To celebrate Fat Tuesday, I thought I would put my twist on a Southern classic: Shrimp and Grits. My version of it was more of a "Cajun Chick Peas and Polenta." I am exiting an exam week plus a long weekend that I was out of town for, meaning my pantry and refrigerator are pretty bare right now, so this ended up being the perfect dish to both utilize the pantry staples that I have and use up the last of the fresh ingredients before heading to the grocery store tonight. Not to mention it helped me put off studying for a bit longer, which is always a plus in my book.
It made for a killer dinner last night, and an even more killer lunch today, which I enjoyed outside in a tank top because it is in the 70s in Berkeley today.
|Ok, this picture doesn't actually portray my lunch, I am just showing off how I enjoyed the gorgeous weather today. Ya, I have some tan lines.|
If I had a more fully stocked fridge, I probably would have added more veggies to this dish, and most certainly would have served it with a side of braised collard greens or kale. So that is something I highly encourage you do! But this dish was hard hitting on every note: the acid from the tomatoes, the salt and flavor from the spice mix, the heartiness from the chick peas, and the fat from the cheesy polenta. I have no idea if it is even close to traditional shrimp and grits, for I have never had it... all I know is that it was delicious and definitely something I will be making again, and something I think you should be making too!
Cajun Chick Peas and Grits
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk (mine was vanilla flavored, which I think added to the flavor)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable stock concentrate
- 1 cup corn grits/polenta (not the instant kind)
- olive oil
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 tablespoon italian blend
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 1/2 cup diced tomato (I chopped up an assortment of small heirloom tomatoes)
- 1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup parmigiano cheese
- Bring the water, almond milk, and vegetable stock concentrate to a boil in a large saucepan.
- Slowly whisk in the grits and make sure they are evenly dispersed in the liquid.
- Turn down to a simmer, and let cook for about 30 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.
- In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the green onions, garlic, and spices and sauté for a couple of minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and chick peas.
- Keep the heat at medium-high to let the juices from the tomatoes reduce.
- Turn down to a simmer and let all of it stew together until the grits are done (mmm, stew... my new favorite :-)).
- Once the grits are done, stir in the cheese until it is all creamy.
- Plate a healthy amount of the grits, and spoon the cajun chick peas over it.