Creamy Coconut Shrimp Pasta (Topped with Toasted Coconut Flakes)

A large bowl of coconut shrimp pasta with toasted coconut flakes on top main header image.

This is a rich, decadent coconut shrimp pasta much like traditional coconut shrimp but reimagined into a pasta dish. The sauce is inspired by my recent vacation to Florida- where I had coconut shrimp dipped into this creamy sauce that was so good I wanted to drink it.

I asked the waiter how the sauce was made and he just said sweet Thai chili sauce, orange marmalade, and mayo – basically a creamier version of a traditional coconut shrimp dipping sauce. That’s how this recipe came about! 

Instead of mayo, I used coconut milk to make the sauce rich and creamy. This pasta is then topped off with toasted coconut flakes that add a little crunch. 

If you love coconut shrimp, and you’re looking for a unique pasta recipe – give this a try!

Reasons to Try This Coconut SHrimp Pasta

  • You love coconut shrimp: This pasta is basically a creamier version of the traditional coconut shrimp dipping sauce (that’s good enough to drink) and it’s topped with toasted coconut flakes for the perfect bite.
  • Quick, 30-minute meal: This recipe uses two pans and is on the table in 30 minutes!
  • It’s rich, creamy and decadent: Rich, decadent and creamy, without the use of cream. The nutty coconut, the silky, sweet sauce and the savory shrimp is a burst of flavors and textures. Did I mention it’s quite different than your average pasta?

INGREDIENTS (4-5 servings)

  • Raw shrimp, tail-off, peeled and deveined (10 oz.): You could use either fresh shrimp or thawed from frozen. Feel free to leave the tail on, I just find it easier to eat when the tail is already off.
  • Fettucine or spaghetti pasta (1/2 lb.) or noodle of choice: A longer noodle, like fettucine or linguine, would be perfect. However, even a shorter noodle like farfalle works. I used these fancy mafaldine noodles from an Italian market (they were amazing).
  • Full fat Coconut milk (1 cup): The coconut milk is what makes this recipe creamy, without the use of cream, while also adding to the coconut flavor.
  • Unsweetened or sweetened coconut flakes (1/2 cup): Depending on how much sweetness you want, you could use either unsweetened or sweetened. Keep in mind the sauce is already sweet.
  • Sweet Thai Chili sauce (1/4 cup)
  • Apricot or orange marmalade (1/4 cup)
  • Grated parmesan Cheese (1/2-3/4 cup): The parmesan adds some creamy decadence and helps to balance out the sweetness from the sauce.
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste.
  • Red chili flakes (optional): I love the combination of sweet and spicy! Omit if you’re not a fan.

As an Amazon affiliate, this post does contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small compensation when a purchase is made. However, I only promote products I love and feel would be useful to you!

How to Make This Coconut Shrimp Pasta

Creamy coconut shrimp pasta in a large bowl close-up main header image.

1. Fill a large pot with water, and salt. Place on medium-high heat on the stove.
2. Pat shrimp dry, and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
3. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the coconut flakes, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes until the coconut is toasted – lightly browned and fragrant. Set aside.

4. Using the same pan, add a little olive oil then the shrimp. Cook about 2-3 minutes per side until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. Set aside.
5. If the water is boiling, add the noodles! Set a timer for when they should be done.
6. Whisk together the coconut milk, sweet Thai chili sauce, parmesan cheese and marmalade in a bowl. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

7. Add the sauce to the same pan you used for the shrimp and coconut flakes. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. This should be about 5-10 minutes, until the sauce has slightly thickened.

The coconut milk mixture bubbling in a pan on a stove being mixed with a wooden spoon.

8. Drain the noodles and return to pot, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water. Pour the sauce over the pasta and combine. Add a little pasta water, or all of it depending on the consistency of the sauce.
9. Add in the shrimp, and combine. Top with the toasted coconut flakes.
10. Add some red chili flakes (optional). Serve and enjoy! 

