Japanese pasta with shrimp and asparagus 海老とアスパラガスの和風パスタ

Japanese pasta with shrimp and asparagus ­— Seasoned with soy sauce and flavorful dashi broth, this dish is incredibly delicious and ready in less than 30 minutes! It’s also gluten-free. photo by Namiko Chen

Seasoned with soy sauce and flavorful dashi broth, this Japanese-style pasta with shrimp and asparagus is incredibly delicious and ready in less than 30 minutes! It’s also gluten-free!

Today I’m going to share a super quick and easy Japanese pasta with shrimp and asparagus (海老とアスパラガス簡単和風パスタ) recipe.

What’s Japanese Pasta?

You might have heard of wafu pasta (和風パスタ) while you were visiting Japan. Wafu pasta refers to Japanese-style pasta.

Wafu (和風) means Japanese-style. In cooking, it can mean the use of Japanese flavor profiles and ingredients. You might have heard of wafu dressing (Japanese-style salad dressing; https://www.justonecookbook.com/wafu-dressing-japanese-salad-
) or wafu hambagu (Japanese-style hamburger steak; https://www.justonecookbook.com/wafu-hambagu-japanese-hamburger-steak).

In today’s recipe, we’re making a western-style pasta with Japanese-style flavors.

3 Tips to Make This Recipe

1. Pick good asparagus.

Asparagus is very sweet and delicious when it’s in season! You should look for firm and crisp stalks with tightly closed budding tips. There are different sizes of asparagus, and for this recipe, I think it’s best to pick thin to medium-width stalks so they don’t require cooking for a long time.

2. Cook stalks and spears separately.

The texture of the food is important, especially when you want to fully enjoy seasonal fresh vegetables. You don’t want to get mushy wilted asparagus!

In cooking, little extra steps help improve the final dish. Please remember to cook the stalks first because they take longer to cook than the spears.

3. Cook the pasta till al dente in the frying pan.

Don’t cook your pasta until al dente when you are boiling pasta in the pot, as you will need to toss the pasta with ingredients and seasonings in the frying pan. You don’t want to end up with overcooked pasta. Purposely undercook the pasta for this dish.

Make this Japanese Pasta Gluten-Free

Gluten-Free Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is traditionally brewed from water, wheat, soybeans and salt. If you are gluten intolerant, you won’t be able to use soy sauce in cooking unless it’s tamari soy sauce (100 percent wheat-free ones) or gluten-free soy sauce.

Kikkoman offers three varieties of gluten-free soy sauce. For this recipe, I used the regular gluten-free soy sauce (blue label) which tastes just like regular soy sauce.

Gluten-Free Pasta

I’ve tried several brands of gluten-free pasta and by far Garofalo’s Gluten-Free Spaghetti and Linguine are the BEST pasta that I’ve tasted.

The texture and flavors are just like regular pasta. Mr. JOC and the kids didn’t notice that this was a gluten-free dish until I mentioned it. So if you have a family member or friend who is allergic to gluten, you can all still enjoy the same meal with this pasta!

Use Other Spring Vegetables 

There are so many wonderful spring vegetables that you can incorporate into this dish in case you don’t like asparagus. Here are my choices of spring vegetables that would go well with this dish.


Belgian endives

Butter lettuce

Cabbage (in Japan, we have “Spring cabbage”

Collard greens

Fava beans


Green beans

Mustard greens


Snow peas


Swiss chard


The Amount of 

Chili Peppers

Mr. JOC and I love adding one to two dried red chili peppers (without seeds) in this pasta. I’d chop them into smaller pieces and cook with olive oil and garlic to infuse the flavor. However, my children think it’s a bit too spicy, even with one red chili pepper.

If you have children, another option is to sprinkle crushed chili peppers over the pasta at the table. As the chili peppers are not infused into the oil, you would need more chili flakes to enjoy the kick, but it works.

If you love spicy food, I highly recommend cooking with chili peppers. I hope you enjoy this recipe with your family and friends!

Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, visit

Japanese Pasta With Shrimp and Asparagus 

Prep Time 10 mins 

Cook Time 20 mins 

Total Time 30 mins


Seasoned with soy sauce and flavorful dashi broth, this Japanese-style pasta with shrimp and asparagus is incredibly delicious and ready in less than 30 minutes! It’s also gluten-free!

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Japanese

Keyword: asparagus, pasta, shrimp

Servings: 2

Author: Namiko Chen


1/4 red onion (2.5 oz, 70 g)

2 cloves garlic

6 oz asparagus

10 large prawns (9 oz, 260 g; peeled and deveined)

kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; Use half for table salt)

freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2-2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1-2 dried red chili pepper (seeds removed; optional)

1/4-1/3 cup dashi (Japanese soup stock; https://www.justonecookbook.com/how-to-make-dashi-jiru/)

1 Tbsp soy sauce (or gluten-free soy sauce)

crushed red peppers (red pepper flakes) (optional)

8 oz gluten-free pasta (4 oz/113 g per person; I used my favorite gluten-free pasta brand’s linguini)


1. Gather all the ingredients and bring a big pot of water to boil.

2. Meanwhile cut red onion and garlic cloves into thin slices.

3. Cut asparagus diagonally and separate spears and stalks. We will sauté the asparagus stalks first as they take longer to cook.

4. Sprinkle kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper on the prawns. If your prawns are not peeled or deveined, you can check my tutorial for instructions.

5. Once the pasta water is boiling, for 4QT (16 cups or 3.8L) add 2 Tbsp salt. As we will cook the pasta a little longer after draining, cook it one minute less than the directions on the package.

6. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the prawns and cook until the bottom side is nicely browned, about two to three minutes. Don’t touch the shrimp until it releases itself from the skillet. Once it has a nice char on one side, you can easily flip.

7. When one side of the shrimp is nicely browned, flip and cook the other side for two to three minutes. Once the shrimp are nicely golden brown, transfer to a plate and set aside. 

8. Lower the heat to medium low, add the butter and swirl around.

9. Add the red onion and garlic slices and sauté for one minute. If you like spicy pasta, add chili pepper now. Increase the heat to medium and add the stalks of asparagus. Sauté for about three minutes, until asparagus stalks become tender.

10. Then add the spears of asparagus and cook for another one to two minutes, until the asparagus are tender but still nice and crisp.

11. Add the prawns back into the skillet, add dashi, and increase the heat to medium-high heat.

12. Add gluten-free soy sauce and adjust based on your preference.

13. Add the cooked pasta and toss to combine with the ingredients. If you like, sprinkle freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately. Optionally, you can garnish with chili pepper flakes.

Originally posted on https://www.justonecookbook.com/easy-wafu-pasta-shrimp-

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