Shrimp and Grits with Kale Chips

January 17, 2011

Why in the world did it take me so long to try kale chips?!

I’ve seen them all over food blogs and kept thinking – oh, I need to try those at some point – but just never got around to it.

My husband did the grocery shopping last week and I had kale on the list. While I’d much rather buy local kale in the bunch this time of year, well, that just isn’t happening. The second choice, supermarket kale by the bunch, has looked awful lately. So he picked up one of those monster bags of chopped kale.

At first I thought, what in the world am I going to do with all this before it goes bad? I mean, I like kale, but that is A LOT of kale. Then I remembered kale chips. Perfect solution.

If you haven’t made them, it is so easy. Spread your chopped kale out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.

There you go. Crispy, smoky little vegetable chips. Amazing that a veggie turns into such a great salty snack. We practically ate them all off the pan before dinner.

I picked up some locally ground grits from a festival a while back and I’ve had shrimp and grits on my mind. Once I had the kale chips I knew right away they would provide the perfect way to add a dark leafy green to this southern staple. The crispy green leaves add a crunchy texture and smoky flavor to the shrimp and creamy, cheesy grits.

Shrimp and Grits with Kale Chips

3 cups chopped kale leaves
1 cup dry grits
4 cups water
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and prepare kale as described above. Lay it out on a baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 15 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, bring the 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the grits and stir often until it reaches a porridge-like consistency, about 20 minutes. Stir in the cheese until mixed well. Add salt and pepper to taste, if you desire.

While the grits are cooking, heat the olive oil over medium-high in a skillet. Add the garlic, cook one minute.
Add the shrimp and cook until they turn opaque, or a whitish, pink color. Sprinkle in the paprika, red pepper, salt and black pepper.

To serve, divide the grits into 4 bowls. Top with ¼ of the shrimp. Layer on kale chips to your taste. Serves 4.

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  • Mindy January 17, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Lovely…I’ll have to try the kale chips next time I make grits! 🙂

  • kat January 17, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Wow, what a great idea, that crunch is just what shrimp & grits needs

  • emily (a nutritionist eats) January 17, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    How did you combine so many of my favorite things into one dish?!?!

  • Chow and Chatter January 17, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    wow what an amazing shrimp and grits and amazing topping

  • TasteHongKong January 18, 2011 at 4:59 am

    Lovely combo, and you have made them look stylish on the plate.

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  • Fresh Local and Best January 18, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Kale chips are a revelation! It’s surprising how something so simple could be so good! I like the idea of using them as a topping on this traditional Southern meal. It covers all of the food groups.

  • Kim January 18, 2011 at 2:59 pm


    This looks amazing! I love grits!!

  • Anna January 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    I had kale chips in a restaurant here in LA, but I was dreading the deep frying thing. I didn’t know that baking them would work too. Great recipe Lori, the shrimp also look delicious.

  • 5 Star Foodie January 18, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    I love the contrast in textures between the creamy grits and the crispy kale chips in this dish, excellent!

  • Juliana January 18, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Lori, nice combination, shrimps, grit and kale. specially in chips 🙂 Great meal!

  • Marianne (frenchfriestoflaxseeds) January 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    While kale chips are something you had always wanted to give a go, shrimp and grits is something I’d love to try, but always forget about. It seems so quintessentially Southern, and yet not so unlike many of our seafood dishes up here 🙂

  • OysterCulture January 23, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    The recipe sounds super delicious and love the way it just rolls of the tongue. I cannot wait to give it a try. I do not make nearly enough grits and I just love the sound of this combination. I feel like I am in a bit of a culinary rut and this is just what I need to climb out.