Creamy coconut shrimp pasta topped with toasted coconut flakes i a large white bowl with a wooden spoon.

This dish is definitely unique! I loved the way the flavors all came together – sweet but with a little spice. Decadent and rich with those hints of coconut!

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Recipe Tips:

  • Serve with a side of broccoli or roasted asparagus for a healthy, well-balanced meal!
  • Try to add the noodles around the time the cream sauce is cooking as well – for the best time management.
  • Watch the coconut flakes closely while they are toasting so they don’t burn!
  • Reserve some of the coconut flakes to the side if you’re planning on having leftovers, as they will not maintain their crunchiness.
A large white bowl filled with coconut shrimp with coconut flakes mixed in.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Make This Dish Allergy Friendly?

To make this dish gluten-free, substitute for gluten-free noodles and make sure the sweet Thai chili sauce is gluten-free as well. 

To make this dish dairy-free, all you have to do is substitute the parmesan cheese with a dairy-free cheese – and make sure the pasta noodles are free of dairy as well.

What Do You Do With the Leftovers?

The crispy coconut flakes will lose the crunch after sitting in the sauce for too long, however, it still tastes amazing! This dish could be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, and in the freezer for up to 3 months.

If you want to maintain that crunchy topping, store coconut flakes separately- and individually portion each dish prior to eating.

What Can I Substitute for Coconut Milk?

Milk or cream would be the best substitutes for coconut milk. Cashew milk, oat milk, and even Greek yogurt could work as well. If the sauce is too thin, add a cornstarch slurry to thicken it up. If using Greek yogurt, you could thin it down with some chicken broth for a thickened, healthier sauce.

A large bowl of coconut shrimp pasta with toasted coconut flakes on top main header image.

Creamy Coconut Shrimp Pasta

Alex Evink, MS, RD
This is a creamy, rich shrimp pasta inspired by coconut shrimp (and the dipping sauce). It's basically coconut shrimp reimagined as a pasta – using sweet Thai chili sauce, orange marmalade, and coconut milk to make the sauce. Topped with toasted coconut flakes for some crunch!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 5 servings
Calories 441 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 lb, fettuccine, linguine or spaghetti pasta (or pasta of choice)
  • 10 ounces raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and tail off
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened or sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup sweet Thai chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup orange or apricot marmalade
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

Instructions
 

  • Fill a large pot with water, and salt. Place on medium-high heat on the stove.
  • Pat shrimp dry, and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder
  • Whisk together the coconut milk, sweet Thai chili sauce, parmesan cheese and marmalade in a bowl. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.
  • Add the sauce to the same pan you used for the shrimp and coconut flakes. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. This should be about 5-10 minutes, until the sauce has slightly thickened.
  • Drain the noodles and return to pot, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water. Pour the sauce over the pasta and combine. Add a little pasta water, or all of it depending on the consistency of the sauce.
  • Add in the shrimp, and top with the toasted coconut flakes. For spice, add some red chili flakes (optional). Serve and enjoy! 

Notes

Serve with a side of broccoli or asparagus for a delicious, well-balanced meal!
Individually top each dish with toasted coconut flakes if you’re planning to eat as leftovers (but it still tastes amazing even if they lose their crunch).
Nutritional information is just an estimation. Individual ingredients and preparation may lead to discepancies.
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 5
Amount per serving  
Calories 441
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15.3g 20%
Saturated Fat 10.7g 53%
Cholesterol 144mg 48%
Sodium 319mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 48g 17%
Dietary Fiber 4.1g 15%
Total Sugars 9.3g  
Protein 28.8g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 143mg 11%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 152mg 3%
Keyword creamy coconut shrimp, high protein recipe

Hope You Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this take on coconut shrimp pasta! It’s a little different, but so so good. It definitely reminded me of the delicious coconut shrimp sauce I ate in Florida. 

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