It’s hard to believe how comforting, creamy and flavorful these Spicy Southern Shrimp + Grits are. Topped with spicy sautéed shrimp and based with a beautifully creamy cheesy blanket of Southern grits, this easy meal is sure to please to be a major crowd-pleaser! Dairy-free options available.
I can never eat Southern food and not include creamy grits in the mix, whether it be for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Grits are a staple at most Southern family tables and I remember vividly watching my aunt whip together the whole works for breakfast---including grits, eggs, bacon, sausage, and whatever else her hands could grab to make the meal that much more DELICIOUS! But this Spicy Southern Shrimp + Grits dish is truly one for the books and comes loaded with a ton of flavor.
Seasonings. I spice my grits with smoked paprika and Cajun seasoning.
Butter. Use unsalted to better control the seasoning of your grits.
Cheddar cheese. I like to use mild, but if you like a stronger flavor, use sharp or extra-sharp.
How to Make Vegan Southern Grits
To make this recipe dairy-free, use these swaps:
Use vegan butter instead of unsalted butter
Swap the cream for coconut milk (full-fat)
Use vegan cheese instead of cheddar
Do You Eat the Skin on Shrimp?
Yes, you can if desired! The shrimp shells are cooked until tender and is infused with seasonings and spice, which make it truly easy and delicious to eat as a whole. Of course, if preferred, you can always remove the shells.
Homemade Cajun Seasoning Blend
Sure, you can find pre-made seasoning blends at the grocery store. But there’s nothing like the fresh, customized flavor you get by making your own blend. The herbs and spices in the cajun spice mix for this recipe are inspired by the fresh herbs that work so beautifully together to create a bold, spicy flavor (from the cayenne + paprika).
You can Store the seasoning blend in an airtight container at room temperature for up to six months. Use it on anything from simple roasted vegetables to salad dressing to herb oil for dipping bread.
CAJUN SEASONING BLEND
To make your seasoning, combine:
Together, these herbs and spices strike the perfect balance of savory and fresh with a bit of smoky heat.
What You’ll Love About This Shrimp + Grits
It’s easy to make.
Full of flavor.
Minimal ingredients required.
Easy to store leftovers and re-purpose.
The epitome of comfort food for ANY season.
Did I mention absolutely delicious?!
If you want to add some greens to these shrimp + grits, you certainly can. My article, Our Top 12 Favorite Healthy Green Leafy Vegetables shares a list of great greens! Off the top—-kale, spinach, or collard greens make great additions. Also, roasted broccolini is one of my faves to add.
Grits are at their best when they’re hot and soft. However, you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. To serve, reheat the grits on the stove or in the microwave in 30-second intervals until soft. If necessary, add a dash more milk, cream, or water to help loosen them up. You can store leftover shrimp in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
In a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 Tbsps of butter until melted. Add in the minced garlic to sauté frequently about 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Next, add in the shrimp (seasoned w/ 2 Tbsps of cajun seasoning) and cook on both sides (about 3-4 minutes), until pink and cook through. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter (along with the 1 scotch bonnet) and let everything simmer for another minute until shrimp are coated with a light sauce/gravy from the butter and seasonings.
In serving bowls, spread the grits into the bottoms of the bowls and top with sautéed shrimp. Sprinkle red pepper flakes (optional) atop and serve immediately.
Tips & Tricks
STORAGE: Leftovers can be kept in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Re-heat when ready to serve.
SPICES/HERBS: If desired, you can reduce the amounts slightly. Please know that this recipe is bold in flavor, so feel free to adjust based on your tastebuds.
CAJUN SEASONING (STORAGE): Any leftover cajun seasoning mix can be stored in a ziplock bag for later use or used as garnish.
DAIRY-FREE OPTION:To make these shrimp + grits entirely dairy-free, just substitute the unsalted butter with vegan butter, the heavy cream with full-fat coconut cream/milk, and the cheese with dairy-free shreds or nutritional yeast.