Shrimp & Oatmeal “Grits”

Okay, bear with me on this one. I love Southern Comfort food – like biscuits, fried chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits…basically anything with butter and carbs – but when you’re trying to keep it healthy, those dishes don’t really make the cut. 

 

I typically get my best inspiration as I’m falling asleep or in the middle of the night, but this idea came at a more acceptable (but still early) hour. It started out easy enough – I used almond milk in my breakfast oats instead of water, and the creamy texture struck me. For some reason, I thought of the creamy, buttery grits that I always gravitate towards at Southern-style restaurants, and I figured it was worth a shot.

I’m always flip-flopping my opinion of imitation recipes, e.g. when people try to make a burger out of tempeh, or my personal favorite “zucchini noodles.” There isn’t much rhyme or reason to which of these recipes I find acceptable and which ones I hate (aka tempeh), but I ultimately do enjoy making a healthy version of something with minor tweaks. In the case of this shrimp and grits recipe, the only thing that’s changing is I swap gluten free oats for grits. Otherwise, the recipe is chock full of shrimp, sausage, veggies, and cajun spices.


Cajun Shrimp and Oatmeal Grits

Servings: 2 (easily can scale up)
Cost per serving: $4-5

Ingredients

  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch asparagus, sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 10-12 medium shrimp (I buy the frozen kind – peeled, deveined, tail off)
  • 2 fully cooked chicken sausages, sliced
  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 cup GF oats
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced (optional)
  • Spice blend: cayenne pepper, paprika, red pepper flakes, chili powder, basil, salt, pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle 1 tsp olive oil on tomatoes and asparagus, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet; bake for 10-15 minutes, or until soft (I like to get a bit of a crisp on them).
  2. Pat shrimp dry with a paper towel. Season with spice blend.
  3. Heat 2 tsp oil in a large skillet on medium heat; add garlic and stir until fragrant (30-60 secs.) Add shrimp, arrange in a single layer. Let cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until shrimps are white. Add chicken sausage slices, stir for 5-6 minutes more.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare oatmeal. Full disclosure: I like to just microwave mine according to the package directions vs. dirtying up a saucepan – your call. If I’m making a serving for lunch the next day, I bring the oats/milk with me and make the oatmeal in my office kitchen so it’s fresh – also up to you! Let the oats absorb the milk.
  5. Add tomatoes, asparagus, and black beans to the skillet, tossing to incorporate. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Spoon half the mixture over half a bowl of oatmeal. Top with scallions if desired.

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