This decadent Keto Shrimp and Grits recipe pairs cajun spiced shrimp with a flavorful sauce served over cheesy and creamy low carb cauliflower “grits” to keep your waistline in check. This rich Southern favorite proves that eating healthier can still be indulgent.
With the start of the New Year, I’ve decided to cut back on the indulgence. I’m using this new beginning to set a healthier tone for myself. But don’t get it twisted, I have no intention of skimping out on flavor. Who said diets have to be bland?
So this recipe marks the start of a new adventure for me! I’m excited to find a way to enjoy the foods I love while making a few better choices. First on my list? Keto Shrimp and Grits: a dish I truly couldn’t live without.
What is the Keto Diet?
Many of you are probably already familiar with the Keto diet. A ketogenic diet consists of at least 70 percent of calories derived from fat, about 10 percent from carbs and the remaining 20 percent in protein. This means chowing down on cheese, nuts, butter, salmon, bacon, olive oil and lots of greens.
The goal of the ketogenic diet is to enter a state of ketosis through fat metabolism. In this state, the body uses fat rather than carbohydrates for fuel. Simply, the diet is intended to help fuel your body to burn fat and lose weight.
Late last year, my parents and I did keto for about a month, and it totally helped me lose weight.
I know, I know. Cauliflower recipes are everywhere: wings, pizza crust, sauces and so much more. But, cauliflower is truly one of the most versatile vegetables out there. While developing this recipe I struggled with how to cut carbs by finding a suitable replacement for the grits.
One day as I walked through my local grocery store’s frozen section I spotted a bag of “cauliflower mashed potatoes”. The lightbulb went off. Turns out, the texture of the cauliflower mashed potatoes imitates grits almost perfectly and honestly, who can tell the difference once the cream and cheese are in the mix?
For this recipe, feel free to buy your mashed cauliflower pre-prepared or use a food-processor (a blender works too) to rice a head of cauliflower yourself. Be sure to properly clean the head and chop into smaller chunks first. It must be super fine in texture.
This recipe injects a ton of flavor using all keto friendly ingredients. The ingredients that truly bring out the Southern flavor for this dish are:
- Heavy whipping cream
- Cajun seasoning
Bacon is always keto friendly and it injects so much flavor and texture to whatever it is added to. I use both crispy bacon as a garnish and also the grease it is cooked in to create ample additional flavor.
Butter! Butter! Butter!! I can’t think of anything better than that. It is rich and creamy and just plain sensational. Garlic is a wonderful flavor profile as well and a paprika spice kicks it up a notch as well. I also add cajun seasoning to this keto shrimp sauce because it adds spice and that fantastic creole flavor we love in shrimp and grits.
Finally heavy whipping cream is so rich and decadent that it takes this sauce over the edge. It also thickens the sauce as well.
How to Buy Shrimp
There are two key components to this dish: keto shrimp and “grits”. So, when it comes to quality of ingredients this is one recipe you don’t want to skimp out on. The cauliflower grits are simple but choosing the right shrimp can be a bit tricky.
There are dozens of different shrimp species and varieties. You can buy them with heads on or off, tail-on or tailless, pre-cooked or raw and frozen or previously frozen. Being a bit of shrimp connoisseur, here’s my suggestion on how to buy the best.
Go Frozen Or Go Home
The majority of shrimp sold in the supermarket or at the fishmonger are deep frozen at sea and defrosted at the store. The same shrimp can be found in the frozen section at a cheaper price.
You’re better off buying the shrimp frozen and defrosting them yourself at home when you have more control of the process. In doing so, you guarantee that your shrimp aren’t sitting out for too long before cooking.
Always Buy Deveined
The “vein” of the shrimp is actually its digestive tract, basically shrimp poop. Sorry, someone had to say it. It’s not something I would recommend eating so go ahead and buy them previously deveined. You’ll thank me later.
How To Thaw Frozen Shrimp
To thaw frozen shrimp take them out of their bag and place them in a bowl under cold (not warm) running water. They should be ready to go in just a few minutes!
If you don’t want to leave the water running just leave them in a bowl of cold water to defrost for a while (it will take a bit longer without the water constantly running). Be sure to dry your shrimp with paper towels before seasoning.
Other Keto Friendly Recipes
I don’t usually make a ton of low carb recipes on this website but here are a few that are my faves for you to try!
- Light Shrimp Curry Over Cauliflower Rice
- Cajun Shrimp Zoodles
- Light Shrimp Scampi Over Spaghetti Squash
Other Amazing Grits Recipes
We’ve all got to treat ourselves sometime right? If you’re looking to add some extra goodness to this meal then look no further. Here are a few sides to complete your next Southern weeknight adventure!
- Perfect Southern Grits (if you are ever craving the real thing!)
- Baked Cheese Grits
- Grillades and Grits
- Sweet Potato Grits
- Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Grits
Keto Shrimp and Grits Recipe
For the Shrimp
- 3 bacon strips diced in small pieces
- 1 tbsp salted butter
- 1/4 onion finely diced
- 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
- 2 tsp cajun seasoning plus more to taste (I use sodium free or low sodium since the seasoning below also as salt)
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 tsp chicken bouillon seasoning start with a pinch and go up to 1/4 tsp but taste as you go along
- fresh parsley for serving
For the Cauliflower Grits
- 24 oz frozen mashed cauliflower 2 packages
- 2 tbsp salted butter
- 1/3 cup mild cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder can go up to 1/2 tsp
For the Shrimp
- Add bacon to large pan over medium heat and fry until golden brown. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels leaving the drippings in the pan.
- Add butter to drippings and allow to melt then saute onions until tender.
- While onions saute, season shrimp with cajun seasoning and toss in seasoning then set aside.
- Next add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.
- Finally add shrimp to pan and cook only about 1 ½- 2 minutes per side then remove.
- Add chicken stock and lemon juice and deglaze pan getting up all of the flavor that is stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Next stir in whipping cream then add chicken bouillon seasoning and additional cajun seasoning to taste. The color of the sauce should be somewhat orangey from the seasonings.
- Bring your heat to medium low and allow the sauce to simmer and thicken for about 10 minutes. If still not thick enough for your preference, add a bit of flour or cornstarch to the sauce to thicken quicker. Allow it to cook for an additional minute or so then turn off heat.
- Stir back in the shrimp and coat with sauce. Next sprinkle bacon and parsley on top.
For the "Grits"
- Find full instructions HERE: https://grandbaby-cakes.com/cauliflower-grits/
To Serve Shrimp and Grits
- Spoon grits into a bowl then ladle shrimp and sauce over top and sprinkle with parsley and serve.