Low Calorie Main Dish Seafood & Fish

Cajun Shrimp & Grits

March 24, 2014

When I think about a really good shrimp dish, shrimp and grits always comes to mind. If I’m at a restaurant, and it’s on the menu, nine times out of 10 I’m ordering it. There’s something about a bowl full of creamy grits, rich sauce, and succulent shrimp. How about adding a spicy kick? Take it one step further and make it Cajun Shrimp & Grits! Don’t worry about any guilt either…it’s low calorie, too!

Cajun Shrimp & Grits

So, how’s it taste?

For as many times as I’ve ordered shrimp and grits, I have never made them at home. I guess they always felt like a fancy restaurant dish and who has time to make grits? Well, everyone has time! Quick-cooking grits make it really easy (and fast) to prepare the grits. Plus, they’re cheese grits. Sharp cheddar cheese, plus the milk, make the creamiest grits. I kept sneaking spoonfuls after it was ready. The sauce is rich, thanks to a bit of butter, and savory. It’s not a lot of sauce, but just enough to add a punch of flavor. The shrimp is where you get a touch of heat. It’s sprinkled with the Cajun seasoning. All three components come together for one delicious restaurant-worthy meal. At 346 calories per serving, you can almost afford to go back for seconds!

OXO Shrimp Cleaner

About a month ago, I was contacted by OXO to participate in their Shrimp Showdown. I love cooking shrimp, so I was super excited…until I learned we would have to devein our own shrimp. Say what? OXO teamed up with the Eastern Fish Company, a member of the NFI Shrimp Council, to send me five glorious pounds of shrimp…but I’d have to devein them myself. I was really nervous that it would be too hard or too time consuming. Luckily OXO sent me some awesome tools to get the job done. The OXO Shrimp Cleaner not only made deveining shrimp a breeze, it was actually kind of fun!

deveining shrimp

Hold the Shrimp Cleaner with the teeth up and push it through the hole down the shrimp’s back.

deveining shrimp

In one quick push, it splits the shell so you can remove it AND it removes the sand vein.

deveined shrimp

You can choose to keep the tail on, or keep pushing the Shrimp Cleaner through and take off the tail. After deveining the first shrimp or two, it’s really easy to fly through pounds of shrimp. This is great for me because I buy shrimp already deveined, but it’s more expensive and usually already cooked. This way I can save a couple of bucks and cook the shrimp the way I want it.

OXO Tongs

Another tool that is super helpful in making this dish is the OXO Tongs. Shrimp takes no time to cook and you need to flip them over once to cook both sides. The tongs make flipping much easier than using a spoon. You’ve got more control over the flip and I really like these particular tongs because the ends are at an angle.

OXO Herb Snips

My second favorite tool, after the Shrimp Cleaner, is the OXO Herb Snips. I used these to snip the green onions. Every time I use a knife to cut green onions, they stick to the knife and kind of become a mess. It’s much cleaner, and not sticky at all, with the snips. The best part is the snips separate, so cleaning takes no time. These will really come in handy for chives, too!

Check out my King Kong Couscous post to see another recipe I made using the Eastern Fish Company shrimp and OXO tools. I’m telling you, I’m a shrimp deveining pro now!

Yield: 6 servings

Total Time: 32 min

Cajun Shrimp & Grits


1 tbsp. olive oil
2 oz. tasso ham, minced
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/4 lbs. shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
2 1/4 cups water, divided
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup fat-free milk (almond milk ok to sub)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup sliced green onions


1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ham; saute 2 minutes or until edges are golden. Add onion; saute 2 minutes. Add garlic; saute 1 minute. Add shrimp to pan, sprinkle with Cajun seasoning. Cook 3 minutes, turning once. Add 1/4 cup water, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Remove from heat; add butter, stirring to melt. Cover and keep warm.

2. Bring milk, salt, and 2 cups water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat. Gradually add grits and cook until thick and bubbly, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove grits from heat. Add cheese. Stir with a whisk until cheese melts.

3. Spoon grits evenly onto 6 plates. Top with shrimp and ham mixture. Sprinkle with green onions.

per serving: 346 calories, 14g fat, 24g protein, 29g carbs, 1.8g fiber

Be sure to check out these Shrimp Showdown bloggers for more mouth-watering shrimp recipes!

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Disclosure: OXO provided me with the six tools listed in the giveaway and Eastern Fish Company provided me with five pounds of shrimp. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions expressed here are solely my own, as always.

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  • Erin @ One Particular Kitchen March 24, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Well now I want grits for breakfast. Those look amazing!

    • Leah Short March 24, 2014 at 8:57 am

      Um, I’ve made these grits by themselves about 800 times now. I have a big bowl of it and call it lunch/dinner. So creamy!

