creamy avocado pasta with shrimp

I’m writing this post from one place and wishing I was in another.

I’m not talking about where I actually am — at a coffee shop with a tea latte and my husband — no, because that’s pretty great. I’m not talking about wishing I was in warm, sunny Hawaii when instead I am in cold, snowy Minnesota — though I obviously wouldn’t complain if I was on a beach right now. I’m talking about this problem I have with life, sometimes — this problem where I wish things were different than they are, better than they are, even when they’re just fine.

pasta + avocado

shrimp, pre-saute

Do you know what I mean by this? I’m a big perfectionist. I’m also a control freak and a worry wart. So basically, my personality can be the trifecta of stress and dissatisfaction. While there are the times I can chill and go with the flow, there are also the times when ALL THE THINGS are going wrong and I can’t seem to get them to where I want them to be, no matter how I try.

I am in an apartment when I want to be in a house.

I have my husband and my cat when I want my husband and my cat and a baby.

I have a job as a writer when I want a more successful job as a writer.

I am a Christian, a friend, a daughter, a sister and a wife when I want to be a better Christian, friend, daughter, sister and wife.

shrimp, sauteed

cooking le pasta

I know this usually isn’t the kind of stuff we talk about here, and it’s because I don’t usually like to talk about it. I don’t like to talk about how my life isn’t always cocoa-roasted almonds and Valentine’s cookies and savory scone bliss. But it’s the truth. It’s real talk. It’s just as real as this pasta is delicious and comforting.

And yet.

And yet, this batch of pasta didn’t turn out quite how I wanted. It didn’t look very pretty to me. It didn’t have that aura of natural food beauty that makes photographing it so effortless. It wasn’t… well, perfect.

creamy avocado pasta magic

And yet.

And yet, it tasted delicious. It was creamy and flavorful, with notes of both avocado and lemon shining through amidst bites of savory sauteed shrimp. It was refreshing and comforting, and in the end, when our plates were empty but our tummies were full, utterly satisfying.

Maybe not what I wanted, but certainly what I needed — just where I was.

creamy avocado pasta with shrimp

Creamy Avocado Pasta with Shrimp
Adapted from Bake Noir

Yields: 4 servings


1 (13.25 ounce) box uncooked spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces peeled, deveined, tail-on shrimp
2 avocados, peeled and seed removed
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons pasta cooking water
fresh grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
lemon wedges, for serving (optional)


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving some of the pasta water. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and saute until pink, opaque and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

To the bowl of a food processor add avocado, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, garlic, basil and salt and pepper to taste. Process mixture until creamy and smooth; adjust seasonings to taste.

Toss cooked pasta with avocado mixture, adding a little pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce/pasta. Add shrimp and toss lightly to combine. Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and lemon wedges, if desired.