Spiced Cauliflower and Cheese Grits

This recipe is my vegetarian version of Shrimp and Grits.  Shrimp isn’t my thing, but a big bowl of cheese grits topped with seasoned cauliflower and veggie bacon?? Yes please!
The cauliflower is marinated in smoked paprika and cayenne, and the vegetarian bacon brings the flavors to life. I used Upton Naturals Bacon Seitan (found in the vegan case), but you can also use your favorite brand. Add a quick lemony sautéed kale side and you’ve got yourself a meal!
This meal is so tasty, satisfying, and also a wonderful value, at less than $20 to feed a family of four.

2 Tbls avocado oil or favorite cooking oil, divided (pantry)
2 tsp smoked paprika plus extra dash for garnish (pantry)
½ tsp garlic powder (pantry)
½ tsp salt (pantry)
½ tsp cayenne (pantry)
½ head of cauliflower chopped small, about 4 cups ($3.00)
1 red bell pepper, diced small ($2.00)
1 small onion, diced small ($1.00)
3 oz vegetarian bacon, roughly sliced ($2.35)
1 bunch kale roughly chopped ($2.50)
1 lemon, juice of (1.00)
1 cup bulk Earth Fare grits ($0.70)
2 cups Earth Fare vegetable stock ($1.00)
2 cups Earth Fare milk ($1.00) *whole or 2% recommended
1/3 pound Earth Fare mild cheddar cheese, shredded ($2.70) *found in specialty
3 tbls unsalted butter ($0.50)


1)    Place chopped cauliflower in a large bowl and toss well with 1 Tbls oil, I used my hands to make sure they were coated well. Mix together your paprika, garlic powder, salt and cayenne in a small bowl and toss well with your cauliflower. Set aside.
2)    In a medium saucepan, bring stock and milk to a boil, slowly whisk in your grits so they won’t clump, and bring to a low simmer. Cook grits for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so they won’t stick. Take off the heat and stir in your grated cheddar cheese until it melts, then add your butter. Set aside.
3)    In a large sauté pan, heat up your other 1 Tbls of oil and toss in your bell pepper and onion stirring for about 3 minutes. Next add your seasoned cauliflower and vegetarian bacon. Cook on medium low an additional 5 – 10 minutes, or until your cauliflower is how you like it. (I cooked mine for about 5 minutes, but I like a little crunch. Cook for another 5 minutes if you like your cauliflower softer)
4)    In a medium saucepan toss your kale with your lemon juice and cook for about 2 minutes. You want it to just start to wilt.
5)    Serve your cauliflower mixture over the cheese grits, with a side serving of kale. Garnish with more paprika and a dash of salt.

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About the Author

Claudia Laffin

Claudia Laffin is a food photographer and owner of The Traveling Spoon Personal Chef, serving clients in and around Asheville, North Carolina. She has been a health food advocate and natural lifestyle follower for over 20 years. During that time she enjoyed working in numerous stores in the health food industry, including Earth Fare! Claudia’s desire to bring health food to more people motivated her to start her personal chef business. She loves cooking healthy, organic, non processed and delicious food for busy families in their own homes and helping them find a path to a healthier life. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram to see what new things she’s cooking up!