Vegan shrimp and grits is a recipe that just a few years ago would have seemed impossible to accomplish. Now, with plant-based seafood alternatives, just about anything is possible! Lemony plant-based shrimp are nestled into vegan cheese grits for a surprising weekend breakfast or brunch treat.
The original recipe is heart-stopping! Poking around to find out more about the actual seafood-based version of this dish, I learned that it delivers a whopping amount of cholesterol and fat (averaging 38 grams of fat per serving). This version has zero cholesterol and a fraction of the fat.
Plant-based shrimp brands: There are a small but growing number of companies dedicated to creating alternatives seafood, to counteract the harmful practices of this industry to the oceans and their inhabitants. The shrimp industry is extremely problematic, both from the perspectives of bycatch and worker exploitation.
The plant-based shrimp used in these photos are the breaded variety of the Sophie’s Kitchen brand. Other brands include New Wave, All Veggie Vegan Seafood & Meats, and Be Leaf (though the latter seems to come only in a bulk package).
See more about the various Plant-Based Seafood Alternatives — not just shrimp, but also fish filets, crab cakes, and more — all vegan!
Recipe adapted from Plant-Powered Protein: 125 Recipes for Using Today’s Amazing Meat Alternatives © 2020 by Nava Atlas. Reprinted by permission. Photographs by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
- 1 cup grits or polenta cornmeal, preferable stone-ground
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1 cup vegan cheddar or pepperjack shreds
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 to 10-ounce package plant-based vegan shrimp (breaded or plain)
- 4 to 5 strips vegan bacon (tempeh-based or other), cut into small bits. optional
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 small tomatoes, diced
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Bring 4 cups of water to a gentle simmer. Slowly drizzle in the grits, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Cook gently over low heat for 20 to 25 minutes, or until tender and thick, stirring occasionally. Or follow package instructions, as can vary from one brand to another.
- Heat the oil in a skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the shrimp, optional vegan bacon, and garlic, and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until all are touched with golden brown.
- Stir in the tomatoes and scallions, and continue to sauté for just a minute or two longer, until both are slightly wilted. Drizzle in the lemon juice.
- When the grits are done, stir in the vegan butter and cheese. Cook for another minute or two, until the cheese is fairly well melted. Season with salt.
- Distribute the grits among four wide shallow bowls and top with the shrimp mixture. Serve at once.
Variation: Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels to the grits.
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