Grain Free Corn-y Grits with Quick Tomato Sauce

I love coming through for my friends. Not that I don’t do so anyway.

One of the most popular recipes I get asked about on this blog is my goat cheese polenta. It is so delicious and creamy and the perfect way to pack on a little comfort as the weather starts to chill. I have gotten a ton of e-mails about how to modify polenta for various diets. Most of the time, these changes are super easy. Vegan? No goat cheese! Gluten free? It’s naturally gluten free! But grain free or paleo? That proved a little bit difficult to come up with an instant answer.

Well, until now!

I just want everyone to feel super cozy as Fall comes around. In case it has not been apparent, Fall is my favorite time of the year. In DC, it stays warm until November which means actually cute Halloween costumes and apple picking without my hands getting frozen.  Plus all the spices and goodies that come around during the fall time make just want to shout to the heavens! Yes!

This dish is also very timely because my life has been a little crazy lately. Whenever things get crazy, I love meals that are quick, warming, and can feed me all week long. Plus, food in bowls is my type of comfort food. It is wrap yourself up in a sweater type food.

And I am all about sharing the love.

Now, let’s talk about these grits! I know this maybe doesn’t LOOK the best. But I swear, it is one of those dishes that I legitimately lick the bowl after I am done. I would know from experience. It was that good. Normally, this only happens for me with carb-y deliciousness, so I was legitimately shocked when I responded this way to a bowl of creamy veggies.

So what do we have going on here? Well, first, we have the cauliflower rice base. If you haven’t riced your own cauliflower before, it could not be easier and more cost effective. I use my favorite food processor and add the cauliflower into batches. Just a little pulse pulse pulse and you are on your way. It could seriously not be easier.

Then, just cook that cauliflower down with nutritional yeast, coconut milk, fresh corn, and a pinch of paprika. The result is a creamy dreamy and grain free corn-y deliciousness that screams fall in a bowl. Now, you can top this goodness with anything that you would normally top polenta with. Think mushrooms, spinach, grilled eggplant, or zucchini. However, with it being the end of summer and all, I am making a quick tomato pan sauce with some juicy heirlooms. Don’t you just love this time of year with all the mixing and mingling going on? Yeah I do too!

So go on, and snuggle in front of the fire with this bad boy. I will for sure be watching the greatest fall movie of all time with endless amounts of plaid. Loving the sound of that.

Yields 4

Grain Free Corn-y Grits with Quick Tomato Pan Sauce

15 minPrep Time

10 minCook Time

25 minTotal Time

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  • 1 small head of cauliflower (or 2 bags of cauliflower rice)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (from 1 small onion)
  • 2 cup sweet corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • sea salt/pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup cooked cannellini beans, purred
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 handful chopped basil (extra leaves for garnishing)
  • 1 cup chopped lacinto kale
  • Quick Tomato Pan Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 heirloom tomatoes (the juicier the better, chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch fennel seed (optional)
  • splash of red wine (optional)


If your cauliflower is not already riced, do that! The best way to do this is to remove stem, cut the cauliflower into small sections. You can also use precut florets. Then place 1 handful of the cauliflower into the food processor at a time. Pulse until a "rice" texture is formed. Remove, place in a large bowl. Repeat until you have riced all of the cauliflower.

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion, corn, and garlic to the pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onion and corn begins to soften and the garlic becomes fragrant. Season with salt and pepper. Add the smoked paprika, cannellini bean puree, nutritional yeast, and coconut milk. Mix all together, then cover and reduce heat for 5-7 minutes on medium low.

Meanwhile, in a small saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium low heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, around 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, fennel seed and wine (if using). Season with salt and pepper. Cook on low heat until the tomatoes begin to break down, approximately 3-5 minutes.

Remove grits from heat. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Spoon tomato pan sauce over the grits. Garnish with red pepper flakes and chopped fresh basil to top. EAT

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