Charleston Shrimp and Grits

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My husband and I lived in the Charleston area of South Carolina for 11 years. We loved the low country and especially the cuisine. Every year, for our anniversary, we would go downtown for some authentic shrimp and grits at a fine dining restaurant. So good!

Food Tracking Momma Charleston shrimp and grits

It has been a challenge to create a Charleston shrimp and grits recipe that is not high in fat and calories. I believe this recipe is very close to the authentic style, yet comes in at just 500 calories per serving. The recipe has protein and carbs so it can be served as a complete meal with just a salad as a side. The biggest way I saved fat and calories from a traditional shrimp and grits recipe was by swapping andouille for turkey sausage and heavy cream for 2% milk.

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Shrimp and Grits Steps (Recipe below steps)

food tracking momma shrimp and grits- cheddar grits

There are many steps to this recipe but the most important thing is you MUST prep your ingredients before you start cooking the main part of the recipe. Start with making the grits by bringing to a boil the water, salt and grits. Then add the milk, lower the temperature to low and cover, stirring occasionally and simmering until cooked (15-20 minutes). While the grits cook, prep the shrimp (season and drizzle with lemon juice), slice the bacon and sausage, and chop the vegetables. Once the grits are cooked, remove from heat, stir in the cheddar cheese, and cover to keep warm. I LOVE these cooking utensils!

food tracking momma shrimp and grits sausage and bacon

In a large skillet (I use a dutch oven), cook the sausage and bacon until the bacon is almost crisp and there is color on the sausage. Stir often while cooking. Once done, remove the meat and set aside leaving a tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan.

food tracking momma shrimp and grits vegetables and roux

Add the vegetables to the bacon drippings and cook until they are soft. While the vegetables cook, take a small saucepan and combine the butter and flour, whisking often (medium heat). Cook this until the roux become medium brown in color.

food tracking momma shrimp and grits vegetables and shrimp

Once the vegetables are cooked and the roux is ready, add the meat, the seasoned shrimp and the roux. Cook all until the sauce is thick and the shrimp is done (pink in color).

Serve shrimp over grits.

Recipe: Charleston Shrimp and Grits

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Charleston Shrimp and Grits

Charleston Shrimp and Grits recipe
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Shrimp and Grits
Servings: 8
Calories: 500kcal
Author: Food Tracking Momma


  • 1 cup old fashioned grits
  • 2 3/4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups 2% reduced fat milk
  • 2 pounds uncooked shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 pound low-fat turkey kielbasa cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 4 slices bacon cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper chopped
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese shredded


  • In a saucepan, prepare the grits by bringing water, grits and salt to a boil. Stir in the milk and simmer until grits are thickened and tender (15 to 20 minutes). Stir as needed. Add the shredded cheddar and set aside covered.
  • Remove shell and de-vein shrimp. Sprinkle with salt and cayenne pepper (to taste) and drizzle with lemon juice. Set aside.
  • In a heavy skillet, cook bacon and sausage until bacon is near crisp. Remove meat and set aside, keeping 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings in the pan.
  • In the same pan with bacon drippings, add peppers, onion and garlic. Cook on medium high heat until vegetables are soft and onion is translucent.
  • While vegetables cook, in another saucepan, melt butter and flour on medium heat. Whisk and slowly cook until roux becomes medium brown in color.
  • To the vegetables, add the shrimp and the bacon and sausage and stir all together. Add the roux (butter/flour mixture), chicken broth, and Worchestershire sauce. Cook on medium heat until the shrimp are pink and the sauce thickens.
  • Serve the shrimp mixture over the cheese grits.
food tracking momma charleston shrimp and grits nutritional facts

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