Mardi Gras Spicy Datil Pepper Shrimp and Cauliflower Grits with Bacon – A Lean & Green Recipe

Shrimp and Grits. A New Orleans classic dish. “Laissez les bon temps rouler” Let the Good Times Roll! What better way to celebrate than with an updated New Orleans classic, Mardi Gras Spicy Datil Pepper Shrimp and Grits with Bacon? The feast before the fast.  I’ve been cutting carbs recently and have discovered that I can make grits from cauliflower and it’s hard to tell the difference in taste. Honestly, if he hadn’t seen me pulsing the cauliflower in the food processor, I don’t think my husband would have even known the difference. The cauliflower grits were smooth and creamy, with just the right amount of cheesy goodness to counterbalance the luscious spicy shrimp and crispy bacon.

Mardi Gras Spicy Datil Pepper Shrimp and Cauliflower Grits Mardi Gras Spicy Datil Pepper Shrimp and Cauliflower Grits
I know, it’s hard to imagine shrimp and grits without the grits, but once you try these cheesy cauliflower grits you’ll want them again and again. Trust me. It does work. Cauliflower can taste like grits. As a true Southerner, that sounds like heresy. Grits are a huge part of our Southern culture. We moved from Florida to New York City the summer before my 8th-grade year and my mother went crazy trying to find grits. They weren’t to be found in anywhere. She had family sending us care packages of, you guessed it, nothing but grits. When friends and family came to visit us in the Big Apple, mama told them they were welcome to stay as long as they brought a suitcase full of grits. I’m serious. My mama was insistent that we had grits in the house. Breakfast was not breakfast without grits.

Cauliflower versus Grits

Grits versus cauliflower.  Cauliflower versus grits. Cauliflower grits.  Cauliflower grits?  Yes, cauliflower grits do exist.  So let’s compare the two.   1 cup of cooked grits has 109 calories vs 47 calories for an equal amount of cauliflower. The difference in carbohydrates is just as impressive. One cup of grits has 23.11 grams of carbohydrate while cauliflower has a mere 4.28.  The numbers don’t lie. especially if you’re on a Keto diet or counting carbs. I know it works. I’ve been able to lose those extra pounds and keep them off. It’s unbelievable how many carbohydrates are in the foods we eat.

Cauliflower – packed with nutrition

It’s absolutely amazing just how versatile cauliflower can be. A few years ago, I didn’t even like cauliflower, now here I am making cauliflower grits.  Who would have thought it was possible? Cauliflower. It’s trendy. It’s healthy. It’s low carb and gluten-free. A powerhouse of nutrition, cauliflower is rich in vitamins and minerals and contains zero cholesterol. High in fiber, it aids in weight loss and is good for your digestive system. Cauliflower contains a large number of nutrients known as antioxidants which prevent free radicals from oxidizing and causing the destruction of healthy cells in your body. Cauliflower even has an extra level of cancer protection due to flavonoids and carotenoids that have been shown to slow the growth of cancer cells. Cauliflower is great roasted. It’s wonderful in casseroles. It can be made into rice or even into a pizza crust. Just be sure to check the ingredient and nutritional panels carefully if you buy prepackaged or frozen cauliflower as not all brands are alike, and some are loaded with calories and carbs.


Fresh and organic is definitely best when it comes to vegetables, but I’ve found that frozen cauliflower rice without any added ingredients is extremely useful if you are pressed for time, don’t have the right tools to prepare the cauliflower or fresh is not available.

Traditional shrimp and grits recipes from New Orleans include bacon, so I have used it here. You can leave it out if you like, and turkey bacon is acceptable if you are cutting calories and fat. Just make sure it is nice and crispy.