  • amy @ fearless homemaker March 24, 2014 at 8:50 am

    You may have seen on twitter/instagram that I’ve been teaching myself to cook (+ enjoy) fish in the last month or two. It has been SUCH a success – why the heck did I go so long thinking I didn’t like fish?! Next up is going to be shrimp – I’ve probably only eaten shrimp 2 or 3 times in my life, and I never could get into the texture. I’m thinking that means that I’ve probably never eaten it cooked properly, and I should master cooking it at home. It’s such a quick, healthy protein that I’d love to add to my weeknight dinner rotation. Thanks for the helpful shrimpy play-by-play – bookmarking for when I try it! =D

    • Leah Short March 24, 2014 at 8:59 am

      Oh girl, yes shrimp is the best! It’s so low cal and full of protein. I love it! You should totally make that King Kong Couscous!

  • Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures March 24, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Yum! I didn’t grow up eating shrimp and grits, but I have a good appreciation of this dish now. Looks delicious!

    • Leah Short March 24, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Thanks, Laura!

  • Natalie @ Tastes Lovely March 24, 2014 at 10:02 am

    I have shockingly never had grits! I guess I need to spend a little more time in the south. This dish sounds delicious! Thanks for the giveaway : )

    • Leah Short March 24, 2014 at 10:17 am

      Natalie, say it isn’t so! Grits are heavenly. I’m in the savory camp though. Don’t be adding sugar or any of that nonsense. This recipe has cheddar in it and it’s amazing. Hope you try it some day!

  • Heather // girlichef March 24, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Okay, I probably shouldn’t admit this out loud, but…I’ve never had Shrimp ‘n Grits!? Eeeek! It’s been on my to-try list forever. I had a hoard of recipes variations for it saved up…yet here I sit. This looks amazing, I think it’s the final push for me to get on it! 😉

    • Leah Short March 24, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Do it, lol! You will not be disappointed. 🙂

  • Linda F March 24, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Mmmmmm…. looks WONderFul!

    • Leah Short March 24, 2014 at 11:02 am

      Thanks, Linda!

  • Lori Yates March 24, 2014 at 10:44 am

    So, want to hear a funny story? I had the best shrimp and grits of my life a few years ago while on vacation in Savannah, GA with friends. And I could not taste it. I had a full-on horrible sinus infection, and thus, had 0% taste capabilities. But I just KNEW it was amazing shrimp and grits. All of my friends had a bite, and confirmed it was amazing. It was pure torture to sit there and eat it and not be able to taste it!

    I’m thinking….I need to make myself some at home 🙂

    • Leah Short March 24, 2014 at 11:01 am

      No way! What torture! Especially in Savannah. I know they do shrimp & grits well. You’re just gonna have to make some soon. 🙂

  • Audra March 24, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Your dish looks amazing! I am a huge fan of shrimp and grits, thanks for sharing your recipe 🙂 Pinning <3

    • Leah Short March 24, 2014 at 11:02 am

      Thanks, Audra!

  • Natasha of Natashaskitchen.com March 24, 2014 at 10:55 am

    I’ll have to add this to my list of recipes to make this week! Thanks so much for sharing. This is making me so hungry!!

    • Leah Short March 24, 2014 at 11:03 am

      Thanks, Natasha!

  • Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic March 24, 2014 at 11:02 am

    I love spicy shrimp on cheesy grits! Great recipe and giveaway!

  • Liz March 24, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Can you believe I’ve never tasted shrimp and grits??? But now I’m craving them big time!!!

  • Kirbie March 24, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Yum, I’ve been wanting to make grits! i’ve never actually made them before

  • Alyssa (Everyday Maven) March 24, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    I love Shrimp and Grits and have never made them myself either! This looks so good 🙂

  • cheri March 24, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    I just bought some shrimp today, now I know what i am making, looks amazing!

  • Julie @ Julie's Eats & Treats March 24, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Awesome recipe! I need to try this because I’ve never had grits!

  • MyMansBelly March 24, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Love, love, love shrimp and grits! This looks almost too pretty to eat (almost).

  • Camille March 24, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    I think I’ve had grits maybe once in my life! This looks good enough to make me try them again!

  • Kathi @ Deliciously Yum! March 24, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    This dish sounds and looks amazing. Thanks for the step-by-step pictures too! You make deveining shrimp look so easy – can’t wait to try it myself sometime soon!

  • Erin | The Law Student's Wife March 24, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    LOVE grits and the fact that you lightened this up. Move over, I’m diving in with my fork!

  • Shannon @ Bake.Frost.Repeat March 25, 2014 at 10:38 am

    I love love LOVE shrimp and grits. This dish looks wonderful!! (hint-hint) LOL!!!

  • Brandie (@ Home Cooking Memories) March 26, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    When I moved to the south, I had grits for the first time and I fell in love with them. One thing I never had though was shrimp and grits. It’s still been on my list of things to eat and/or make. Yours looks wonderful!

  • Tanya Schroeder March 26, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try this dish, but I’m sore of scared of grits! This looks to good for my to ignore. I have to try it for myself!!

  • Karie March 31, 2014 at 8:48 am

    MMM…I love shrimp! Looks tasty!