Shrimp & Grits with Cilantro Sauce


We just spent a glorious week in the Florida panhandle. It was absolutely some of the most beautiful, sandy-white beaches and turquoise water I’ve ever seen! And the local cuisine gave all that beauty a run for it’s money.

Almost every dinner spot had some sort of Caribbean or Cuban inspired flair; tons of grits, tomatoes, grilled fruits and cilantro. Along with gobs of pepper, dairy and other varieties of corn right alongside the grits! So naturally I set out to re-create some of these gorgeous dishes in an AIP worthy manner!

 You guys, this is no joke. That cilantro sauce plus those “grits” are presently making my world go ‘round. The sauce is flavorful and spicy all on it’s own, without using any peppers! And the grits are creamy while still holding onto that “gritty” texture….even though it’s a cauliflower and coconut substitute. So no worries about getting a hold of something that may set your tummy back!

I’ll be working on a few other AIP versions of those gorgeous dishes from the gulf…in the meantime, I hope you enjoy this one as much as we did!

Yield: 3-4

Shrimp & Grits with Cilantro Sauce

prep time: 15 Mcook time: 30 Mtotal time: 45 M
A grain, dairy, pepper and nightshade free version of the Caribbean classic!


  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder, to taste
Cilantro Sauce
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 green onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp sea salt to taste
  • 4 strips uncured bacon, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 green onions, white portions sliced
  • Cilantro Sauce (above)


How to cook Shrimp & Grits with Cilantro Sauce

For the Grits
  1. In a food processor, pulse cauliflower until it’s riced.
  2. Transfer to a pot on the stovetop. Add the remaining ingredients and cook over warm heat until cauliflower is soft and begins to be slightly mashable.
  3. Use an immersion blender briefly to slightly puree the cauliflower, leaving it slightly “gritty” to give it a nice creamy grits texture.
For the Cilantro Sauce
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
For the Shrimp & Serving Instructions
  1. Place the bacon in a skillet. Cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy. Remove the bacon to a plate and set aside, leaving the fat in the skillet.
  2. Toss the shrimp with the sea salt and garlic powder.
  3. Add the shrimp to the bacon fat and cook over medium heat. When the shrimp begins to turn pink, add the onion.
  4. When the onion begins to soften, add the bacon pieces.
  5. If a lot of shrimp juices have gathered in the pan, pour off the excess.
  6. Reserve 2 tbsp of the cilantro sauce and pour the remainder over the shrimp.
  7. Combine well and simmer for just a few minutes.
  8. Plate by layering the grits and shrimp mixture, then garnish as needed with extra sauce, green onions and bacon.
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