When in the South, Eat Like a Southerner: Shrimp & Grits

by Heather

Clearly I love oatmeal. And most other grains.

But I’ve never understood the appeal of grits.

stone ground grits

Not likely grits wasn’t a big deal until I moved South. Add not liking sweet tea and I was labeled strange.

Did you know people ate grits for meals besides breakfast? I didn’t until I went to a friend’s wedding and she insisted that I try the shrimp and grits- it was the reason she chose the reception location.

So I tried them and I was forced to admit they didn’t kill me. Ok, it was actually pretty good.

For last year’s 24 x 24, I tried to recreate the shrimp and grits, and discovered it wasn’t a fluke- grits could actually be good.

Now, they’re still not on my list of favorites, but because I do live in the South, I’ve decided to embrace them. Plus, I have a southern husband to keep happy.

So shrimp and grits it is!

Southern Shrimp and Grits

1 cup stone ground grits

2 cups water

2 cups + 1/4c vegetable broth

1 yellow onion, chopped

Optional: 1/2c shredded sharp cheddar cheese or vegan cheddar cheese


1 T flour

1T lemon juice

Splash hot pepper sauce {adjust for spiciness preference}

Salt & pepper

Bring water and 2 cups of broth to a boil. Stir in grits and simmer ~25 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. {If using quick cooking grits, follow package directions.} While grits are simmering, sauté onions. Remove grits from heat; stir in onions and cheese if using.

savory grits

Sauté shrimp over medium heat with remaining 1/4c veggie broth. Stir in flour, lemon juice, & hot sauce. Cook until shrimp turn pink.

cooking shrimp

Serve grits with shrimp on top. Season with salt & pepper.

It’s perfect as a one-bowl dish or with veggies on the side. My favorite? Roasted asparagus.

asparagus bundlebunch of asparagus

Chop ends off asparagus and spread on baking sheet. Toss in olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Bake 10-12 minutes, until tips start to brown.

roasted asparagus

And yes, asparagus always sparks the ‘does your pee smell’ debate. We’re too classy to discuss that here….

shrimp and grits

What foods are popular or unique to where you live?

