Spicy Cajun BBQ Shrimp and Cheesy Grits

I love the coziness, richness and spice of Southern comfort food. I was inspired by Downtown Disney’s Jazz Kitchen for this recipe. They serve up a mouthwatering BBQ shrimp dish over rich, luscious grits and I was determined to lighten it up so that I could enjoy it more often. I also added some healthy greens in there for extra vitamins. You can serve this up over my cheesy grits recipe or simply eat it with crusty bread for sopping up the sauce!


Health tips: Low fat, heart healthy

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined (About 6-8 pieces per serving) You can leave the tail on for extra flavor, plus it’s pretty!
  • 1 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning (Tip: Make sure this includes salt)
  • A pinch of ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Frank’s Original hot sauce (Tip: Different hot sauces have different levels of heat, but I find Frank’s to be a milder heat compared to something like Tapatio which is very spicy.)
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup 
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (1/2 large lemon), plus extra for squeezing later
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon fat-free or reduced-fat evaporated milk or creamer
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or yogurt butter
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • Parsley, chopped, for garnish

Cheesy Grits (Tip: You can also eat your BBQ shrimp with crusty bread, that is delicious too!)

  • 3/4 cup quick-cook grits
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups fat-free cheddar cheese


  1. In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp with Creole seasoning and pepper until evenly coated. 
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the garlic, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and sauté quickly about 30 seconds to 1 minute each side until it starts to turn pink but not cooked yet. (Watch the shrimp carefully, they can be easily overcooked.) Set shrimp aside.
  3. To the garlic, add the hot sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, broth, lemon juice, bay leaf, and rosemary sprigs. Bring to a simmer and cook until sauce is reduced by half, and thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and rosemary sprigs.
  4. In the meantime, bring the 4 cups broth for the grits with a pinch of salt to a boil. Add the grits and cook for about 5 minutes. Once cooked, take off heat and stir in the cheese until melted. 
  5. Reduce the heat for the sauce to low and stir in butter until melted, milk and spinach until it wilts (About 15-30 seconds). Add shrimp back in and combine with sauce, cooking for about 1 minute. Shrimp is cooked through when it is all light pink, opaque and butterflied.
  6. Serve shrimp with BBQ sauce immediately over cheesy grits and garnish with parsley and a squeeze of extra lemon juice. Enjoy!20111209- 06283120120309- 05284420120309- 05360620120309- 054741

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