This simple Shrimp and Grits recipe has Gouda cheese stirred into quick yellow grits (never instant). No roux in this easy recipe, so you'll have dinner on the table in a snap.
Heading to the beach but like to cook in the condo? Having a staycation and want to feel like you are at the beach but not spend too much time in the kitchen?
My shortcut recipe for shrimp and grits (Low Country or Creole-style) is just the ticket!
While this recipe may not be "low-calorie", it is certainly MUCH lower in calories and fat than any traditional shrimp and grits recipe that is laden with sausage and bacon.
What's the shortcut?
- No roux
- Quick (not instant) grits or finely ground stone ground grits
This recipe is a simple shrimp and grits recipe (except for Gouda cheese in the grits) with a shortcut-no roux.
What thickens this shrimp and grits sauce?
I use tomato paste and chicken broth for a simple shrimp and grits tomato sauce. Believe it or not, I used cornstarch to thicken it rather than flour or a roux.
A slurry of cornstarch and chicken broth or water is a quick and easy way to thicken any sauce.
If you prefer shrimp and grits creamy sauce, just stir in 1/2 cup whipping cream when simmering at the end.
I really love the look of the shrimp and grits tomato "gravy" here.
Although a roux made with flour would give it a deep, rich flavor, it would also give you a matte finish rather than the high gloss finish achieved with cornstarch.
I am all about SHORTCUTS and cornstarch thickens the sauce in seconds rather than a tedious roux that requires me to stand at the stove for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love a roux thickened, cream-infused shrimp and grits recipe and I will make it again soon and start with cooking Conecuh sausage and stirring in cream to finish it. (See these options and more in the Variations and Substitutions section below.)
Remember, this is a shortcut recipe so I also used 5 minute regular yellow grits. White grits are fine but I love the contrast of the yellow against the reddish shrimp mixture. I also pretend it's cheesier if it's more yellow because you know we eat with our eyes, too.
Grits: Stone ground vs Quick Grits
I prefer the slightly chewy texture of stone ground grits (see below) and I'm partial to Alabama made McEwen & Sons but they take a little longer than quick grits.
For this shortcut recipe, I used the Dixie Lily yellow corn grits in the pics with the bright red sauce. They are also packaged and sold in Alabama and grown in the United States.
The food stylist in me always leans toward the yellow grits rather than the white, but it's strictly a personal preference.
In the pics with the creamier tomato sauce (I stirred in whipping cream option), I used local stone ground grits from B & N Farm Grist Mill. (I actually got to watch the grist mill grind them!)
My least favorite grits (and I actually refuse to eat) are the "instant" grits that come in individual breakfast packets. They have been precooked and dehydrated so you can just add water. No thanks.
I'd rather make the 5 minute quick grits, or even better, stone-ground grits.
What are grits?
"What's a grit?"
Joe Pesci's funny line from My Cousin Vinny is spot on because so many non-Southerners (and a few Southerners) do not know what grits are made from or how they are made. Not all grits are made from corn.
This may surprise you but I recently saw rice grits on a restaurant menu. I couldn't decide if I should be offended as a Southerner because don't we "own" that word?
It turns out rice that has been broken or fragmented in the milling process can also claim the name "grits". But, any true Southerner knows that "true grits" are made from corn. (See what I did there?)
For a complete breakdown of the different kinds of corn grits, here's a link from my friends over at Southern Living.
What cheese can I stir into my grits?
Cheese! Glorious cheese! Almost any hard or semi-hard shredded cheese can be stirred into grits.
My favorite is, of course, Gouda cheese, but other common cheeses are Fontina, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Gruyere.
I'd love to hear from you and see pictures of your version of Shrimp and Grits or if you make my shortcut recipe of Shrimp and Gouda Grits. If you don't have Gouda cheese, then Cheddar, Parmesan, Gruyere and Asiago cheese are flavorful substitutes.
For a creamy shrimp and grits sauce, just stir in 1/2 cup whipping cream with the chicken broth at the end.
What's the story behind this recipe?
My shrimp and grits story includes the explanation for the name of my blog, Grits and Gouda. I named my food blog this because my recipes are Southern with shortcuts with a pinch of gourmet, thus the name Grits (Southern) and Gouda (gourmet cheese).
There's actually a story behind ANY shrimp and grits recipe. Everyone adds their own twist to this popular seafood dish.
There are so many ingredients that can be added, omitted, or swapped for a similar one.
For example green onions or white onion; fresh tomato or canned tomato; cream or no cream; bacon or sausage; green pepper or jalapeno; Worcestershire or hot sauce; dark roux or just flour.
More shortcut dinner recipes
- Slow Cooker Chicken Spinach Lasagna
- Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken Thighs
- Crockpot Chicken and Dressing
- Shortcut White Bean and Chicken Chili
If you make this recipe I'd love to see it! Tag me on social media with #gritsandgouda or @gritsandgouda. Leave a comment below the printable recipe if you have questions or tell me how you liked the recipe. Don't forget to give the recipe a rating of 5 stars if you love it!
Simple Shrimp and Grits (No Roux)
- 1 32-oz carton chicken broth (4 cups)
- 1 cup Milk (whole milk or half and half)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup quick-cooking grits or finely stone ground grits cooks in 5 minutes - not instant grits
Shrimp and Grits Sauce
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 1 cup 4 ounces shredded Gouda or other semi hard cheese Cheddar, Asiago, Gruyere
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped about 3/4 cup
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 1 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined (with tails left on, if desired)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (more if you like)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- Measure out 3 cups of the broth in a 3-quart saucepan and add the milk and salt; bring it to a boil over medium-high heat stirring often. When it comes to a boil whisk in the grits. Whisk with one hand while slowly pouring the grits in with the other.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of the butter, and cheese, stirring until cheese melts.
Shrimp and Grits Sauce
- While broth mixture is coming to a boil, melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter with the olive oil a large cast iron or nonstick skillet. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic; cook, stirring constantly over medium-high heat, 2 minutes or until onion is tender. Add the shrimp and cook 1 minute or just until shrimp turns pink and the end curls toward the tail. Remove the shrimp with tongs and set aside to prevent overcooking.
- Measure out 2 tablespoons of the remaining 1 cup of chicken broth and set aside in a very small bowl for the slurry. Add the remaining chicken broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce to the skillet; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, and cook 3 minutes. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter until it melts.
- Stir together cornstarch and the 2 tablespoons of chicken broth set aside. Stir it into the sauce mixture and stir quickly over medium heat. It should thicken in about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp back to the sauce mixture.
- Spoon the cheese grits onto plates. (I served mine in four (5-inch cast iron skillets). If the grits have thickened up too much, stir in a little milk to loosen. Spoon the shrimp mixture over the grits and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.
Nutrition analysis on GritsAndGouda.com recipes are mostly calculated on an online nutrition calculator. I am not a dietitian and nutritional information is an estimate and can vary based on products used.