Chipotle Shrimp and Smoked Gouda Cauliflower Grits may sound like something this Yankee has no business messing with. Shrimp and Grits is something often imitated, but only perfected in the South.
SmartPoints for Recipe: Green – 5SP; Blue & Purple – 4SP.
This past summer I experienced shrimp and grits for the first time, and I will never be the same. As I sit here dreaming of my time in Savannah, these Chipotle Shrimp and Smoked Gouda Cauliflower grits will hit all the spots in the meantime.
The Smoked Gouda Cauliflower Grits are cheesy with a lingering smokiness from both the gouda and the bacon and it pairs perfectly with the smoky heat from the chipotle shrimp. At 4 WW SP per serving, this is a perfect low point meal for any time of day.
The inspiration for these cauliflower grits comes from our family adventures last summer below the Mason-Dixon line. This past summer, my family took a two-week road trip to the South with two main priorities: climb some mountains and eat all the delicious food we could find.
Grits are not easy to come by up North, but boy did we eat all the grits we could find. I fell in love with cheesy grits. They are so comforting and so versatile that you can eat them at any meal.
I owe my love of shrimp and grits to Savannah, GA
I never had grits before we went on our road trip last summer. The only thing I knew about grits was that a real Southerner doesn’t use instant grits, but I learned from My Cousin Vinny.
Boy, did I learn grits when I was in Savannah. It was the first meal I ate in Savannah, and I tried shrimp and grits at 5 of the 6 restaurants we ate at. Savannah was everything we wanted and more when we were there.
It was life-changing. The food, the sights, the beaches, the shops–everything was picturesque and perfect. One day I’ll be back and eat all of the shrimp and grits this city has to offer, but these grits will keep me satisfied until then.
Before we get to the grits, here’s why I loved Savannah so much.
Forsythe Park was breathtaking, and not in the way that often gets overused. It was stunning and we literally gasped when we first came to it. Yeah, Philly is old and has history, but nothing like Savannah.
The Spanish Moss lined walkways and fountain are more beautiful than any picture could capture. The park itself is sprawling and you can easily lose track of time just taking it all in.
Of course, in the midst of all this beauty, my girls were most excited about the water feature 2 dozen kids were running through so we let them go to town despite the fact we didn’t anticipate them getting wet so no clothes or towels were brought.
It didn’t matter though. We walked around for hours taking it in or chasing after the kids. It was perfect.
I love the beach and I thought I knew what a shore town was, but I was wrong. I know what vacation shore towns are, but Tybee Island is so different. I’m used to the stress of a beach trip.
I am the human pack mule lugging everything down only to then stand ankle-deep in freezing Jersey Shore waters while my daughters go bonkers in the ice water. Driving into Tybee, you can just tell the vibe is different than the Jersey Shore–it was so relaxing to be there.
Lunch before the beach was, of course, shrimp and grits, plus local beer and hush puppies. The beach was perfect. The water was warm, the people were chill, and it was easily one of my favorite experiences at the beach.
We sat there, taking it all in, and it hit us how lucky we were to be doing something like this road trip with our family. It was perfect.
Leaving Savannah inspired
The final night of Savannah was a sad one. We thought we fell in love with Asheville, but we fell hard for Savannah. You would walk down the street and it just felt right.
For a city we’ve never been to before, it felt so familiar and welcoming–something we hadn’t felt so strongly on our entire road trip filled with enjoyable and welcoming cities.
We ended our trip with, hands down, my favorite night on the foodie road trip of my dreams dinner at Public Kitchen & Bar followed by ice cream at the historic Leopold’s Ice Cream.
Cauliflower grits are the real deal
A velvety bowl of cheese grits made any breakfast, lunch, or dinner absolutely magical to this guy from the North. When we came back, I thought “there has to be a way to make this fit into my healthy lifestyle.”
In walks cauliflower. I know– cauliflower is made into everything these days, and sometimes it has no business being there. Trust me though, cauliflower was made for grits; specifically, cauliflower was made for chipotle shrimp and smoked gouda grits.
The chipotle sauce will make you want to lick the pan, and the smokey, rich flavor of the gouda cheese really kicks the flavor up a notch and makes this recipe a true comfort food.
This recipe was featured on Rachel’s Healthy Plate’s #friendfriday. Her recipes are delicious, and her photography is beautiful. Check out her blog!Print
WW SP: Green: 5SP | Purple/Blue: 4SP
FOR THE GRITS:
- 1 head of cauliflower (broken into florets)
- 2 cups unsweetened cashew milk or almond milk
- 3.5 oz smoked gouda
- 4 slices of center cut bacon (I use Wegmans brand)
- ¼ cup old fashioned grits
- 1 cup water
- 2 scallions (finely chopped)
- kosher salt
- hot sauce (optional)
FOR THE CHIPOTLE SHRIMP:
- 1.5 lbs raw shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- ½–1 tbsp chipotle in adobo (minced (depending on heat preferences))
- 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 2 cups fat free chicken broth
- 1 lime (juiced)
- 1 onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 cup of cherry tomatoes
- 1 tbsp flour
- kosher salt
- Pulse the raw cauliflower florets until they are small granules, smaller than cauliflower rice. You want it into small, well, grits. Depending on how large your food processor is, you may have to do it in batches.
- Fry up the bacon in whatever pan you are making your grits in. Use your biggest frying pan (the recipe will make six cups). Once you crisp the bacon, remove it for later, but leave the bacon grease in the pan!
- Add all the cauliflower into the pan with the bacon grease. Cook it for about one minute, then add the cashew/almond milk. Stir it up a little and bring it to a boil.
- While the cauliflower is cooking, toss the shrimp, lime juice, garlic, chipotle, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Let that marinate for about ten minutes.
- Once the cauliflower is boiling, add the ¼ c of grits and the cup of water. Cook for 15 minutes on low and covered. Stir it occasionally.
- Get a second pan nice and hot (I always prefer a cast iron, but use what you’d like). Spray a little cooking spray in the pan, and dump the shrimp bowl into the pan, and cook on medium heat until the shrimp is pink.
- Once the shrimp is cooked, remove the cooked shrimp, add the onion, tomatoes, a pinch of salt, and cook until onions are translucent and the tomatoes begin to pop. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to get the delicious bits of garlic and shrimp loosened from the pan. Once the onions are translucent, add the garlic and cook for about a minute.
- After about 30 seconds of cooking the garlic, sprinkle the flour into the pan. Whisk in the chicken broth. Bring it to a boil, reduce it to a simmer. Turn your sauce on as low as possible until you are ready for plating.
- Back to the grits.. Grits should be done by now and ready for the seasoning and cheese. Chop the bacon and add that and the sliced scallions to the grits. You can reserve a little for garnish if you fancy. Fold in the cheese. Finally, add some salt and pepper. I added about a tablespoon of salt and a half of a tablespoon of pepper. I added a few dashes of hot sauce, but I add that to most things.
- When you are ready, throw the shrimp back in to the sauce, heat it back up, and plate it. Scoop a cup of grits in a bowl, add a few pieces of shrimp on top, then ladle that sauce on top.