This is a spin on shrimp and grits, a Cajun favorite, using Cajun-spiced baby bell peppers and black beans piled on top of cheesy cauliflower grits.
Cauliflower rice is my new thing. And since I'm trying to be grain-free for a month (1 week down, 3 to go!), it's been a great substitute in some favorite dishes.
This is my latest tinkering with cauliflower rice, and it rocks!
This dish comes together in under 30 minutes, making it a great weeknight dinner, it works well for a crowd too. If you like to grill, throw the peppers on the grill using a grill basket instead of roasting them in the oven.
And if you like a little more heat, add a couple of jalapeño peppers to the mix.
Either way, you can make it all ahead of time, and just assemble and warm up before serving.
Cajun Spice Mix
Either use you favorite store-bought spice mix, or make your own. The recipe I use is based on this one.
Baby peppers are just the right size for this dish. I purchase them at my market in bags. Just trim off the tops, slice in half, and remove any pith with a sharp knife.
If you don't see a bag of the baby peppers, then use regular - sized ones and slice them down to smaller pieces. I slice down the globes, so I can still have them shaped like a scoop.
Using a mixture of colors makes this dish more festive.
Tips for Making Cauliflower Rice
Full confession: I've been so busy lately, I've been using frozen bags of cauliflower rice. But you can easily make your own. There are at least 3 approaches. (1) Grate a head of cauliflower using the largest holes on a box grater; (2) slice a cauliflower into 2"- pieces and use the grater attachment for a food processor, or (3) just throw them into the bowl of the food processor and break them down that way. I don't tend to use #3 as much, as cooked cauliflower is easy to over-process and wind up as a sauce or something resembling mashed potatoes.
Tips for Making Cauliflower Grits
Once I steam the cauliflower rice, I add it to the smallest bowl of the food processor fitted with a small blade, along with the other ingredients for the grits and pulse until I have the grits consistency I want. I tried my powerful blender in various sized containers, and even tried using the immersible blender. Trust me, the smallest bowl of a food processor is by far the fastest and easiest way to go.
If you have an air fryer, you might want to check out these Air Fryer Bell Peppers with Basil and Feta for a great appetizer or side dish of bell peppers.
Cajun Peppers and Cauliflower 'Grits'
Cajun-Spiced Peppers and Beans
- 8 baby bell peppers
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided, plus more to drizzle at the end
- 2 teaspoons Cajun spice divided
- 1 cup cooked black beans
Cheesy Cauliflower 'Grits'
- 1 12- ounce bag frozen cauliflower rice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons Half & Half
- ¼ cup grated Monterey Jack cheese or other melty cheese
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup roasted pumpkin seeds
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
- Preheat the oven to 425˚F.
- Slice the baby peppers in half, remove the stems and seeds, and trim away any remaining pith. Arrange on a baking sheet, with the scooped out sides facing up, and massage with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the spice over them. Roast for 15 minutes, or until softened. Alternatively, if you have an air fryer, you can cook them using this Air Fryer Bell Peppers recipe.
- Toss the black beans with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1 teaspoon spice. Feel free to warm them up, although I didn't find it necessary.
- Place a steam basket in a medium pot, and add enough water to the pot that the water level comes to just below the basket. Bring to a boil, and add the frozen cauliflower rice to the basket. Cover and steam for 10 minutes, or until softened.
- Add the steamed cauliflower to the smallest bowl of a food processor along with all of the other ingredients for the Cauliflower Grits. Place the top on, and pulse several times until you have the grits consistency you want.
- Place the grits on a serving plate, and top with the beans and roasted peppers. Add a flurry of roasted pumpkin seeds and either parsley or cilantro before serving.
Megan @ MegUnprocessed
This is such a great idea! I never thought to use cauliflower rice. I've got to try this!
These sound so amazing! I love the flavors!