SHARE

Nashville Hot Cauliflower + Kale Grits

February 6, 2023
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea
Make an easy, delicious vegetarian dinner or brunch with this Nashville Hot Cauliflower + Kale Grits!

Nashville Hot Cauliflower + Kale Grits

This Nashville Hot Cauliflower + Kale Grits will be ranked one of the best dishes eaten in your household, believe me! It's based with creamy cheesy kale grits and topped with Southern-inspired Nashville Hot cauliflower bites/wings that creates a beautiful texture with every bite. This dish surely boasts of bold flavors that marry so well together for one great bowl of goodness, which can be enjoyed as a weeknight meal or savory brunch. Vegan, Air Fryer, Make Ahead, + Gluten-free options.

Plate of Nashville Hot Cauliflower with Kale Grits

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links via Amazon for products that I wholeheartedly love.

It's LOVE WEEK on Orchids + Sweet Tea and I couldn't be more excited for the deliciousness coming your way all week long---in honor of Valentine's Day next week! Be sure to watch all recipes via IG Reels for a nice visual. Creamy grits is always a thing that I'm into, especially growing up in the South. It's practically a staple in the South and can honestly be enjoyed for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. It's whatever your heart desires. This Nashville Hot Cauliflower + Kale Grits is by far on my favorite things to make in my house around this time of the year and it's a great meatless option for anyone looking to slowly transition into a more plant-based and/or vegan lifestyle.

Nashville Hot is so Delish!

Plus, Nashville Hot is such a great flavor and while it does have a spicy kick to it, I love adding a bit of sweetener to the sauce to offset the heat.

But of course, you can always switch things up by serving the cauliflower bites/wings with a healthier alternative like cauliflower rice, basmati rice, brown rice, quinoa, etc. I even enjoy making tacos and sandwiches with these bites, like this Vegan Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich. However you choose to make these bites/wings, I can guarantee that it'll be a hit! These Sticky Coca-Cola Cauliflower Wings are just so good too!

If you aren't restricted to plant-based, then my Date Night Healthy Shrimp Lo Mein is a takeout fave that you must try as well as this Baked Sticky Orange Cauliflower + Quinoa. If you've been into orange chicken (EVER!), then you'll truly love this! It really does taste just as good as the classic thing!

Honestly, this vegetarian dish is perfect for any time of day, any day of the week, and any season. It's so bold in flavoreasy to make (which makes it perfect for weeknight meals or brunch), whipped together in under 1 hoursuper versatile, and is a fit for the entire family.

What is Nashville Hot Chicken?

In recent years, Nashville Hot Chicken has exploded in popularity and has been on almost everything that you can imagine when it comes to ingredient pairings. Originally, Nashville Hot can be found on fried chicken from Nashville, Tennessee and is sometimes to referred to as "Hot Chicken". It's normally coated with a special blend of spices, then deep fried, and served over white bread and pickles.

However, I've adapted a similar sauce recipe and enjoy coating it over chicken, cauliflower, etc.

Ingredients for Nashville Hot Cauliflower with Kale Grits including Mike\'s Hot Honey, cauliflower, and smoky honey habanero

How to Make Nashville Hot Cauliflower + Kale Grits

This recipe has a few different components, therefore, I recommend making things in the following order:

  1. Cauliflower bites made in the oven
  2. Cook kale grits to creamy perfection
  3. Nashville Hot sauce on the stove
  4. Finally, toss the cauliflower in the sauce and serve.

When it comes to making this Plant-based Nashville Hot ‘Chicken' recipe, the process is fairly simple and easy! You'll need to:

Part 1: Make the batter. This done by combining the milk, flour, and seasonings (salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, parsley, and garlic powder) in a bowl and whisking them together until combined and smooth.

Part 2: Make the coating. Simply combine the breadcrumbs and crushed cornflakes together in a bowl. Feel free to season this coating with the same seasonings as the batter for extra flavor!

Part 3: Make the Nashville Hot sauce. This is an easy recipe for hot sauce and can be adjusted to be more sweet or spicy or less.

Part 4: Add sauce to cauliflower. Toss your baked and crispy cauliflower into the sauce over the stovetop and you're all set! Just make the kale grits and wallah!

Breaded cauliflower bites on a baking sheet

Ingredients for Nashville Hot Cauliflower + Kale Grits

Here’s what you need for this Nashville Hot Cauliflower + Kale Grits:

  • Cauliflower. Choose a large head to make big florets.
  • Corn flakes. If necessary, choose organic and/or gluten-free cornflakes for the crunchiest cauliflower bites.
  • Breadcrumbs. You can buy store-bought breadcrumbs or panko. Or see the notes below the recipe to easily make your own breadcrumbs.
  • Flour. I always use organic. You can use gluten-free all-purpose flour if you like.
  • Almond milk. You can use any plant-based milk you like. I use this no-soak homemade almond milk. You can also use whole milk, if preferred.
  • Seasonings. The cauliflower wings get extra flavor from salt, black pepper, garlic powder, parsley, red pepper flakes, and smoked paprika.
  • Smoky Honey or Nashville Chicken blend. I like to add a bit of spice to this dish, therefore, I recommend a store-bought blend like Spiceology's Smoky Honey Habanero.
  • Brown sugar. This adds a nice glaze-like texture to the sauce. You can also use maple syrup instead.
  • Butter. I recommend using unsalted. For a vegan option, sub with vegan butter.
  • Hot Honey. You can substitute with regular raw honey + 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes if that’s what you have on hand. I like Mike's Hot Honey.
  • Pure maple syrup. My favorite is from the Coomb's Family or other premium brands from Whole Foods.

