I have never felt super confident in my menu planning skills. I normally pair a meat recipe with a vegetable for our dinners and have leftovers for lunches. Soup and stew are easy because they’re the whole meal in one recipe, but soup can get old. That’s why recipes like this Spicy Shrimp With Cauliflower Mash and Garlic Kale appeal to me. They have an entire meal in one recipe. All the decisions are already made, and the instructions lay out the whole process. There’s no guessing whether the items will go together or how to time making them. So let’s find out if this combo is a keeper!
Tender-sweet shrimp and smoky garlic kale over creamy cauliflower mash. The most DELICIOUS fake-fancy weeknight dinner!
The ingredient for this spicy shrimp with cauliflower and kale recipe really wasn’t too long for a meal with 2 side dishes. I always keep things like olive oil, salt, garlic, spices, and bacon fat around. And I try to keep some chicken broth concentrate in my refrigerator at all times. I even had half a bag of coarse cornmeal left over from a polenta recipe.
I had to shop for fresh items like shrimp, cauliflower, and kale. It’s unusual for me to have a can of cannellini beans in my pantry, but I was out this time. I also had to pick up some milk and shredded cheddar cheese. I wanted to use havarti, but I could only find shredded white cheddar.
This recipe’s instructions have the entire process laid out in order. I began by sauteeing and then simmering the cauliflower and garlic in milk. My 5.5-quart Dutch oven was a good size for this.
I prepped and cooked the garlic kale in a non-stick saute pan while the cauliflower was simmering. It was done just as the cauliflower finished up. When it was done I move the kale to a covered dish and set the pan aside to cool.
I moved back to the cauliflower mash and added the cannellini beans. Mashing the mixture with the back of a wooden spoon as the recipe instructs wasn’t easy. Instead, I reached for my potato masher, and it worked a treat. I had a rough mash in no time.
The instructions warn the cauliflower mash will be soupy at this point, but adding the cornmeal and cheese did thicken it up. Still, I didn’t think it was thick enough, but it must have thickened as it sat while I made the shrimp.
First, the pan needed to be wiped clean with a paper towel. Next, I preheated it with the remaining olive oil while I mixed up a little of each spice mentioned. I was lucky that I found peeled and deveined shrimp because it cut down the prep work.
The spicy shrimp cooked quickly, so I kept a close eye on it. Tip: There was a short but intense blast of cayenne when the shrimp first went into the pan, but it dispersed quickly. You might want to stand back at the start so you don’t inhale it like I did.
Tip: Remove the shrimp from the hot pan as soon as they are done. The heat will continue cooking them and they will turn rubbery if left too long.
This spicy shrimp with cauliflower and kale recipe doesn’t list preparation or cooking times. Instead, it lists a total time of 45 minutes. I came in under that at 34 minutes. Here’s how my time broke down:
- 9 minutes to prep the cauliflower
- 21 minutes to cook and mash the cauliflower
- 8 minutes to prep and cook the kale (done while the cauliflower cooked)
- 4 minutes to prep and cook the shrimp
- 34 minutes total
I was extremely pleased to have such a nice dinner ready in just over half an hour!