Shrimp and Grits Salad is a little twist on the iconic southern classic dish. Grilled cajun shrimp and discs of jalapeno grits on a bed of greens with a spicy vinaigrette.
When bbq season is here, you won’t find me in the kitchen much. It’s all about cooking outside on the grill.
We love eating our meals on the patio during the summer. Easy, stress-free recipes are a must. Lots of great salads for dinner, especially when we add some grilled protein to the dish. Buckwheat and Scallop Salad is a favourite.
I love using grains as the base in salads. Healthy, nutritious and a change from traditional vegetable or pasta salads.
RECIPE and INSTRUCTIONS for these grilled grits and shrimp can be found at the bottom of this post.
Hot grilled grits and cajun shrimp create a wonderfully spicy dish that is perfect as an appetizer or a main dish. Pour a glass of wine and call it dinner.
How To Make Shrimp And Grits Salad
Creamy grits are the traditional way to enjoy this southern specialty. But have you ever noticed those polenta tubes in the grocery store? Get ready, you are going to make it yourself, and it is so much better than store-bought.
This is the first part of the recipe, and it needs to be made ahead of time. Everything you need to know is in the recipe card below. It is super easy.
- Cook the coarse grits according to package directions.
- Add the cheese and jalapeno.
- Wrap in plastic, forming a tube.
- Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
You need the grits to be cold so you can slice the log into nice thick pieces.
When it’s time to grill, take the log out of the fridge, remove the plastic, and cut it into thick discs (about 1 inch thick).
What Are Grits?
Is there a difference between polenta and grits? Yes, there is. Both are made from corn. Polenta from yellow corn and hominy grits from white corn.
In Canada, we have a hard time finding hominy, so most of the time we substitute (affiliate) coarse polenta instead.
They come in a variety of grinds, so depending on the recipe you are using you will want to match the texture for the perfect results. Similar to using different kinds of oatmeal.
- Stone ground is the most coarse of all. Use it in recipes that will produce less creamy results. They also take the longest to cook since less processing is involved.
- Quick ground is a little finer. They cook up creamy, smooth, and take under 10 minutes to cook.
- Instant is the most processed of all. Just add boiling water. This can be eaten in place of instant oatmeal for breakfast. Not ideal for recipes.
Next, you can make the dressing and have it ready and waiting. This is a simple vinaigrette.
- olive oil
- (affiliate) jalapeno lime white balsamic vinegar
- agave nectar
You can certainly use other flavours of vinegar, or just plain white balsamic and add some spice to the mix. Make this salad dressing the way you like. You can’t go wrong with an oil and vinegar blend.
Next prepare the shrimp. Clean and pat dry. Remember to remove the “poop” sac, no one wants to eat that. Just ask Gordon Ramsay.
Properly clean shrimp by:
- With a small knife make a shallow cut all the way along the top of the shrimp. Look for the black vein so you know you are on the correct side of the shrimp.
- Use the tip of the knife to pull out the vein.
- Rinse under water and pat dry.
- You can leave the shell and the tail on. Makes for a great presentation.
For the marinade I used:
Brush over the shrimp. Marinate the cleaned shrimp for about 30 minutes. They can also marinate overnight. I like to place them in a freezer bag. Always keep them in the fridge.
Again, feel free to experiment with other flavoured oils. We really like things spicy in our house.
Fire Up The Grill
Preheat your grill to medium heat. Hubby used a well-oiled grill basket to cook with.
- Cut your grits into nice thick slices.
- Grill the shrimp and grits, turning halfway through.
- The shrimp (depending on the size you have) cooked in about 2 minutes per side.
- Grits warmed up nicely at 3 minutes per side.
Arrange the salad:
- Take a nice handful of whatever salad greens you want to use.
- Drizzle a bit of oil on the greens.
- Place your fried grits and drizzle a little more dressing.
- Add the grilled shrimp, and dig in!
Great choices of greens would be:
- baby kale
- butter lettuce
- mixed greens
There you have it, a tasty grilled shrimp and grits recipe. Serve this at your next bbq party. Your guests will love it.
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If you love shrimp recipes, here are a few of our favourites:
- Zucchini Noodles with Shrimp is an easy and delicious dinner ready in minutes. Just in time for all that garden fresh zucchini. Healthy dinner idea.
- Shrimp Endive Cups are the perfect summer appetizer. Sweet and spicy. Great added to the weekend brunch menu.
Looking for more great grilling recipes, try
- Chili Lime Chicken Skewers
- Zucchini Burger with Sriracha & Pancetta
- Grilled Mushroom Stacks
- Grilled Garlic Scapes
Grilled Shrimp and Grits Salad
For the Grits:
- ½ cup yellow grits
- 2 cups water
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp garlic pepper
- 1 fresh jalapeno (seeded and diced)
- ½ cup smoked cheddar cheese (shredded)
For the Dressing:
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp jalapeno lime white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp agave nectar
For the Shrimp:
- 12 fresh shrimp (cleaned)
- 1 tbsp chipotle olive oil
- ¼ tsp sweet smoked paprika
- smoked sea salt (for seasoning)
To make the Grits:
- Add 2 cups of water to a small saucepan, and bring to a oil
- Season with ¼ tsp. salt.
- Slowly add the grits.
- Cook over low heat till done, about 20 minutes (stirring often).
- Remove from heat and add cheese, garlic pepper and diced jalapenos.
- Mix well, and set aside to cool slightly.
- Take a sheet of plastic wrap, and scoop grits onto it.
- Roll into a log and tie the ends of the plastic wrap into a knot.
- Place in fridge overnight (or for at least 4 hours) to chill.
To make the Dressing:
- Combine the olive oil, Jalapeno Lime White Balsamic Vinegar and agave nectar.
- Mix well and set aside till ready to use.
To make the Shrimp:
- Clean shrimp and pat dry.
- Combine the Chipotle Olive Oil and smoked paprika in a bowl.
- Brush over shrimp.
- Marinate shrimp in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat grill to medium heat.
- Get your salad greens ready.
- Remove grits from fridge, take off plastic wrap and slice into 1 inch thick discs.
- Grill shrimp and grits in a well oiled grill basket, turning 1/2 way through. Ususally about 1-2 minues per side depending on the size of the shrimp.
- Grits about 3 minutes per side.
- Arrange some greens on a plate.
- Drizzle some dressing over greens.
- Add the grits, and drizzle with more dressing.
- Season with smoked sea salt.
- Add the shrimp and any additional garnish you may like.