Cauliflower bites being tossed in a pan with sauce

Tricks to The Crispiest Cauliflower Wings

To make sure your wings get as crispy as possible, follow these simple tips:

  • Make sure each wing has plenty of space on the baking sheet. The airflow helps things crisp up.
  • Make sure you’re using fresh, not soggy or stale, breadcrumbs.
  • Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Let the wings cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving them.

Creamy Kale Grits Ingredients

This kale grits is totally creamy and decadent and is such a great addition to this dish or any dish. Plus, to reheat any leftover grits is rather easy and is best done over the stovetop (much like polenta) while adding a bit of water or milk until creamy and smooth again.

Here's what you'll need to make it:

  • Vegetable stock. You can also use water if you're out of stock, but you may need to season your grits a bit more with salt.
  • Almond milk. You can use any fave dairy-free milk you like. You can also use whole milk, if preferred.
  • Grits. Use organic white corn for the best flavor. I love Bob's Red Mill.
  • Butter. I love using unsalted butter. For a vegan option, use vegan butter.
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese. I like to use the raw brick of cheese for a fresh, bold flavor for my grits, however, you can always use shredded sharp cheddar if it's what you have on hand. You can also substitute with shredded Mild cheddar, Mozzarella, etc. For a vegan option, I love using high-quality cheeses from So Delicious Dairy-Free or Violife.
  • Garlic powder and salt. For a bit of flavor.

My top Five Tips for Perfect Grits

These tips are the best way to make the creamiest, thickest Southern-style grits for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

#1: Heat + Soak Grits: Much like cashews, this allows grits to soften, cook faster, and become more creamy.

#2: Boil grits for 20-30 minutes uncovered, but make sure to stir regularly to avoid lumps.

#3: It’s all about adding milk, water, + heavy cream with cheese for the ultimate creaminess.

#4: Don’t be afraid to season your girts. It amplifies the flavors more.

#5: Low + slow is always best. This allows the grits to slowly release their starches for a decadent, silky texture.

Pan of kale grits

How to Make Your Own Hot Honey

If you don't have any hot honey on hand or you simply just want to make your own hot honey, no worries! It's really simple and only requires a few ingredients. You'll need: 1 cup raw organic honey (or regular honey)1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar. To create your own hot honey, just bring to a simmer all ingredients in a saucepan and then remove it from heat and let it cool completely before adding it to your Nashville Hot sauce ingredients. Feel free to store any remaining hot honey in an airtight glass jar (straining red pepper flakes) if desired and keep stored for up to 6 months at room temp.

Adding Other Greens to Your Grits

If you want to add some greens to your grits besides kale, you certainly can. My article, Our Top 12 Favorite Healthy Green Leafy Vegetables shares a list of great greens! Off the top—-spinach or collard greens make great additions. Also, roasted broccolini is one of my faves to add.

How to Make Homemade Breadcrumbs

To make your own breadcrumbs, simply grind 1-2 cups of cubed bread into a food processor until finely chopped. Place crumbs onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread out evenly.

Bake for 5-6 minutes in the oven set at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring occasionally. Once brown + crisp, remove from oven and let cool. Continue recipe steps and store remaining breadcrumbs in a tightly sealed container.

SHOP MY FAVORITE TOOLS FOR COOKING, ESPECIALLY FOR THIS DISH!

Here, I’ve curated a list of cooking + baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods or cooked meals, especially with this Nashville Hot Cauliflower + Kale Grits. Everything from my fave skillet, baking sheets, wooden spoons, mixing bowls, and more. SEE THEM HERE!

Overhead shot of a plate of Nashville Hot Cauliflower with Kale Grits

How To Store + Reheat Nashville Hot Cauliflower + Kale Grits

Place any leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or the oven when ready to serve.

Can I Make This Dish Vegan or Gluten-Free?

Of course! To make this dish GF-friendly, simply ensure that the breadcrumbs, cornflakes, flour, and grits are gluten-free. However, to make this dish vegan, simply substitute the honey with maple syrup and the butter with vegan butter.

Make Ahead Option

All ingredients can be made and individually stored as meal prep (up to 2 days prior) and assembled when ready to serve. Be sure to store crushed corn flakes + seasoning mixture in a nicely sealed zip loc bag, kept at room temp.

How to Make Nashville Hot Cauliflower in an Air Fryer

You'll follow all of the steps to coating the cauliflower bites/wings and place them in your air fryer for 20 minutes or so at 390 degrees and flipping them halfway through to ensure that they crisp perfectly on both sides. Then whip together your sauce, toss them in the sauce, and wallah.

