Valentine’s Day is approaching and I’ve been thinking about date night dinners. With a newborn, date night often has to happen at home. Really though, a home cooked meal is sometimes the coziest way to enjoy a night with your special someone. When cooking at home for a date, I want to relax with a glass of wine and spend time with the hubs, so an overly complex recipe isn’t on the menu. This recipe for shrimp and grits is a favorite in our house. It’s rich, creamy, and perfectly balanced with just a hint of smoky spice. To add a some lightness to the meal, I pair it with a simple kale salad. If you’ve ever had Whole Foods pre-made salad bar, this kale salad is similar to theirs– so yummy!
Stone-ground grits are one of the keys to really good shrimp and grits in my opinion. Stone-ground grits are coarser than other types of grits. They are produced the old-fashioned way, by grinding with a water-turned stone. Personally, I really enjoy the texture of these grits. However, they can be more difficult to find. You can sub in regular grits (also known as polenta) for this recipe if you’d like. Either way, if you’ve never been a grits fan or only enjoyed them for breakfast, I think it’d be worth giving this recipe a try. I just might get you hooked on this easy, delicious dish.
Gluten Free Creamy Shrimp and Grits
(makes 2-4 servings)
Ingredients for Shrimp & Grits:
- 1 c stone ground white corn grits, I use trader joe’s brand^ (Regular grits* will work fine too)
- 2 ½ c chicken or vegetable stock (water can be used if you don’t have stock)
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp grassfed butter
- ¾ c milk of choice (I use almond milk)
- ⅓ c organic white cheddar, shredded
- 3-4 slices of bacon, chopped into small pieces
- ½ lb raw shrimp, peeled, deveined
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp paprika
- Green onion, garnish
- Dried parsley, garnish
Ingredients for Kale Salad:
- 1 kale bunch
- ¼ c dried cranberries
- 3 tbsp crumbled goat cheese
- ¼ c slivered almonds
- 2 tbsp avocado oil (or olive oil)
- 1 tbsp balsamic Vinegar
- Salt & pepper to taste
Remove kale from stem and rip into small pieces. Pour oil over and massage until completely covered, set aside.
Combine grits, stock, salt, garlic, and butter in a saucepan over med-high heat and bring to a low boil. Allow to boil for 2-3 minutes stirring frequently, then cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Stirring on occasion so the grits don’t stick.
While grits simmer, cook chopped bacon on med until crispy, place on paper towel. Using the same pan with bacon grease, add shrimp on med-low season with chili powder, cumin, paprika, plus a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until opaque, then set aside.
To finish salad, add cranberries, goat cheese, almonds, vinegar, salt and pepper to kale and mix well. Store in fridge until ready to serve.
Once timer goes off for the grits, add milk and cheese, then cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Portion grits in bowls top with bacon, shrimp, green onion, and sprinkle with parsley.
^Different brands of stone-ground grits have different cooking times, some taking up to 60 minutes so I would double check the cooking time on the package directions to ensure the alloted 30 minutes in my recipe will be enough.
*If using regular grits, cook time can be reduced by 5-7 minutes, stone ground take a bit longer.
To make dairy free, omit cheddar cheese (or replace with a non-dairy substitute, I recommend this brand), also omit butter and reduce stock/water to 2 ¼ cups.
photography by Chase Daniel