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.
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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.
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 flavor, easy to make (which makes it perfect for weeknight meals or brunch), whipped together in under 1 hour, super versatile, and is a fit for the entire family.
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.
This recipe has a few different components, therefore, I recommend making things in the following order:
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!
Here’s what you need for this Nashville Hot Cauliflower + Kale Grits:
To make sure your wings get as crispy as possible, follow these simple tips:
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:
#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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you love this Nashville Hot Cauliflower + Kale Grits, try these other delicious meatless + vegetarian options next:
If you make this Nashville Hot Cauliflower + Kale Grits, tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea!
Nashville Hot Cauliflower + Kale Grits.