More Delish Meatless Recipes for Valentine's Day!

If you love this Nashville Hot Cauliflower + Kale Grits, try these other delicious meatless + vegetarian options next:

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you make this Nashville Hot Cauliflower + Kale Grits, tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea!

Overhead shot of a plate of Nashville Hot Cauliflower with Kale Grits

Plate of Nashville Hot Cauliflower with Kale Grits

Nashville Hot Cauliflower + Kale Grits

February 6, 2023
5 from 4 votes
Make an easy, delicious vegetarian dinner or brunch with this Nashville Hot Cauliflower + Kale Grits!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4 servings

Ingredients

CAULIFLOWER:

  • 1 head organic cauliflower, chopped into medium chunks
  • 2 cups bread crumbs, GF if needed! (See Post for info!)
  • 1 cup organic corn flakes, crushed into very small pieces
  • ¾ cup organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Almond milk (You can use whole milk or your fave plant-based milk)
  • ¼ cup hot honey
  • 1 teaspoon Spiceology Smoky Honey Habanero (Optional; See Notes)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

NASHVILLE HOT SAUCE:

  • 3-4 Tbsps hot honey
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsps cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsps organic brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, optional

KALE GRITS:

  • 1 cup organic white corn grits
  • 1 cup organic kale, chopped (Fresh or frozen works)
  • 2 cups water or vegetable stock/broth
  • 3 cups Almond milk (You can use whole milk or your fave plant-based milk)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup freshly-grated Sharp cheddar cheese, organic (You can also use shredded)

Instructions

TO MAKE THE CAULIFLOWER:

  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and line your baking sheet with parchment paper. NOTE: Doing this step is a MUST to prevent sticking.
  • In a medium bowl, add the milk, hot honey, flour, Spiceology Smoky. Honey Habanero (if using), salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, parsley, garlic powder, and whisk together until combined. Set aside.
  • In ziplock bag, add the crushed corn flakes and breadcrumbs together and shake them together until well combined and blended.
  • Now, dip each cauliflower into batter (shaking off any excess) and then add it into the coating mixture within the ziplock bag, shaking everything together until cauliflower bite is well coated. Then lay each cauliflower side by side on the baking sheet (about an inch apart). Repeat until all cauliflower are coated.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and “crunchy” looking. NOTE: If not crispy enough, turn on broil and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

TO MAKE THE CREAMY KALE GRITS:

  • Bring the water or veggie stock, milk, kale, and salt to a low boil in a large-size pot or dutch oven. Once boiling, whisk in the grits and cook 15-20 minutes until thickened and most of the liquid has "dried out". Stir in the butter, garlic powder, and cheese, until melted and the grits becomes creamy.

TO MAKE THE NASHVILLE HOT SAUCE:

  • Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and whisk together until it begins to boil. Reduce heat to low and let everything simmer for about 5-6 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Once thickened enough to desired consistency, add in baked cauliflower bites/wings, tossing everything together until cauliflower are coated. Remove from heat.
  • To serve, spoon the grits into a plate or bowl and top with a few spoonfuls of Nashville Hot cauliflower. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Repeat for all servings.
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Place any leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or the oven when ready to serve.
  • GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: To make this dish GF-friendly, simply ensure that the breadcrumbs, cornflakes, flour, and grits are gluten-free.
  • VEGAN OPTION: To make this dish vegan, simply substitute the honey with maple syrup and the butter with vegan butter.
  • EQUIPMENT: Here, I’ve curated a list of cooking + baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods or cooked meals, especially with this Nashville Hot Cauliflower + Kale Grits. Everything from my fave skillet, baking sheets, wooden spoons, mixing bowls, and more.
  • SPICES/HERBS: If desired, you can reduce the amounts slightly. Please know that this recipe is bold in flavor, so feel free to adjust based on your tastebuds.
  • SPICEOLOGY BLEND: To try the brand of spice used in this recipe or other blends from them, check them out here!

Nutrition

Calories: 852kcal | Carbohydrates: 112g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 2521mg | Potassium: 367mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 52g | Vitamin A: 3802IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 497mg | Iron: 5mg

DID YOU MAKE THIS recipe?

Tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea

Nashville Hot Cauliflower + Kale Grits.

Script text: Xx, Shanika

Love this Post? SHARE!

LOVE THIS RECIPE?
LET US KNOW!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Love this Recipe?




  1. Hello there! Your Instagram reel of this dish brought me to your website for the full recipe. I have been craving cauliflower wings and your detailed recipe is simple to follow. In your reel, you showed how you clean the cauliflower florets with water and vinegar. I truly appreciate that! I have most these ingredients and I cannot wait to make this dish for dinner. Thank you again and please continue to do what you do best!!

    • Hi Shanice! Wow! That truly makes me so happy to hear that you enjoyed my reel and truly are excited to make this recipe! I can't wait to hear what you think! Thanks so much for choosing to give it a try! 🙂

jQuery(document).ready(function($) { $('.clicked-1').addClass('showme'); $('.clicky-1').addClass('shown'); $('.click-1').addClass('active'); });