Sautéed shrimp and veggies tossed with Cajun spices are the perfect topping for creamy whole-grain grits. Beware of the sodium in packaged Cajun seasoning blends, it’s often off the charts. Look for sodium-free blends online, or make your own (see note below).
Cajun Shrimp and Grits
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1 tablespoon salt-free Cajun seasoning
2 cups 2% milk
1 large garlic clove, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 cup yellow grits or polenta
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
Toss the shrimp with the Cajun seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon of salt; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups water, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, milk, garlic and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat. Gradually whisk in the grits. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the grits are creamy and no longer grainy, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf and garlic clove and add the butter. Stir, cover and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and onions and sauté until tender and beginning to brown, 2 1/2 minutes. Add the shrimp and sauté until curled and opaque white throughout, 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and a few tablespoons of water to deglaze the bottom of the pan and simmer for 30 seconds. Serve bowls of grits with the shrimp over the top.
Note: If salt-free Cajun seasoning is unavailable, combine 1 tablespoon of paprika, 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Makes 2 1/2 tablespoons. Store remaining blend in an airtight container at room temperature.
Serves: 4 at 3/4 cup shrimp plus 1 scant cup of grits per serving.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 294, Total Fat: 10.9g; Saturated Fat: 4.2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4.2g; Cholesterol: 188mg; Sodium: 656mg; Carbohydrate: 20.3g; Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 8.9g; Protein: 28.4g