Shrimp & Grits with Tomatillo Sauce

May/June 2014

Your rating: None Average: 4.8 (5 votes)

This shrimp and grits recipe get a zesty makeover with a vibrant salsa verde. Any type of whole-grain (or stone-ground) cornmeal will work for these Southern-style grits, but for the best texture, we recommend using medium-ground cornmeal or grits.

Shrimp & Grits with Tomatillo Sauce Recipe

Makes: 4 servings

Serving Size: 3/4 cup grits, 2/3 cup sauce & 5 shrimp

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup medium- to coarse-ground yellow cornmeal or grits
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound tomatillos (see Tips), husked and rinsed
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 3 poblano peppers
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 20 raw shrimp (16-20 per pound), peeled and deveined (see Tips)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add cornmeal (or grits), broth, milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Partially cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and very creamy, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
  2. About 30 minutes before the grits are done, preheat broiler to high.
  3. Place tomatillos, onion slices and poblanos on a rimmed baking sheet and broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat source, turning once, until the peppers are blistered and the onion is beginning to color, 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer the tomatillos to a food processor (or blender); puree until smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan. When cool enough to handle, peel the peppers and remove stems and seeds. Chop the peppers and onion and add to the pureed tomatillos along with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate; crumble. Add shrimp to the pan and cook, turning once, until just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Stir the bacon and cilantro into the tomatillo sauce. Serve sauce and shrimp over the grits.

Tips & Notes

  • Tomatillos—tart fruits that look like husk-covered green tomatoes—add a savory tang to this charred-tomatillo sauce served with shrimp and grits.
  • Shrimp is usually sold by the number needed to make one pound. For example, “21-25 count” means there will be 21 to 25 shrimp in a pound. Size names, such as “large” or “extra large,” are not standardized, so to get the size you want, order by the count per pound. Both wild-caught and farm-raised shrimp can damage the surrounding ecosystems when not managed properly. Fortunately, it is possible to buy shrimp that have been raised or caught with sound environmental practices. Look for fresh or frozen shrimp certified by an independent agency, such as the Marine Stewardship Council. If you can’t find certified shrimp, choose wild-caught shrimp from North America—it’s more likely to be sustainably caught.


Per serving: 331 calories; 9 g fat (2 g sat, 4 g mono); 168 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 15 g total sugars; 31 g protein; 6 g fiber; 709 mg sodium; 1145 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (148% daily value), Potassium (33% dv), Vitamin B12 (31% dv), Magnesium (27% dv), Calcium (25% dv), Vitamin A (21% dv), Zinc (19% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 2 starch, 3 vegetable, 1/2 lowfat milk, 3 lean meat, 1 fat

More From EatingWell

Recipe Categories

Main Ingredient
Preparation/ Technique

Ease of Preparation
Total Time
More than 1 hour
May/June 2014

Connect With Us

20 minute dinner recipes

EatingWell Magazine

more smart savings
Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner