Cheesy Cauliflower Grits with Blackened Shrimp

4.41 from 27 votes
45 minutes
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Cheesy Cauliflower Grits with Blackened Shrimp is a low-carb update to traditional shrimp and grits that doesn’t leave out any of the comfort!

Photo of Cauliflower Grits with Gouda Cheese and Blackened Shrimp in clay dish on brown burlap.

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.

Photo of a head of white cauliflower.

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.
Collage of photos on how to set up cauliflower to be spiralized and shredded.
  • 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!
Photo of cauliflower being shredded in a vegetable spiralizer.
Photo of cauliflower in tiny bits as its coming out of the spiralizer.
  • 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 Cheesy Cauliflower Grits with 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!

Photo of Cauliflower Grits with Gouda Cheese in black bowl with serving spoon on blue striped towel.
  • 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.
  • Make this Blackening Seasoning recipe so you’ll have plenty on hand for the future!
Photo of Cauliflower Grits with Gouda Cheese being served with spoon.

….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!

Photo of seven Blackened Shrimp on cast iron pan.

Enjoy!

Be sure to check out these other shrimp and grits recipes!

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Cheesy Cauliflower Grits with Blackened Shrimp

4.41 from 27 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Cheesy Cauliflower Grits with Blackened Shrimp is a low-carb update to traditional shrimp and grits that doesn’t leave out any of the comfort!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Fish and Seafood
Cuisine Southern
Servings 4
Calories 520 kcal

Ingredients
  

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 cream cheese - reduced fat, 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

Blackening Mix and Shrimp

  • 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
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil - or as needed
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp - 16-20 ct

Instructions
 

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. Serve with shrimp.

Blackening Mix and Shrimp

  • Combine spice mixture in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • 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.

Notes

A spiralizer, cheese grater or food processor will all work to “rice” the cauliflower.
SUBSTITUTIONS:  Any cheese that melts nicely can be substituted for the gouda.  Try Monterey jack, Gruyere or goat cheese.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 520kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 221mg | Sodium: 1885mg | Potassium: 1125mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 4126IU | Vitamin C: 113mg | Calcium: 398mg | Iron: 4mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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4.41 from 27 votes (24 ratings without comment)

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30 Comments

  1. Where are all the sugars coming from? I am on a keto diet and can’t understand why the carb count is so high!

    1. Hi, Tricia, Thanks so much for your question. I’m not a keto blogger and use a computer-generated nutritional analysis. I reran the NA to see what it did and it looks like it stayed the same. I’m sure you’re more knowledgeable than I am on the subject so I would recommend doing your own analysis based on the ingredients you’re using. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

  2. I was wondering about how much cauliflower you end up with once it’s been processed (cups or ounces). I don’t have the OXO spiralizer and I wondered if it would be easier to start with cauliflower pearls and mince from there. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Hi, Rachel, You should end up with 4-5 loosely packed cups. In all honesty, the OXO spiralizer method is a bit “contrived.” You can accomplish the same thing with a cheese/food grater. You definitely could use cauliflower pearls and mince them a bit more to resemble grits. In a lot of recipes, I actually prefer the purchased cauliflower pearls over fresh cauliflower because they’re not as wet. Processing fresh cauliflower at home seems to really bring the water out of it! Thanks for your question and hope you enjoy!

  3. I noticed the recipe says to melt butter. Is this correct or should i use the olive oil as listed in the ingredients?

    1. Hi, Bella, Thanks so much for your question. The butter is for the cauliflower grits; the olive oil is for the blackening the shrimp. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

  4. 5 stars
    This recipe is absolutely delicious and according to the app I use to track my carbs it is 11 net carbs per serving. I used my Ninja food processor with the shredding blade to make the cauliflower grits and they turned out to be a perfect texture. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly. I love this recipe and so did my fiance, who doesn’t eat low carb and I have been trying to find recipes that we can both enjoy. Thank you for adding another recipe to my repertoire that works for both of us. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Vanessa! Your comment is a great start to my day! Thanks so much for the carb information. I’m in the process of adding nutritional information to my recipes. However, it’s a slow process so I’m sure my readers will appreciate the information. Thanks again and glad your fiance enjoyed too!

  5. I don’t understand with this ingredient list how it can be 29 carbs per serving? Could you explain that please. Th is so much!

    1. Hi, Marsha, Thanks so much for your question. The recipe program I use does the analysis for me. I actually don’t like providing a nutritional analysis because the only way to have it be accurate is to do it product by product and ingredient by ingredient. Everyone is going to use different products and cook things differently. Looking at the list, it most likely is not accurate. If carbs are a concern, I would suggest analyzing it using the Self [Magazine] Nutrition Data. http://nutritiondata.self.com/ Thanks again!

  6. These look just fantastic. I make some cauliflower grits, but a different recipe. I’m definitely going to give this a try soon. Thank you for posting!