Healthy Southern recipe – shrimp and grits

Enjoy your favorite southern dishes without the guilt.

Southern foods lovers enjoy hearty, rich, classic recipes passed down from generation to generation. As delicious as the food is, it’s not always the healthiest. Fortunately, for those who love Southern dishes, there are plenty of options to make these recipes healthier while keeping the flavor that your grandmother added with so much love! This healthy spin on a Southern favorite, shrimp and grits is a healthy version of the classic dish with only 235 calories per serving.

Michigan State University Extension encourages a balanced meal plan that incorporates grains and vegetables. Not only is this recipe low calorie, it also provides an opportunity to get the daily recommendation of grains and a serving of vegetables, as recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) My Plate.

Shrimp and Grits                          

Parmesan grits ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt                                                                         
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits                                                 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper   

Creamy shrimp sauce ingredients:

  • 1 pound unpeeled, medium-size raw shrimp (4 1/50 count)              
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper                                                   
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil                                                                         
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups low-sodium fat-free chicken broth                                               
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice                                                           
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt                                                                                
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 cups firmly packed fresh baby spinach
  • Vegetable cooking spray        


1. Prepare parmesan grits:

  • Bring 1/2 teaspoon salt and four cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually whisk in grits.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, eight minutes or until thickened.
  • Whisk in cheese and pepper. Keep warm.

2. Prepare creamy shrimp sauce:

  • Peel shrimp; devein, if desired.
  • Sprinkle shrimp with pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
  • Cook in a large non-stick skillet coated with non-fat cooking spray over medium-high heat one to two minutes on each side or just until flesh is pearly and opaque.
  • Remove from skillet. Reduce heat to medium.
  • Add oil; heat 30 seconds. Whisk in flour; cook 30 seconds to one minute.
  • Whisk in broth and next five ingredients; cook two to three minutes or until thickened.
  • Stir in shrimp and spinach; cook one minute or until spinach is slightly wilted.
  • Serve immediately over grits.


Note: Nutritional analysis includes 1/2 cup grits and about 1/3 cup sauce.


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