Mardi Gras Traditions

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, but it’s quite a memorable experience. For several joyous weeks before Lent, there are parades of elaborately costumed men and women streaming through the streets with beads and other goodies being thrown off the floats to the screaming crowds. And the parties are amazing. Mardi Gras Balls are held with true Southern style. They’re extremely dressy expensive affairs by special invitation only. New Orleans and all of Louisiana for that matter is one big party. It spills over into Mississippi and Alabama as well. Everyone loves a good party, and Mardi Gras is a great excuse. There’s a parade in every town. Lots of drinking and eating going on. Food. Seafood. Spicy undertones. Delicious Cajun French cuisine is high on everyone’s mind. I am a spicy food kind of girl, so Cajun cooking is right up my alley. I lived in South Mississippi for several years, and miss the proximity to all New Orleans has to offer, especially in the way of diverse food.

The history of Mardi Gras is fascinating. “Mardi Gras is a Christian holiday and popular cultural phenomenon that dates back thousands of years to pagan spring and fertility rites. Also known as Carnival or Carnaval, it’s celebrated in many countries around the world—mainly those with large Roman Catholic populations—on the day before the religious season of Lent begins. Brazil, Venice and New Orleans play host to some of the holiday’s most famous public festivities, drawing thousands of tourists and revelers every year.”

Mardi Gras in America began on March 3, 1699, when French explorers Sieur de Bienville and Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville landed at what they named Point du Mardi Gras, south what is now known as New Orleans. Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday. Lent is traditionally a time for Christians to fast, so Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of Lent, represents the ritual of using up all the fattening foods in the home in preparation for the 40 days of fasting leading up to Easter.

Datil Chipotle Steak Blend

datil chipotle steak blend 3 ozOSA Gourmet Datil Chipotle Steak Blend

OSA Gourmet Datil Chipotle Steak Blend is a unique combination of spices combining the smoky flavor of chipotle peppers and smoked paprika with fruity datil peppers, sea salt, garlic, and onion. All-natural, no preservatives or additives, Datil Chipotle is heart-healthy and delicious. Datil peppers from St Augustine, Florida are fruity with latent heat. If you’re interested in more information about datil peppers, check out my blog on “DATIL PEPPER? WHAT’S A DATIL PEPPER?” Although it says steak blend on the label, Datil Chipotle is extremely versatile. It adds a wonderful spicy smoked flavor to this shrimp and cauliflower grits recipe.

Fountain of Youth Datil Marinade

OSA Gourmet Fountain of Youth Datil Marinade is the winner of 3 prestigious hot and spicy awards. It won in the mild division at the World Hot Sauce Awards 2 years in a row and also won at the International Flavor Awards. Named after the famed Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, Florida, this unique marinade features 6 fruits that add a punch of flavor to meats, vegetables, seafood and more. I even use it as a dressing on green salads. No high-fructose corn syrup here. It blends raisins, orange juice, mango, white grapefruit juice, key lime, and pineapple to add sweetness and tang that you don’t get with any other marinade. It’s custom blended to work with all of my other datil pepper products. Just a small amount really makes these shrimp shine. You’ll find numerous ways to use this distinctive marinade because it’s extremely versatile. It’s much more than just a marinade. It won’t make you any younger, but I can promise it will bring new life to everything you use it on. It elevates his Spicy Datil Pepper Shrimp and Cauliflower Grits recipe to another level. It will be the life of the party.
OSA Gourmet Fountain of Youth Datil MarinadeOSA Gourmet Fountain of Youth Datil Marinade
Mardi Gras Spicy Shrimp and Cauliflower Grits with BaconMardi Gras Spicy Shrimp and Cauliflower Grits with Bacon made with OSA Gourmet Fountain of Youth Datil Marinade and Datil Chipotle Steak Blend
Buy the freshest shrimp possible. I’m fortunate here in Florida to have access to shrimp right off the boats nearly year-round. I know from living in other parts of the country, however, that not everyone is so lucky. Frozen shrimp will work fine here, just thaw them carefully, pat them dry to remove any excess water, and make sure to remove all the shells. You can leave the tails on for this dish, it makes the presentation prettier, but it’s messier to eat that way. It’s up to you. Served with a small green salad and a glass of chardonnay you’re ready for a Mardi Gras Celebration worthy of any of the best restaurants in New Orleans. I admit, I missed the French bread, but it doesn’t fit the healthier lifestyle I’ve adopted. I definitely don’t miss the pounds and inches I’ve lost by lightening up my meals and making more Lean & Green Recipes.
Mardi Gras Spicy Shrimp and Cauliflower Grits with Bacon