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary (How to not be...) January 26, 2011 at 10:05 am
YUM. I'm from the South & grew up eating cheese grits about every morning but I'm not a hugee fan of Southern food. I do love shrimp & grits but I haven't had it in so long because it's always made with bacon! This looks great.
Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg January 26, 2011 at 10:14 am
Ah, as a Louisiana girl, grits are as familiar to me as my family members, ha! But, now that I'm living in Pennsylvania, I'm having to familiarize myself with an entire list of foods that I never even knew existed-- scrapple, anyone? Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg Just blogged...Blargh
Heather January 26, 2011 at 9:33 pm
Ugh scrapple..... I grew up near Baltimore. Grossest.thing.ever.
Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman January 26, 2011 at 10:48 am
I might be the strangest New Englander ever. I love grits. (Granted, I never had a real bowl until I moved to VA and found that they sold it in restaurants, but the instant were one of my favorite breakfasts growing up.) This looks great. I love shrimp and grits. I'll have to try your recipe. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman Just blogged...Tea Bag Pep Talk
Theresa @ActiveEggplant January 26, 2011 at 11:14 am
I never had Shrimp & Grits until this past summer! I don't know how on earth I missed out on them for that long. One question - my husband doesn't eat Shrimp - what do you think the best substitution would be? Theresa @ActiveEggplant Just blogged...Ringling Bridge Run VIII- Recap
Heather January 26, 2011 at 9:35 pm
Mmm does he eat other seafood? I think scallops could be interesting...or a firm white fish. Even chicken would be good if you kept it moist- maybe marinate in some kind of citrus/lemon/peppery marinade first? My husband ate all the leftovers without shrimp and still loved it. ;)
Heather January 26, 2011 at 11:23 am
I lived in Georgia for two years and picked up some Southern Faves... Fried Catfish, okra, shrimp and grits and sweet tea are my favorites. I haven't made shrimp and grits in a long time but they are so delicious! Heather Just blogged...Made a Little Extra…
Heather January 26, 2011 at 9:36 pm
Oh, OKRA!!! I think that's the best thing I've picked up since living here :)
Jeni @ stepping out January 26, 2011 at 11:46 am
I completely understand the not really liking grits and sweet tea. Whenever I tell someone that I was born and raised in the south but don't like either the definitely think there's something wrong with me. Then I tell them my family's from LA and laugh. :D
Kelly January 26, 2011 at 11:48 am
I only like Grits when they are savory...I am not a sweet girt fan at all. That is what oatmeal is for! But shrimp and grits...yes please!
Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine January 26, 2011 at 12:17 pm
I don't think I've ever actually had grits!! Philly is known for its cheesesteaks and soft pretzels. I pass on the first, but looove the second. Huge knots of carbs are just my style! Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine Just blogged...Food Staples
Heather January 26, 2011 at 9:39 pm
"Huge knots of carbs" hahaa yes please!!!
Regan Jones RD January 26, 2011 at 1:58 pm
I'm southern through and through (eventhough I work for the best New England cheesemaker around!) I DO NOT like Sweet Tea... go figure. And I'm not as big of a grit-for-breakfast eater as you would think. But I DO love cheddar grits for dinner... also goes great with blackened salmon. So come to think of it... maybe I'm not as southern as I think? Great looking recipe! Regan ~from Cabot Creamery
Heather January 26, 2011 at 9:41 pm
I think liking grits for dinner makes you a little Southern ;) More than me anyways!
annie January 26, 2011 at 3:07 pm
I've always wanted to try this dish! I definitely will make it
Sarah (Sarah Learns) January 26, 2011 at 4:20 pm
i've only had grits a handful of times - i wasn't blown away, but i didn't dislike them either. good for you giving them a second chance! i'm from wisconsin, so we love brats, beer, and cheese! :) there's also the german influence in my hometown, so i grew up making sour kraut in our kitchen. my sister and i would actually stomp it with our feet to mix it up! haha, it seems so strange now to think about it - but it was fun & tasty! Sarah (Sarah Learns) Just blogged...what i ate tuesday
Heather January 26, 2011 at 9:44 pm
Mmm I could catch on to the beer part but you can keep the sour kraut---eewww! (Although squishing it with your feet sounds fun haha)
chelsey @ clean eating chelsey January 26, 2011 at 4:39 pm
My brother in law is from the south and he loooves his grits. I can do without them thank you. :) chelsey @ clean eating chelsey Just blogged...fired up
Jess@atasteofconfidence January 26, 2011 at 5:40 pm
I've never had grits- they kinda gross me out! chicken wings are famous in bflo, of course:) Jess@atasteofconfidence Just blogged...Tag! You’re It
Heather January 26, 2011 at 9:46 pm
Everything's better with buffalo sauce ;)
Katie @ peacebeme January 26, 2011 at 6:11 pm
I have never eaten shrimp and grits but those look pretty good. I live in Denver, we have A LOT of authentic Mexican food here, bison meat, and general healthy eating. Katie @ peacebeme Just blogged...Owning my life to stay strong
Brittany January 26, 2011 at 9:08 pm
Being from Louisiana, grits are one of my most things! It's quite sad how i can't get them anywhere outside of the South! Brittany Just blogged...30 day challenge
Faith @ lovelyascharged January 26, 2011 at 11:26 pm
I havent eaten grits in a while. I used to have the pre-packed quaker ones with a buttload of cheddar on top as a kid...Im sure I could enjoy them, but definitely yummy, "clean" ones like yours! Faith @ lovelyascharged Just blogged...Spicy Quinoa Stew
ashley @ ashley's adventures in alaska January 27, 2011 at 1:29 am
I'm from Texas, but live in Alaska and we have LOTS of foods that are specific to the state. We eat tons of seafood: halibut, King crab, scallops, salmon of all kinds and prepared in all ways including the always popular smoked... and love fresh wild berries like blueberries, salmonberries, and so many others. I love our foods! ashley @ ashley's adventures in alaska Just blogged...Ive got two feet- and I know how to use them!
Jennifer Caccamo January 27, 2011 at 1:30 am
I hate grits! This recipe sounds good though.
emily (a nutritionist eats) January 27, 2011 at 9:42 pm
I never understood the appeal of grits until I had them down South. Now? Obsessed. emily (a nutritionist eats) Just blogged...chicken tostadas
LauraJayne January 28, 2011 at 2:08 pm
There is a lot of juice/lemonade and "fry sauce" served in Utah (Fry sauce, if you are unfamiliar, is different everywhere, but basically a mix of ketchup, mayo, and assorted addends, like hot sauce, bbq sauce, relish, etc.). I like it, but since I don't eat fries a lot, I therefore don't eat fry sauce a lot. As for the juice/lemonade obsession, I'm much less favorable about that because of all the added sugar in most of those drinks! As for grits - I can honestly say that I've never tried them - so until I do, I will keep my opinions to myself. They don't always look 100% amazing though... Just sayin' LauraJayne Just blogged...Sugar Detox Day 5- Sugar is Addictive and Diet Coke Cravings
Erica January 28, 2011 at 5:02 pm
haha :) Shrimp & grits and grits for breakfast are very popular in Charleston :). I think they're delicious and I love making a lightened up version. Toss a little 2% cheese on top of those bad boys- amazing! your recipe looks fabulous. Have a good weekend Erica Just blogged...E- Crock Pot Minestrone & Oat Soda Bread
Clare @ Clare Cooks! January 30, 2011 at 1:52 am
I actually bought a box of grits recently but had no clue what to do with them. I going to have to try this out soon. Clare @ Clare Cooks! Just blogged...The Elusive Hummus- Caramelized Onion Hummus

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