Cajun Shrimp and Grits with Tomato Gravy

Make this Cajun Shrimp and Grits with Tomato Gravy as an easy follow-along recipe when you need a bowl of comforting Southern goodness. Looking for other Cajun ideas? Try make the Cajun Crab Roll.

Ingredients for Cajun Shrimp and Grits with Tomato Gravy

  • Shrimp: You will need about a pound of shrimp for this recipe, peel and deveined. Try to find jumbo peeled and deveined shrimp in the frozen section.
  • Cajun Seasoning: Use a prepackaged blend, such as Slap Ya Mama, or make your own!
  • Grits: Look for stone-ground grits in the baking section.
  • Diced Tomatoes: Using a can of diced tomatoes is a main ingredient when making the tomato gravy. Look for a no or low salt version so you can adjust seasoning as necessary.
  • Cheese: This recipe calls for Gouda and Cheddar cheeses, but you can use your favorite cheeses for this recipe.
  • Bacon: Adding some of the bacon grease when cooking the shrimp will add another level of savory-ness to this recipe.
  • Green Onion: Brighten this recipe by adding a handful of green onions when serving.

How to Make Cajun Shrimp and Grits with Tomato Gravy

First, Brine the Shrimp

Start your recipe by brining your shrimp. Pat the shrimp dry and add them to a bowl. Add in baking soda and salt and let the shrimp rest in the fridge for anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour.

While the shrimp are resting, start the cheese grits.

This deliciously Southern decadent recipe is perfect for a rainy day.

Then, Make the Shrimp

Bring the chicken broth and water to a boil. Then add in the grits. Cover, but don’t forget about them! The grits need to be stirred consistently to avoid lumps. Stir the grits well every 5 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Then, stir in the butter and cream.

Make the grits with chicken broth.
Make the grits with chicken broth.
Finish the cajun grits with cheese, butter and cream.
Finish the cajun grits with cheese, butter and cream.

Take the grits of heat and stir in the cheese. Stir well so all ingredients are combined.

Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Leave the grits, covered, until ready to serve.

If the grits need to be reheated, slowly bring them up to temperature and add milk, cream or water if they appear dry.

Then, Make the Shrimp and Tomato Gravy

Remove the shrimp from the fridge and set aside.

Add the strips of bacon to a cold pan and pour over about a half cup of water. This will help the fat render evenly, leaving you with perfectly crispy bacon. Slowly bring the bacon up to temperature, until it is frying over medium heat.

Once the bacon is crispy, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside until ready to serve.

Add the shrimp to the bacon grease. Fry the shrimp on each side for about 3 minutes. Once cooked, remove the shrimp and add them to plate next to the bacon.

Add the raw shrimp to the bacon drippings for full-flavor shrimp.
Add the raw shrimp to the bacon drippings for full-flavor shrimp.
Shrimp are finished cooking once they are a bright orange color.
Shrimp are finished cooking once they are a bright orange color.

Add the butter and once melted, sprinkle with the all-purpose flour. Whisk the bacon grease, shrimp drippings, butter and flour together. This will create the roux for the tomato gravy. Continue whisking to ensure the roux does not burn. The roux is finished cooking once it is a rich brown color.

Add in the garlic when roux is just about finished, and whisk the roux for about a minute to fully incorporate the garlic.

Add the butter and then the flour to the drippings. Whisk continuously.
Add the butter and then the flour to the drippings. Whisk continuously.
Once the roux is just about finished, add in the garlic and whisk together.
Once the roux is just about finished, add in the garlic and whisk together.

Add the can of drained diced tomatoes, water, Worcheshire sauce, lemon juice, sugar and cajun seasoning. Stir well to combine and then cover. Let the combination simmer for about 15 minutes.

Before serving, taste the mixture and add in more seasoning if desired.

How to Serve Cajun Shrimp and Grits with Tomato Gravy

Start with a medium-sized bowl. Scoop in the cheesy grits.

Serve your Cajun shrimp and grits with tomato gravy with bacon and green onion sprinkled on top.
Serve your Cajun shrimp and grits with tomato gravy with bacon and green onion sprinkled on top.

Then, add some of the tomato gravy and top with the shrimp, bacon pieces and chopped green onion.

Alternatively, you can add the shrimp and the chopped bacon to the tomato sauce during the last few minutes of simmering.

The Secret to Perfect Shrimp

Have you ever wondered how to recreate that perfect restaurant-style shrimp that is crisp on the outside while still being succulent and soft on the inside?

The secret to perfect shrimp is adding a bit of baking soda to the mix. Make a dry brine for the shrimp by combining 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of sea salt for every pound of shrimp.

After patting the shrimp dry, add the dry brine and toss to combine. Let the shrimp rest in the fridge for 15 minutes to an hour before cooking.

