Meatless Monday Challenge

30-Minute Herby Shrimp and Polenta with Goat Cheese

on May 1, 2024
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This quick shrimp and polenta dish boasts bold flavors, with herb-marinated shrimp served atop creamy goat cheese polenta, for harmonious tastes and textures in every bite. Just 30 minutes required!
Herbed shrimp and polenta with goat cheese served in a shallow bowl.

This mouthwatering shrimp and polenta recipe is bursting with flavor! Think: a bed of creamy goat cheese-infused polenta topped with pan-fried shrimp marinated in fresh herbs for a dynamite combo that will earn its keep in your weekly dinner menu rotation.

This delicious shrimp dinner boasts a combination of unique flavor and complementary textures (velvety polenta + chewy shrimp!). Plus, both the herby shrimp and goat cheese polenta come together so quickly, to help you get dinner on the table in just 30 minutes.

Herb Shrimp served over goat cheese polenta.

Shrimp and Polenta Ingredients & Substitutions

Here’s everything you need for the herby shrimp:

  • Large white shrimp.
  • Garlic.
  • Thyme.
  • Rosemary.
  • Olive oil.
  • Red wine vinegar. White wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, or apple cider vinegar work here, too.
  • Salt.
  • Crushed red pepper (optional for spice).
Overhead image of ingredients for herby shrimp polenta - thyme, salt, olive oil, garlic, shrimp, red wine vinegar, crushed red pepper, and rosemary.

Here’s everything you need for the goat cheese polenta:

Overhead image of ingredients for polenta with goat cheese - goat cheese, vegetable broth, milk, and yellow corn polenta.

Sustainable Shrimp

Shrimp is one of my favorites because of its versatility and distinct taste, but depending on where you live, it may be a seafood to consider enjoying in moderation. As an environmental scientist, I always put thought into how I source my seafood.

I’m very grateful to live in a coastal community where local shrimp can be sourced sustainably by small shrimp boats during shrimping season. However, if this option is not available to you, there are some things you can look for when sourcing your shrimp.

When it comes to sustainability, try to avoid buying imported shrimp entirely. Imported farmed shrimp is often produced in ways that are detrimental to mangrove forests and on farms that emit a high number of pollutants. Plus, it has to travel far to get to you.

Instead, seek domestic farmed shrimp.

Green tip: Shrimp is seafood we should enjoy in moderation, as it is not the most sustainable. The best way to source your shrimp is from domestic shrimp farms (avoid imported).

How to Make Herby Goat Cheese Shrimp and Polenta

How to Prep Shrimp for Pan-Frying

I usually buy raw large white shrimp that is already deveined and peel it myself. You can buy the shrimp pre-peeled if you prefer.

You can also opt for fresh or frozen shrimp. Just make sure your shrimp is completely defrosted before you jump into this recipe.

To thaw, you can either transfer from the freezer to the refrigerator at least 12 hours beforehand or add the frozen shrimp to a sealed bag and submerge the bag in cold water for about 45 minutes.

If you are peeling the shrimp yourself, it’s up to you if you leave the little tails on or clean them completely. Once peeled, use a paper towel to pat dry to absorb excess moisture (consider these bamboo paper towels for a more sustainable option).

Drying your shrimp will help to avoid mushy shrimp and grant you the best texture.

Bowl of peeled, raw, large white shrimp next to a bowl of the discarded peels.

How to Make an Herb Marinade for Shrimp

The star of this shrimp polenta recipe is the shrimp! We want to bring tons of complex flavor through a simple marinade that incorporates fresh herbs, spices, and vinegar.

Start by making your marinade. Peel and mince your garlic and remove the rosemary and thyme off their stems and chop. Add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and crushed red pepper (if you’re using!) to a mixing bowl and whisk together.

Then, add your prepped shrimp and toss. Set this aside to marinade for about 10-15 minutes while you make your polenta.

Making a shrimp marinade out of fresh herbs, garlic, oil, and vinegar.
Marinading shrimp in a large bowl of herby marinade.

How to Make Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta

To a small pot or saucepan, add the milk and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Then add the polenta and simmer, whisking frequently until the polenta is thick and creamy (about 8-10 minutes).

Then, remove the polenta from the heat and whisk in the goat cheese. Serve the polenta up into two shallow bowls, so it’s ready for the shrimp!

Adding milk and vegetable broth to pot with polenta to cook.
Whisking goat cheese into creamy cooked polenta.

How to Pan-Fry Herby Shrimp

Get your frying pan hot over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes before adding anything to it. Once your pan is hot, add the shrimp and all of the marinade to the pan and spread them out in a single layer.

There should be enough oil in the marinade to fry your shrimp, but if it looks to dry, you can add a little extra oil to your pan.

