Grits a Ya Ya

I saw the photo of this dish on Pinterest and it looked so dang yummy, I knew I had to try and make it vegetarian. And I did. And it’s yummy. 🙂 I looked for vegetarian shrimp at Wegmans, but they were out of the “naked” shrimp, so my only other option was breaded. Not ideal, but it still worked. It took a LONG time for my grits to not be “gritty”. I had to add additional liquid and keep stirring. Also, my sauce was ready way before my grits were, so I had to add additional liquid to that, too, and it ended up being too runny. But it still tasted fantastic! Next time I would leave out the mushrooms, or chop them up. Husband said this tasted like a dish you would have at a very fancy restaurant. It was SO good, but very rich, so no one had seconds. Really good, though! NOTE: for my “shrimp”, I just pan-fried them.

rating: 9.4

Grits a Ya Ya

time needed: 50 min.


2 cups vegetable broth
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup evaporated milk [or regular milk]
1 cup of old fashioned grits
4 TBSP unsalted butter
¼ lb gouda cheese, freshly grated

for the sauce:

¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup evaporated milk
2 TBSP butter
3 TBSP minced onion
½ tbsp minced garlic [approx. 2 cloves]
1 cup spinach, chopped or torn
1 cup portobello mushroom, chopped or sliced
2 TBSP green onion, chopped
salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste
a drizzle of oil, for sauteing

for the shrimp (I used vegetarian shrimp):

½ pound shrimp, peeled and deveined [tail on or off – up to you!]
cayenne pepper
garlic powder
salt, to taste

Top with extra chopped green onion and a pinch of red pepper flakes


As a quick note before you start: having everything prepped and ready to toss together ahead of time will save time. You can also multitask by starting the grits first and, while they cook, whip up the sauce and shrimp. This way they’ll all be done around the same time so you can plate it all up and dig in!
First bring vegetable broth to a boil in medium-sized pot.
At a rolling boil, add in grits and stir constantly [this doubles as an arm workout – score!]
Reduce heat to lowest setting and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When the grits start to soak up the broth, add in the evaporated milk and stir.
Once their time is just about up, fold in the butter and heavy cream.
Lastly add the grated gouda and stir thoroughly until smooth and creamy.
While the grits are simmering away, bring a large non-stick pan to medium heat and saute the white/yellow onion and garlic in a teeny drizzle of your favorite healthy oil, taking care not to burn the garlic.
Once tender, add in butter, mushrooms, and shrimp and saute until the shrimp are just barely opaque before scooping out the shrimp and setting them aside. This way when you add the shrimp back to the pan they can continue cooking without overcooking. You can also choose to simply saute the shrimp at the very end, if desired!
After removing the shrimp, add spinach, green onion, and heavy cream and allow it to simmer while you stir to reduce the sauce.
Once it reaches desired thickness, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and a dash of hot sauce, to taste.
Pour sauce into a bowl and add a drizzle of oil to your now-empty pan.
Turn up the heat and finish cooking the shrimp, seasoning it with garlic powder, cayenne, parsley and salt, if desired.
Ready to eat? Spoon the sauce and shrimp onto heaping mounds of the cheese grits and top with chopped green onion and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

photo 3

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