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One Pot Mediterranean Shrimp Pasta with Lactose-free Cream Sauce

We are about to combine a few of my favorite things into one mouth-watering recipe for this One Pot Mediterranean Shrimp Pasta. I love a good one-pot meal because it means less dishes at the end of the meal. With three kids running around at dinnertime, I am looking to get dinner on the table with ease and with minimal post-dinner cleanup.

Something I found out as a child is that many people that are from Mediterranean or Southern European decent have a prevalence of lactose intolerance. A handful of my close relatives on the Lebanese side are indeed lactose intolerant. This is something I have always been well-aware of and curious about. One thing I have learned over the years is that dairy intolerance is not an allergy – it is the result of not having enough lactase, an enzyme that digests the natural sugar in milk, lactose.

Over my lifetime, I have seen a lot more options for lactose-free milk, which means that my family members and others that are lactose-intolerant can still enjoy their favorite recipe that uses milk by just substituting lactose-free milk equally. Something else I have learned is that just because you are lactose intolerant doesn’t mean you have to give up dairy completely.

Lactose-free milk is milk, just without the lactose, and it naturally includes milk’s nine essential nutrients. You can still drink milk and get the health benefits from it! Many health experts agree you should still try to consume dairy because it provides essential nutrients needed for a healthy diet.

Not drinking enough milk can affect a child’s health for years to come. Dairy is very important for bone health and overall growth in children. If your child is lactose intolerant, don’t completely stop giving him or her dairy. Milk is the No. 1 source for calcium, vitamin D and potassium, three nutrients that both kids and adults are lacking.

Another assumption that I have heard throughout the years is that lactose-free milk includes weird chemicals or additives which is why it is lactose-free. This is not the case. It does not include weird chemicals or additives to make it lactose-free, it just includes lactase to break down the lactose.

The great thing is that lactose-free milk can be used in place of regular milk in your favorite recipes – no hard calculations, just replace it equally! You can still make your favorite dairy recipes, such as pasta, smoothies, milkshakes and macaroni and cheese, by substituting lactose-free milk for regular milk.

And for those that aren’t cutting dairy out altogether, you can cut back but still eat dairy by eating small amounts of dairy, eating yogurt and opting for hard naturally-aged cheese, like Parmesan, mozzarella or Swiss, which are naturally low in lactose.

Now get ready to excite your taste buds with this flavor-packed one-pot meal!

One Pot Mediterranean Shrimp Pasta

Photo of One Pot Mediterranean Shrimp Pasta
  • 15 minutes
  • 25 minutes
  • 6-8 servings


Mediterranean Shrimp Pasta:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
  • 8 ounces of pasta, your choice
  • 4 cups broth (you can use vegetable or chicken)
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 ounces kalamata olives, halved
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 ounces fresh spinach
  • 6 ounces artichoke hearts, quartered

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:

  • 1 cup lactose-free milk (or regular cow’s milk)
  • 12 ounces roasted red peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper {optional for spice}
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced


  • Parsley
  • Crushed red peppers
  • Cheese of your choice


For the roasted red pepper sauce:

  1. In a blender, put the milk, roasted red peppers, basil, oregano, crushed red peppers, salt, pepper, tomato paste, tahini and garlic. Blend until the sauce is smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings and set aside.

For the Mediterranean Shrimp Pasta

  1. In a large pot or skillet, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic in and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the broth and pasta and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer, stirring frequently and cook for 8 minutes until pasta is done.
  2. Add the shrimp and a dash of salt and pepper and cook until the shrimp turns pink, about 4-5 minutes. Add the olives, tomatoes, spinach and artichokes and cook until the spinach is wilted (you will want to use your spoon to mix the spinach with the pasta dish as it wilts).
  3. Slowly pour in the roasted red pepper sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sauce is well mixed in. Garnish with fresh parsley, crushed red pepper and the cheese of your choice.

Notes: You can modify this recipe to your tastes: you can easily use a variety of ingredients or take things out that you don't like. Try adding white beans or chickpeas, vegetables like zucchini or bell peppers, and use a variety of cheese including feta, Parmesan or mozzarella. I like to use a small pasta when I make this dish, like orecchiette, but you can use whatever pasta you like.   


  1. Hello. This sounds delicious. Can you add the pasta to #1? Do you then drain the pasta or keep the broth , adding the remaining ingredients? Making this for Sunday dinner this weekend.

    1. Hi Angie! Thank you for catching that error, we have added the pasta to step #1. After that step, you should keep the broth in the pot and add the remaining ingredients. We hope you enjoy this dish!
      -Tristen, ADA Mideast Communications Specialist

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