This post has been a long time coming. Thank you for being patient. I promise, by the end of this short intro, you’ll be happy.
Shrimps and grits. It’s been requested a few times. Times a hundred. And while I’ve know all along that I could conquer this high sodium recipe — with its typical cheese and shrimps and salty spices — I wanted to do it perfectly. Without the shrimps. Without the cheese. And without the sodium. But with all the creamy, smoky, succulent flavors that you’re looking for. I wanted to create something that would not only satisfy your cravings, but be worthy of your next brunch or dinner party. I wanted to make something special.
So I waited until I had time and clarity. Until there was no more Thanksgiving, or Passover, or Heart Health Month to meddle with. I waited for a day when I could commit completely to making over those Shrimps and Grits. And that day finally arrived.
On that day, I asked my oven if it was free and then I invited some sweet potatoes and cherry tomatoes to come over and play. I grabbed a handful (or three) of gritty, yellow cornmeal from my cupboard (because you should ALWAYS have some on hand). And I made sure I had a cup-full of FAGE Greek yogurt in the fridge (because you should ALWAYS have some in the fridge). Then I got to work. And guess what? Those Shrimps and Grits got that makeover. And they liked it.
Say hello to Sweets and Grits. Your new best friend. I think you’ll really like each other.
With a good rub down of oil; a spice mix of smoked paprika, cumin, chipotle powder, black pepper, and garlic powder; and a roast in the oven, your grits won’t even miss the shrimps. They’ll even ask you where sweet potatoes and cherry tomatoes have been hiding all this time.
Meanwhile, that FAGE yogurt will take care of the rest. After cooking up your gritty grits as you normally would (see: recipe below), simply dump a cup of the good stuff into the grits. Watch it melt and ooze and marble the yellow grits with cool creamy swirls.
Than lay a healthy pile of it on a plate, where it will melt a bit more. Top with your spiced sweets and tomatoes. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, like chives or parsley if you have some on hand. Give it a sprinkle of chili pepper flakes or a squeeze of lime too if you want to get wild.
And that’s it. Sweets and Grits. Simple, juicy, creamy, scrumptious, goody goody, yum yum. I’m so glad we made this.
SWEETS AND GRITS
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
- 1/4 tsp salt-free garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp frshly ground black pepper
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Vegetable oil
- 1 medium sweet potato, washed and peeled
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups orange juice
- 1 cup yellow stone ground grits (aka polenta)
- 1 cup FAGE Greek Yogurt
- Chopped fresh herbs (chives, parsley, dill) for sprinkling
To begin, heat your oven to 375 dgF.
While it gets hot, mix your spices in a small bowl. Then, chop your sweet potato into 1-inch-thick rounds and then cut them in half, so you have a bunch of half-moon sweet potato chunks. (These are your shrimp impersonators. Introduce yourself and make nice).
Then, in a medium bowl, mix the sweet potato chunks with a few tablespoons of vegetable oil until they are nice and slick. Sprinkle in your spices with one hand while you toss the now greased-up sweet potatoes with the other hand, making sure the spices are equally distributed. Set aside and wash your paws.
When the oven is ready, place the spicy sweet potatoes and your cherry tomatoes in a non-stick (or greased) baking sheet, in a single layer. If they are mixed up, though, that is totally fine. Don’t worry.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and let the veggies roast for 35 – 40 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time, though, give them a good stir so nothing sticks to or burns on the pan.
With about 15 minutes of cooking time left, it is time to start your grits. Bring the water and orange juice to a boil in a large pot. Add the grits and stir or whisk constantly to prevent clumping. Lower heat and continue stirring until the liquid is absorbed. It should take about 12 – 15 minutes. But do follow directions on packaging as different polenta brands have different cooking times. Taste the polenta and add more water if it seems too gritty or dry.
Remove your sweet potatoes and tomatoes from the oven and set aside. Add the Greek yogurt to your grits and continue swirling and cooking for 5 more minutes.
Finally, scoop generous spoonfuls of polenta on a plate or bowl. Place the sweet potatoes and cherry tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with herbs. Provide a spoon. Enjoy.
+ Sodium Count: Sweet potato: 72mg per medium sweet potato; Cherry tomatoes: 7mg per cup; Plain Greek yogurt: 60mg per 6-ounce container, depending on brand