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Healthy Shrimp and Grits with Leeks

Like many traditional Southern dishes, shrimp and grits is usually loaded with butter, cheese and sometimes bacon or a ham hock. This lighter version is completely meat- and dairy-free. The dish gets its flavor from sweet sauteed leeks and a quick white wine pan sauce.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1 quart shrimp, chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup medium-ground corn grits
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined, tails left on
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced


  1. Prepare the Grits In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to boil. Gradually whisk in the grits, partially cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the stock is absorbed and the grits are tender, about 20 minutes. The grits should be thick but still pourable—add another 1/2 cup of stock or water if the grits becomes too heavy to whisk. Stir in the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, Prepare the Shrimp In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the shallots and leeks and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, Prepare the Shrimp In a small bowl, combine the paprika and salt. Season the shrimp with the paprika mixture. Push the shallots and leeks to the side of the skillet and add the shrimp in an even layer. Cook until pink, about 1 minute per side. Add the wine to the pan and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom. Simmer until the wine is reduced by half and the shrimp are white throughout, about 2 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, Prepare the Shrimp Transfer the grits to plates and top with the shrimp and sauce. Garnish with the scallions and serve.


One Serving: 306 cal, 9.5 gm fat, 1.6 gm sat fat, 20.9 gm carb, 2.7 gm fiber, 28.8 gm protein; high in vitamin A; gluten- and dairy-free. Tips: You can add some greens directly to the dish: Stir in a handful of baby kale, spinach or arugula with the leeks and saute until wilted. o To add a Southwestern twist to this dish, toss the shrimp with 1/2 teaspoon pure chile powder and cumin. o This recipe will be extra-tasty if you use homemade shrimp stock for cooking the grits. You can also add the shrimp shells to store-bought chicken or vegetable stock, simmer for 20 minutes, then strain the stock before using.

Contributed By Photo © Phoebe Lapine Published September 2013

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