Shrimp Broccoli Cavatappi is a pasta and vegetable dish coated with light Alfredo sauce and topped with grilled seasoned shrimp. It is then topped off with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and lemon zest. This is an Applebee’s Copycat recipe for those of you who love this lighter menu option and would like to try to make it at home!

Grumpy and I don’t eat out often, but when we do, one restaurant we like to go to is Applebees. This didn’t used to be the case because a one point he thought he hated the place!  I like to go because they do offer some flavorful meals that are 500 calories or less. One night I convinced him to meet me there after work and he decided he didn’t dislike it so much after all.

Shrimp Broccoli Cavatappi

Grumpy decided to try the Shrimp Broccoli Cavatappi – which also happens to be on the lighter menu. It turned out that he enjoyed the meal enough that when I mentioned eating out again he actually suggested going to Applebees!

Shrimp Broccoli Cavatappi #SundaySupper

I decided to try my hand at the Applebee’s Shrimp Broccoli Cavatappi. A search on the internet brought up nothing except photos of Applebee’s dish with the description. That was when I decided I didn’t really need someone else’s take on the recipe, I could just recreate it on my own.

Shrimp Broccoli Cavatappi #SundaySupper

While I like to be able to make my version of favorite restaurant recipes at home I do not really like giving my night out up too often. Lets face it, we all need to get out at times and let someone else do the cooking for us.

Some of us aren’t fortunate enough to have a partner or spouse who will or can cook! I decided that even though I will still probably go to Applebee’s for this meal that it wouldn’t hurt to have a recipe around for those times when we are craving a certain meal and need to save our pennies.

Shrimp Broccoli Cavatappi #SundaySupper

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Yield: 4-6 servings

Shrimp Broccoli Cavatappi

Shrimp Broccoli Cavatappi

A copycat recipe for Applebee's Shrimp Broccoli Cavatappi. A light creamy Alfredo sauce coats pasta that is tossed with broccoli and topped with grilled shrimp, Parmesan cheese and lemon zest.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cups dried cavatappi pasta
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/3 cups low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1-1/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons 1/3 less fat cream cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Cook shrimp on hot grill 2-3 minutes on each side until pink. Alternatively, saute shrimp in saucepan over medium heat in a non-stick frying pan coated with cooking spray. Set aside and cover to keep warm.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Remove pasta from water by scooping out with a slotted spoon into colander. Return pasta water to stove and blanch broccoli (about 5 minutes). Strain and rinse with cold water to stop broccoli from cooking.
  3. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  4. Stir in flour and gradually add milk, stirring all the while with a whisk. Cook 6 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly.
  5. Add 1 cup Parmesan cheese, cream cheese, and salt, stirring with a whisk until cheeses melt.
  6. Toss sauce with hot pasta and broccoli.
  7. Top with shrimp and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and lemon zest.
  8. Garnish with black pepper, if desired.
  9. Serve immediately.