Mardi Gras Spicy Datil Pepper Shrimp and Cauliflower Grits with Bacon

Prep Time: 25-30 Minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 Minutes
Serves: 2 Main Course servings
Calories: 350
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Cuisine Seafood, Vegetables
Servings 2
Calories 350 kcal



  • 2 cups frozen cauliflower rice If using fresh cauliflower, you will need about 2 cups of cauliflower rice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or water
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted light butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon OSA Gourmet Datil Chipotle Steak Blend or salt to taste
  • 2 oz low-fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  • 2 strips of turkey bacon cooked till crisp, then crumbled (Optional)
  • 12 large shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 2 teaspoons OSA Gourmet Datil Chipotle Steak Blend
  • 1 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil or unsalted light butter
  • 4 Tablespoons OSA Gourmet Fountain of Youth Datil Marinade
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley minced
  • *For an even spicier shrimp experience add a few drops – or more – of one of our award-winning OSA Gourmet Datil Pepper Hot Sauces
  • Snake Bite Venom, Stinging Lizard or Death Angel



  • Pulse frozen cauliflower rice in a food processor until it is finely ground. If there is any moisture in the cauliflower, pat dry.
  • a. If using fresh cauliflower, separate into small florets and using blade attachment of food processor, pulse until they are very small grains.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add in the cauliflower and milk.
  • Bring the cauliflower mixture to a simmer, stirring often so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Cook cauliflower grits for 10-15 minutes or until creamy.
  • Season with OSA Gourmet Datil Chipotle Steak Blend or salt if desired and stir in cream cheese and cheddar cheese and stir until all the cheese is melted.
  • Remove from heat and cover pot to keep warm while cooking shrimp.


  • Place shrimp into a medium bowl. Sprinkle OSA Gourmet Datil Chipotle Steak Blend over the shrimp. Toss shrimp in seasoning until evenly coated. Let shrimp marinate for at least 10 minutes.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the butter or olive oil. (I use my grandmother’s cast-iron skillet.)
  • When oil or butter is hot, add in the shrimp. spacing them out as a single layer making sure all shrimp are touching the surface of the skillet.
  • Cook for about 2 minutes on each side.
  • Add OSA Gourmet Fountain of Youth Datil Marinade and the garlic. Cook for 1-2 more minutes to heat up marinade and garlic.
  • Remove from stove and serve immediately.

To Serve:

  • Stir cauliflower grits and divide between 2 bowls. Top with the shrimp and marinade and bacon pieces if desired. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.
  • New Orleans tradition includes crispy French bread with lots of real butter. As much as I love the bread – and New Orleans French bread is definitely the best – I refrained. Carbs, carbs and more carbs. Feel free to add a crusty loaf of bread to round out this delicious meal, if you are so inclined.


Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Serves 2, calories: 350 | carbohydrates: 10g | protein: 30g | fat: 16g | saturated fat: 5g | cholesterol: 306mg | sodium: 1011mg | potassium: 577mg | fiber: 3g, sugar: 4g |calcium: 394mg | net carbs: 7g
Optavia: 1 Lean, 2 Gren, 2 Healthy Fat, 3 Condiment
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
*The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. For accurate nutritional information, calculate using the exact ingredients you use as brands vary in their nutritional values. Please consult your doctor for any questions or concerns you have about dietary restrictions.
Keyword Cauliflower, Cauliflower grits, Datil Pepper, Fountain of Youth Datil Marinade, Garlic, Gourmet Datil Garlic, Lean & Green Recipe, Low-carb, Mardi Gras Recipe, OSA Gourmet, OSA Gourmet, Shrimp

Stay Spicy!


Prep Time: 25-30 Minutes

Cook Time: 15-20 Minutes

Serves: 2 Main Course servings

Calories: 350

Products Used

datil chipotle steak blend 3 oz
fountain of youth datil pepper marinade 12 oz
venom datil pepper hot sauce 5 oz