic and onions. If needed turn the temperature down just a little.

Stir in the shrimp and cooking sherry. Continue to sauté for 2 to 3 more minutes until the shrimp are mostly cooked through. But do not overcook! Remember when cooking shrimp: C shape means “cooked” and O means “overcooked.”

Cooked shrimp in a cast iron skillet.

Next, add the tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook another 7-10 minutes. 

Turn off the heat and stir in the basil leaves.

Chopped basil added to skillet with red marinara sauce and shrimp.

Taste, then salt and pepper as needed.

Get the Complete (Printable) Seafood Marinara Sauce Recipe Below. Enjoy!

Wooden spoon stirring the marinara with shrimp.

Allow the seafood marinara to rest for 20+ minutes before serving, so the seafood flavors can intensify without overcooking the shrimp.

Pro Tip: I usually make the sauce first, then boil the water for the pasta, or shred the noodles. Then I rewarm the sauce if needed.

Side view of cooking.

Serving Suggestions

Spoon the sauce warm over your favorite pasta noodles, like spaghetti or penne. Use gluten-free pasta noodles if you like!

Shrimp in tomato sauce is fabulous to enjoy as an Italian-inspired “shrimp and grits” over creamy polenta.

Or to make this a low-carb dish simply serve with fresh zucchini noodles (AKA zoodles)!

Top view red sauce shrimp pasta and noodles on two plates.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between marinara and spaghetti sauce?

Traditional spaghetti sauce is known for being a more thick and rich sauce, typically made with meat and/or chopped veggies. Marinara, like this red sauce for shrimp pasta, tends to be thinner and lighter.

What other types of seafood can I use to make this marinara recipe?

The red sauce is terrific to make with shrimp, mussels, lump crab, scallops, or clams! Similar to shrimp, take care that you do not overcook the seafood before the tomato sauce is added.

Does cooking sherry contain alcohol?

Yes, it does. Cooking sherry has up to 17% alcohol. Some of the alcohol cooks out when sautéing the shrimp, but not entirely. However, there are only 3 tablespoons of sherry in the entire recipe, so no need to worry about serving shrimp marinara with pasta to little ones!

Is there a substitute for cooking sherry?

You can add red or white wine to the sauce instead of sherry. Chicken stock is a great substitute to make the red sauce without alcohol for shrimp pasta.

How long will seafood marinara sauce last in the fridge?

This dish is best to enjoy right away while the shrimp are warm and tender. But leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Reheat the seafood marinara in a microwave in short bursts, or on the stovetop on low, until the shrimp is just warmed through.

Optional Add-Ins?

Add crushed red pepper flakes to give the sauce a spicy kick!

For a silky tomato-cream sauce add a splash of heavy cream at the end.

If you desire a robust herb flavor, add in other fresh herbs like fresh parsley, rosemary, thyme, or dill.

Fork twirling shrimp and zucchini noodles with red marinara sauce.

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Seafood Marinara Sauce (with Shrimp)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes
Tender, plump shrimp are simmered in a rustic homemade marinara for a deeply flavorful red sauce that's perfect to serve over your favorite pasta!
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Set a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the butter, diced onion, and garlic. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes to soften the onions. Make sure not to burn the garlic and onions, if needed turn the temperature down just a little.
  • Stir in the shrimp and cooking sherry. Continue to sauté for 2 to 3 more minutes until the shrimp are mostly cooked through.
  • Add the tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook another 7-10 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the basil leaves. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed. Allow the seafood marinara to rest for 20+ minutes before serving, so the seafood flavors can intensify without overcooking the shrimp. (I usually make the sauce first, then boil the water for the pasta, or shred the noodles. Then I rewarm the sauce if needed.)

Notes

Allow the seafood marinara to rest for 20+ minutes before serving, so the seafood flavors can intensify without overcooking the shrimp.
Serve the red sauce with shrimp over traditional pasta, or with healthy zucchini noodles.
This recipe is made with shrimp, but can be adjusted to include other types of seafood. Try it with scallops or clams!
If the tomato sauce seems a bit acidic, stir in 1 teaspoon of sugar.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cup, Calories: 170kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Sodium: 1033mg, Potassium: 646mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 1289IU, Vitamin C: 17mg, Calcium: 45mg, Iron: 2mg
Course: Main, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Author: Sommer Collier

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3 comments on “Seafood Marinara (with Shrimp)”

  1. I had never thought to make something like this until I saw it and it was absolutely fantastic!! Thank you so much for sharing this delicious recipe. It’s not a favorite!

  2. Such a delicious meal, it is definitely getting marked and saved to have again.

  3. This was so incredibly easy to make! Perfect for a light lunch, it’s absolutely delicious!