Although shrimp and grits is the typical (and delicious) take, we do a vegetarian twist with this amazing spicy asparagus and cheesy grits recipe.
This spicy asparagus and cheesy grits is comforting, cheesy, and spicy and everything we could ever want in a dinner.
I prepared the asparagus by browning onions until mostly caramelized. Next, I added cherry tomatoes until they blister and char.
From there, I added garlic, ground hot cherry peppers (or use crushed red pepper), and stock. I wanted a thicker, gravy like consistency for the spicy asparagus, so I removed some of the sauce and whisked in flour before adding it back to the pot. Omit this step if you want a thinner, broth-like consistency. Right before serving, toss in chopped asparagus and voila!
The cheesy grits are spicy and aromatic from scallions and jalapeño (because that’s just like the best combination ever). I also added cream and sharp cheddar cheese to the mix. The final result is the ultimate spicy, aromatic deliciousness.
You can add proteins to this dish, such as shrimp or chicken. Chorizo would be my next top pick! You can also top this with a fried egg for a vegetarian protein.
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Spicy Asparagus and Cheesy Grits
- Large saucepan
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon neutral cooking oil
- 1 yellow onion peeled and sliced into half-moons
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes or 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 6 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon ground hot cherry peppers or crushed red pepper to taste
- 3-4 cups vegetables tock more as needed
- 2 teaspoons flour optional
- 1 pound asparagus trimmed and cut into thirds
- Salt and pepper to taste
Start the Spicy Asparagus:
- Heat the butter and oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 15-20 minutes or until the onion is almost completely caramelized. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the cherry tomatoes and turn the heat to medium-high. Cook for 3-4 minutes more, tossing regularly to keep the onions from burning, until the tomatoes begin to blister and char. Reduce heat to medium.
Cook the Aromatics:
- Add the garlic and hot cherry peppers and cook for 30-45 seconds until fragrant.
Deglaze the Pan and Simmer:
- Add 3 cups of vegetable stock, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the remaining cup of broth if too much liquid reduces.
Thicken the Sauce (Optional):
- Scoop out half a cup of liquid. Whisk in the flour until incorporated and add it back to the broth. Turn the heat to medium and whisk it into the rest of the broth to fully incorporate it. Allow the broth to bubble and thicken. Reduce heat back to a simmer.
Finish the Spicy Asparagus:
- Add the asparagus to the broth and cook for 4-5 minutes until bright green and tender-crisp. Do not overcook the asparagus. Taste and season again to your preferences before turning off the heat.
Prepare the Cheesy Grits:
- While the asparagus sauce is simmering, prepare the cheesy grits. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the grits and bring to a boil. Whisk constantly for 5 minutes. Once the grits begin to thicken, reduce heat and add the white parts of the scallions and the jalapeño along with salt and cream. Cook, whisking regularly, for 25 minutes until thickened and tender, adding liquid if needed.
- Add the cheese and paprika to the grits and whisk until melted and incorporated. Taste and season to your preferences. Turn off the heat.
- Divide the cooked grits between shallow bowls and pile the spicy asparagus on top. Garnish with the reserved green parts of the scallions. Enjoy!