The Southern Holy Grail

I’m a Southern-girl through and through. I was raised on grits, and I know them well.

I never had shrimp and grits growing up, because really that’s a different part of the South. So, when I started cooking for myself I started experimenting with recipes I had never tried before.

Rachael Ray always had my back! Her show, “30 Minute Meals,” is one of the first I really took to on Food Network, and I still adore her. I have 6 of her cookbooks ^_^. When I saw her make 30-minute shrimp and grits, I had to try it. Needless to say, it’s now one of my summer staple meals.

However, since starting Trim Healthy Mama I haven’t been able to have “real” grits. Once I’m in maintenance mode, I can, but not while I’m still trying to shed excess weight.

I searched by brain trying to think of some way I could still have the meal I love without breaking any rules.

Then, it came to me – cauliflower. (My granddaddy would roll over in his grave if he knew I had replaced real grits with cauliflower, by the way.)

It was a leap, but I’m pretty sure I nailed it.

shrimpgrits

Cajun-Style Shrimp and Parmesan (Faux) Grits (THM S)

  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 3-4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2-3 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1-1 1/2 cup vegetable broth 
  • 4-6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2-3 Tsp butter
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Old Bay seasoning

Saute pepper, onion, and celery on medium heat with butter. Once softened, add broth or beer, tomatoes, 1 tsp Old Bay, and hot sauce. Bring to a boil and reduce heat until liquid cooks off by about half. In a separate skillet, cook off the sliced bacon and remove onto paper towel to crisp. Toss shrimp into a bowl with a drizzle of EVOO and Old Bay seasoning, then throw them into the same skillet where you cooked the bacon. Cook about 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until opaque and firm. Turn off the heat on the veggies, and add the cooked shrimp.

Parmesan (Faux) Grits 

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 cup of frozen cauli-rice
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 – 3/4 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Trim fresh cauliflower and chop into large pieces. In batches, pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until finely chopped (but not, pureed – you want to pulse it 2-3 times to keep it large enough to where you won’t get a puree when it’s cooked. Once the cauliflower is all chopped, add it to a microwave-safe bowl, cover it with a damp towel (NOT Saran wrap, it holds too much moisture), and start it on regular power for 5 minutes. It depends on the power of your microwave (and mine is older, so it took all 10 minutes), but it will cook 8-10 minutes – no need to stir between cooks.

Once the cauliflower is cooked, add it right back into the food processor, reserving about 1/2 a cup of chopped cauliflower in your bowl. Add cream cheese, butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and pulse 1-2 times. Again, you don’t want a puree, so don’t go overboard with the pulse. Taste for seasoning, and add the cheese for one last pulse. Transfer the mixture back to the microwave bowl, with the frozen cauli-rice and reserved cauliflower. Stir to combine, check for seasoning again and adjust as needed.

To serve, make a grit-hole in the bottom of your bowl and pour over the veg-shrimp mixture. Top with crumbled bacon and hot sauce.

BEHOLD your bodacious shrimp and “grits!”

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