Made from 3 freezer-food staples, these Cajun shrimp and cauliflower grits show that you healthy eating can be budget-friendly without being boring.
This month’s Recipe Redux Challenge “Spring Clean the Kitchen” asked members to come up with a recipe using at least 3 ingredients that we already have in our kitchen, and to try not to go to the store to buy anything new. I loved this challenge as I think it can be easy to think that we need a bunch of fancy ingredients in order to make a healthy meal. So not true.
While I always have the ingredients to whip up a stir-fry, I wanted to challenge myself to think of a not-so-obvious recipe using ingredients that I almost always have on hand. I started by seeing what protein sources I had in the pantry (chickpeas and lentils), fridge (eggs, tofu and yogurt), and freezer (chicken and shrimp). One of the main budget tips I tell my clients is to stock up on proteins when they’re on sale; this way, when an unexpected guest comes over or you run out of time to get to the store that day you’ll have a least one option to work with. As we tend to eat chickpeas, tofu, and chicken pretty much weekly, I decided to go with the shrimp for a change-up. Plus, unlike the chicken, the shrimp can be thawed in just 7 minutes under cold running water.
Now that I had my protein figured out, next up is vegetables. These are another food group that I always have a stash of in the freezer. Ideally, I try to keep a variety of mixed vegetables, frozen kale or spinach, and then corn or carrots (perfect for last-minute soups). Since I had a variety to choose from, I took a step back and tried to think what kind of shrimp recipe I wanted to make. After sorting through my options, I decided to make shrimp and grits – a classic comfort food that would be fun to put a healthier twist on. So for vegetables, I went with frozen kale to stand in for the more traditional collard greens.
On to the pantry for the grits. As I sorted through bulk bags of quinoa, farro, and oats, it hit me: I don’t think I’ve ever bought grits for home. Not wanting to go to the store, I tried to think up what would be an acceptable substitute. It needed to be something light and fluffy without too much chew or nuttiness. The only thing I could think of that would come close is cauliflower rice, and, luckily, I had a bag of frozen cauliflower in my freezer.
The rest of the ingredients are also pantry staples in my house: Cajun seasoning (SO good on eggs), butter, almond milk, salt, and pepper.
While using cauliflower in place of grits already lightens up this recipe quite a bit, I also cut back on the amount of butter used in traditional grits recipes and used almond milk instead of heavy cream (feel free to use soy or cow’s milk if you don’t have/like almond milk).
While I used all frozen ingredients, you can also use fresh shrimp and cauliflower if you prefer.
For anyone meal planning, this recipe is best eaten right away. However, you can cut down on some of the prep time by making your cauliflower grits ahead of time. Then when you go to make this recipe, reheat the grits gently over the stove (or in the microwave) while you prepare the kale and shrimp.
And be sure to check out other Recipe Redux members’ ideas for more healthy recipes using staple kitchen ingredients!
So here’s a toast to not having to go to the store tonight for dinner!
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You are speaking my southern language. Looks delicious!
Thanks Marisa 🙂
Girl this recipe is calling my name. YUM 🙂
So glad you liked 🙂
This is my kind of dinner! Love your idea of using cauliflower as grits!
Looks so good!! I love riced cauliflower!!
Thanks Amee 🙂 It’s so simple to make and I’ve noticed grocery stores are even selling frozen riced cauliflower now to make it even quicker!
Love this an I already have all these ingredients at home! Isn’t it great being forced to use up what we already have at home???
It was a great challenge idea! Definitely something I should be doing more often 😉
Grits are the ultimate comfort food! Love the idea of subbing in cauliflower. Genius!
Thanks Christy 🙂