Pair cauliflower grits with blackened shrimp to make a lightened up, low-carb version of the classic Southern recipe. The result = delicious flavor and extra veggies!
Did you grow up eating grits? It is definitely a southern comfort food dish, but I know a lot of people who have never tried them before! Traditionally, grits are made by boiling cornmeal with milk or water – similar to porridge or oatmeal. They are often served as a side for breakfast or dinner and they can be sweet (with butter and sugar) or savory (with butter, cheese and/or bacon).
Shrimp and grits is a quintessential southern dish that’s served for dinner. If you go to any southern restaurant, you’ll likely see shrimp and grits on the menu. Obviously, this cheesy and buttery dish can be a pretty indulgent meal so I decided to lighten up the classic recipe and use cauliflower in place of cornmeal to make low-carb shrimp and grits.
What do Cauliflower Grits Taste Like?
The taste of grits, regular or cauliflower, totally depends on the flavors used to season them because they’re quite bland on their own. In these cheesy cauliflower grits, the cauliflower takes on the flavor of the cheese and the spicy shrimp we’re serving on top. I kept this recipe pretty simple with milk, butter, salt and pepper but you can add in any additional flavors you’d like! I think a rosemary and garlic version would also be delicious.
Low Carb Swap
Replacing regular grits with cauliflower grits makes this classic dish significantly lower in calories and carbs. A portion of regular shrimp and grits with just 1 cup of cooked grits has around 30 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fiber, whereas a portion of cauliflower shrimp and grits had 9 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fiber. Whether you’re looking to eat fewer carbs or want to increase your fiber intake, using cauliflower grits instead of regular grits is such a healthy swap!
This meal is light enough for a delicious summer dinner but also so comforting! It reminds me of my childhood, but I am not left feeling super heavy or bloated because of the upgraded ingredients.
Ingredients in Cauliflower Grits
milk – I used unsweetened almond milk but use whatever milk you have on hand
sea salt + black pepper
blackened seasoning or cajun seasoning – I made my own but you can definitely buy a pre-made seasoning mix
How to Make Shrimp and Grits
The first step is to take cauliflower florets and make them into cauliflower rice! Add the cauliflower into a food processor and pulse until the florets are broken down into small pieces. I prefer to pulse until the pieces are a little smaller than cauliflower rice.
After your cauliflower is prepped, it’s time to make grits! Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the butter, cauliflower, milk, butter, salt and black pepper to the pan. Bring to a simmer and stir frequently until the mixture is soft and smooth and looks like grits! Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and keep warm as you make your spicy shrimp.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and blackened seasoning and toss until the shrimp are seasoned and cooked through. The shrimp will be opaque pink when done – it should take only 4-5 minutes. Remove shrimp from the heat and add the parsley, lemon juice, and water and stir to make sure the shrimp is coated with all the yummy seasonings.
Time to eat! Divide up the grits among shallow bowls and top with the shrimp. If you’re feeling fancy, garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy!
If you make this cauliflower shrimp and grits, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below letting us know how it turned out. Your feedback is so helpful for the EBF team and our readers!
Add cauliflower into a food processor and pulse until the florets break down into fine pieces. You want it to be smaller than the size than cauliflower rice, about the size of regular grits and it’s okay if it clumps together. This step might be easier done in two batches, depending on the size of your food processor.
Add 1 Tablespoon butter to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Transfer to a medium saucepan, pulse the remaining cauliflower and add that to the pan too. Add milk, 1 tablespoon of the butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture is soft and smooth and looks like grits, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the Parmesan and taste. Add more salt and pepper if you’d like. Cover and keep warm.
Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, blackened seasoning and toss until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon water and stir to coat the shrimp with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide the cauliflower grits among shallow bowls, top with the shrimp and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve immediately.