Cauliflower Grits with Gouda Cheese and Blackened Shrimp is a low-carb update to traditional shrimp and grits that doesn’t leave out any of the comfort!
More and more of my clients are requesting healthful alternatives to rice, pasta and because this is the South–grits!
Grits are super starchy and the ultimate in Southern comfort food. So how to make them healthier? Cauliflower!
How to make cauliflower grits:
I’ve made cauliflower grits and cauliflower rice with both food processors and hand graters. The problem with a food processor is that it’s very easy to overprocess the cauliflower and practically puree it as cauliflower does have a lot of water in it.
A hand grater works much better, however, it’s a lot of work and by the time I’m finished grating a head of cauliflower, my arm and shoulder are extremely tired.
You could purchase already riced cauliflower, but the “riced” bits tend to be larger than grits. I much prefer to use purchased “riced” cauliflower when substituting rice.
Another alternative is to use a vegetable spiralizer! The process is a little contrived, but it does work.
How to make cauliflower grits with a vegetable spiralizer:
- Start with a fresh, crisp snowy-white medium-to-large head of cauliflower.
- Remove all the leaves, but do not cut off the stem.
- Insert a long chopstick into the center of the top of the cauliflower.
- Using the fine, spaghetti-cut blade, place the chopstick through the hole that’s near the top of the blade.
- Secure the cauliflower with the food holder and spiralize away!
- Once the cauliflower is processed through the spiralizer, use a chef’s knife to finely chop it into small even “grains.”
- If any cauliflower florets left near the stem are difficult to pass through the blade, simply hand chop them along with the rest.
How easy is that?
How to make Cauliflower Grits with Gouda Cheese and Blackened Shrimp:
Now onto the rest of this creamy, cheesy wonderful low-carb Cauliflower Grits with Gouda Cheese and Blackened Shrimp.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I just couldn’t wrap my mind around “grits” when I first moved to the South and now I’m somewhat of a fanatic. I love being able to create a healthier version of the dish I’m so passionate about!
I use reduced-fat cream cheese blended with chicken broth rather than cream or half-and-half to produce a creamy base for the “grits.”
Because gouda is a full-flavored cheese, you don’t need much. The amount of gouda cheese melted in at the end amounts to only 1/4 cup per serving. That’s not bad and cheese is a good source of calcium.
….Aaannnd……What are grits without shrimp?
These blackened shrimp with my amazing homemade blackening mixture sear up easily in a cast-iron or nonstick skillet and pack a ton of flavor without a heavy sauce. The recipe for the blackening mixture makes more than you’ll need for the shrimp, but once you try it, you’ll always want to have it on hand!
Helpful tools and equipment to make Cauliflower Grits with Gouda Cheese and Blackened Shrimp (Affiliate Links):
- BLACKENING MIX
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt (kosher or sea)
- CAULIFLOWER GRITS
- 1 large head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 bunch scallions, white and light green part only
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (whipped or regular), room temperature
- 4 ounces Gouda cheese, shredded (approximately 1 cup)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (or as needed)
- 1 pound jumbo shrimp (16-20 ct)
- BLACKENING MIX: Combine spice mixture in a small bowl. Set aside.
- CAULIFLOWER GRITS: Process the head of cauliflower through a spiralizer, then finely chop if necessary. Set aside. Alternately, shred in a food processor or hand-grate with a grater.
- Heat butter in a shallow saucepan over medium-high heat. Add scallions, reduce heat to medium and cook 1-2 minutes to soften.
- Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Whisk in cream cheese, stirring constantly until cream cheese is incorporated into the broth.
- Add the cauliflower and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring often. (I like them a little less cooked--you may like them cooked more.)
- Add the Gouda cheese, continuing to stir until the cheese has melted and cauliflower is a creamy consistency. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Stir in parsley and keep warm.
- SHRIMP: Generously coat the shrimp with the blackening mix.
- Heat olive oil in a cast iron or nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook 1-2 minutes per side or until firm, being careful not to overcook. Serve grits topped with shrimp.
Amount Per Serving Calories 627Total Fat 37gSaturated Fat 15gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 18gCholesterol 305mgSodium 2252mgCarbohydrates 35gFiber 12gSugar 10gProtein 45g