The Best Cajun Seasoning

The best, and most well known Cajun seasoning is Slap Ya Mama cajun seasoning. I generally use the original blend, but you can use the extra hot or white pepper blend.

Alternatively, you can also make your own cajun seasoning.

Cajun Seasoning Ingredients

Make your own cajun spice blend for your shrimp and grits.
Make your own cajun spice blend for your shrimp and grits
  • Smoked Paprika: 3 tablespoons. You can also use regular paprika but smoked paprika will add a depth of flavor.
  • Cayenne Pepper: 2 tablespoons. Add cayenne pepper to your seasoning for a kick. Add more than the recommended 1 tablespoon if you’d like to make your seasoning more spicy.
  • Onion Powder: 1 tablespoons. Onion is a staple in Creole and Cajun cuisine.
  • Garlic Powder: 2 tablespoons. Add in some savory-sweetness by adding garlic powder to the mix.
  • Dried Thyme: 1 tablespoon. Thyme will add earthiness and sweetness to the blend.
  • Dried Parsley: 1 tablespoon. Parsley will round out the flavors of your seasoning.

Alternatives to Cheese Grits

If you don’t like grits or are looking for a lower calorie alternative, check out some of the ideas below.

You can make a keto version of grits instead! This recipe for Cheesy Keto Cauliflower Grits is so good you won’t even miss the higher carb corn grits.

You can also put the shrimp and tomato gravy over white rice. This will turn this dish into a crossover between Gumbo, Jambalaya and Shrimp and Grits!

More Recipes You Will Like

Cajun Crab Rolls

Cheesy Keto Cauliflower Grits

Twice Baked Potatoes

Duck with Plum Sauce

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwich

More Seafood Recipes

Seafood Cioppino with Linguine (Fisherman’s Stew)

Sushi Bake with Salmon and Tuna

Crab Cauliflower Mac n’ Cheese

Red Thai Curry with Prawns

Poke Nachos

Salmon Ponzu Poke Bowl

Cajun Shrimp and Grits with Tomato Gravy

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Sarah Course: EntreeCuisine: Cajun, Creole, SouthernDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

25

minutes
Calories

450

kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 1 peeled and deveined shrimp

  • 5 strips 5 bacon

  • 4 4 large garlic cloves, finely minced

  • 2 tbsn 2 all-purpose flour

  • 1 tbsn 1 Worcheshire sauce

  • 1 can 1 24 oz can diced tomatoes

  • 1 tbsn 1 baking soda

  • 3 tbsn 3 butter

  • juice of half a lemon

  • 2 tbsn 2 cajun seasoning

  • 3 tbsn 3 sugar

  • 1 cup 1 water

  • 2 2 green onions (optional)

  • Cheesy Grits
  • 1 cups 1 water

  • 2 cups 2 chicken broth

  • 1 cup 1 grits

  • 3/4 cup 3/4 cream

  • 1 cup 1 shredded cheddar cheese

  • 1 cup 1 shredded gouda cheese

  • 3 tbsn 3 butter

Directions

  • Cheesy Grits
  • Add the chicken broth and water to a stock pot. Once the liquid is at a boil, add in the grits.
  • Cover and let the grits simmer. Stir the grits about every 5 minutes. Add in the butter and cream. Continue stirring.
  • Once the grits are cooked, take the pot off the heat. Add in the cheese and stir until combined. Leave the pot covered until ready to serve.
  • Shrimp in Tomato Gravy
  • Prep the shrimp. Peel and devein the shrimp if necessary. Add the shrimp to a bowl with about a tablespoon of salt and add a half teaspoon of baking soda. Toss to coat and then rest in the fridge for 15 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Cook the bacon. Add the bacon to a cold pan. Add in about half a cup of water and heat over medium heat. The water will help the fat render out as it comes to temperature. Once fried, remove the bacon and transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
  • In the bacon grease, fry the shrimp. Shrimp should only take about 3 minutes per side. Once cooked, remove the shrimp and set aside.
  • To the same pan, add the butter. After the butter is melted, sprinkle in the flour and whisk to combine. This will be the roux for the gravy. Continue whisking over medium heat and allow the roux to develop flavor complexity until you have a deep brown roux. When the roux is just about finished, add in the grated garlic and whisk together for about a minute.
  • To the roux, add the diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce , sugar, lemon juice, water and cajun seasoning. Stir to combine and let the mixture simmer. Taste and add salt and pepper (or more Cajun seasoning) as desired.
  • Once the tomato gravy has reduced, you are ready to serve.
  • Plating
  • In a medium sized bowel, add the grits first. Then, add the tomato gravy and top with the shrimp, bacon pieces and green onion.
  • Another option is to add the shrimp and bacon back to the tomato gravy so everything is well combined.

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