Fry the shrimp for 2-3 minutes on each side, until opaque. The internal temperature of the shrimp should be right about 145°F.

Cooking herb-marinated shrimp in a pan.
Pan-seared large white shrimp in an herb vinegar marinade.

Serving Your Shrimp Polenta

Place the pan-fried herby shrimp on top of the served-up polenta with all the herbs. I find that the creamy polenta is rich enough, and don’t feel this dish needs a sauce yo feel complete.

That being said, if you wish, you can deglaze the pan with some butter and add the herby butter on top of the shrimp polenta. I just scoop all those herbs left in the pan up with a spoon and sprinkle them on top of my shrimp and polenta bowl.

If you want a veg to serve up with this seafood dinner, here are a few of my favorites:

Shallow bowl with a bed of goat cheese polenta topped with herbed shrimp.

How to Properly Store and Reheat Leftover Polenta and Shrimp

This delicious shrimp dinner dish will last for 4-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. If you’re reheating both the shrimp and polenta simultaneously, it’s best to do so in the oven.

Add the polenta and shrimp to a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Preheat your oven to 350°F and cook for 15-20 minutes until both elements are thoroughly heated. If it seems too dry, add some extra vegetable broth.

If you have leftover shrimp only, it will last up to 5 days and can be reheated in a frying pan with a dash of olive oil.

If you’re left with extra polenta only, it can easily be reheated in the microwave (you’ll likely need 2-3 minutes depending on the quantity, and may want to stir in a little extra broth to loosen it).

Green tip: Of the billions of pounds of food wasted annually, it is estimated that 50% of it happens in our homes. Properly storing and enjoying leftovers is a great way to reduce your individual contribution to food waste.

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Why this Shrimp and Polenta Recipe is Better than the Rest

  • The unique combination of flavors. The fresh herb marinade on the shrimp combined with the bold flavor of goat cheese is an explosion of flavor on your taste buds.
  • The complementary textures. The creamy, velvety polenta is balanced beautifully by the chewy and firm shrimp.
  • It uses simple technique and comes together quickly. This whole dinner is ready in 30 minutes.

If you’re loving this Herby Shrimp and Goat Cheese Polenta and want more seafood dinner ideas, check out this Seared Scallop Risotto and these Teriyaki Salmon Noodles.

Herbed shrimp and polenta with goat cheese served in a shallow bowl.

30-Minute Herby Shrimp and Polenta with Goat Cheese

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Marley Goldin
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This quick shrimp and polenta dish boasts bold flavors, with herb-marinated shrimp served atop creamy goat cheese polenta, for harmonious tastes and textures in every bite. Just 30 minutes required!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 servings


Herby Shrimp

  • ½ pound large white shrimp
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

Goat Cheese Polenta

  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • cup yellow corn polenta
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
Shop Ingredients on Jupiter


  • Peel the shrimp if need be and pat it dry with a paper towel to reduce excess moisture (try these bamboo paper towels for a more sustainable option!). Peel and mince the garlic and remove the rosemary and thyme from their stems and roughly chop them.
  • To a mixing bowl, add the minced garlic, chopped thyme and rosemary, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and crushed red pepper (optional) and whisk with a fork to combine. Add the prepped shrimp and toss to coat. Set aside to marinade for about 15 minutes while you make your polenta.
  • In a small pot or saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk and vegetable broth to a boil. Add the polenta and whisk to combine. Simmer over high heat, stirring frequently until the mixture thickens (8-10 minutes). Then, remove from heat and whisk in the goat cheese. Serve your polenta in shallow bowls so it's ready for the shrimp.
  • Get a large frying pan or cast-iron skillet hot for about 3 minutes over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the shrimp and marinade, and spread the shrimp out in an even layer.
  • Cook the shrimp for about 2 minutes on each side until they curl up and turn opaque. This really should take no more than 5 minutes total if you pre-heat your pan. The internal temperature of the shrimp should reach 145°F.
  • Serve the shrimp over your polenta, adding any extra herbs left in the pan on top. Enjoy!
    Optional: If you want to deglaze the pan, you can add about 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter to the pan with the leftover herbs after removing the shrimp. Heat until the butter is melted and pour the herby butter over the shrimp and polenta. I typically skip this step and just add the extra herbs and marinade on top because I find the goat cheese to be rich already, but when I'm feeling extra fancy, I like to have this option in my back pocket!

Pro Tips

  • If you are using frozen shrimp, make sure they are defrosted before starting this recipe. You can defrost your shrimp in the refrigerator for 24 hours or by placing the frozen shrimp in a sealed storage bag and submerging it in a bowl of cold water for about 45 minutes. 

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Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword 30 Minutes or Less, Pescatarian, Polenta, Shrimp
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