Spicy Shrimp with Cauliflower Mash and Garlic Kale

Spicy shrimp with cauliflower mash and kale on a plate.

This spicy / creamy / green combination is pretty much life goals. 

A pile of creamy cauliflower mash sets the stage and then gets tucked in by those smoky greens before finally getting piled high with a mound of aggressively seasoned, salty, juicy shrimp.

Do you even hear me? Leave work immediately. Pack the kids in the car. Go to the grocery store. Make this your life’s mission.

It is peak cozy, nutritious, and cool-weather wonderful.

Shrimp and cauliflower mash on a plate with a fork.

Let’s Talk Kale and Bacon Fat

Let’s break this down, because shrimp is straightforward, and cauliflower mash is mostly reasonable, but when I say smoky garlic kale, what I really mean is KALE or KALETTES (!!) sautéed with garlic in a little knoblet of bacon fat.

Fingers holding pieces of kale.

That adorable thing would be called a kalette: a cross between kale and brussels sprouts. I bought mine at Super Target, so it would appear that we regulars have access to these little wonders without a trip to any special grocery store (but regular kale works, too).

Related – that knob of bacon fat that I mentioned? The one that makes the greens especially delicious? It’s something you should just do, like, regularly.

I keep a little container in my fridge – it’s called the Fat Trapper – for bacon grease! Almost any recipe can benefit from a little depth and smoky-rich flavor. Just swap some butter or oil with a little bacon fat. This is one of my favorite easy little cooking hacks. Every time I do this, people go above and beyond in their food compliments. Because people may not know it, but they do, in fact, love bacon fat.

Pieces of shrimp.

Onto The Shrimp and Cauliflower Mash

The thing you need to know about these shrimp is that they really, really want you to cover them thoroughly in spices. They don’t have to be SPICY spicy – they could just be very well-seasoned. But they want some kick. They want to wow you.

The other thing you need to know about the shrimp is that while you will be tempted to eat every last one of them straight out of the sizzling hot pan, you MUST exercise enough self control to get them on the plate, tucked between your garlicky greens and your creamy cauliflower mash. It is really the combo of all three of these wonders that makes this a repeat-dinner-winner.

And that cauliflower mash? Easy, creamy, comforting, *mostly* healthy, and so, so good.

Spicy shrimp with cauliflower mash and kale on a plate with a fork.

I mean, if you happened to give the whole thing a quick lemon squeeze before devouring?

You would not be wrong.

Spicy shrimp with cauliflower mash and kale on a plate with a fork.

Check Out Our Video For How To Make Spicy Shrimp and Cauliflower Mash (1 Min):

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Spicy Shrimp with Cauliflower Mash and Garlic Kale

  • Author: Pinch of Yum
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


Spicy Shrimp with Cauliflower Mash and Garlic Kale – tender-sweet shrimp and smoky garlic kale over creamy cauliflower mash. The most DELICIOUS fake-fancy weeknight dinner!


For the Cauliflower Mash

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 6 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 14-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese, like sharp cheddar or havarti
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Kale

  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat (or olive oil)
  • 3 cups kalettes OR chopped kale
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

For the Shrimp

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb. shrimp (enough for 4 people)
  • a few good shakes of garlic salt, chili powder, cayenne, and/or black pepper


  1. Cauliflower Mash: Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the cauliflower and garlic. Saute for a minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the milk and 2 cups broth. Simmer for 10 minutes or until soft. Add the white beans and mash roughly with the back of a large wooden spoon. It will be soupy – that’s okay. Stir in the cornmeal and things will start to thicken a bit. Adjust the consistency by adding in the last cup of broth as needed. Stir in the cheese and season to taste.
  2. Kale: Heat the bacon fat in a nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Add the greens and garlic and saute until softened. For the kalettes, I added a little water at the end to sort of steam them to finish them off. Remove kale and wipe out pan with a paper towel.
  3. Shrimp: In the same skillet, add the oil over medium heat. Pat the shrimp dry. Add to the pan and sprinkle with seasonings to taste. Cook for just a few minutes and then add a quick splash of water or broth to the pan (about 2 tablespoons) to pull the browned bits and spices into something of a saucy-coating for the shrimp. It’s delicious.
  4. Serve: Serve the shrimp and kale over a big pile of cauliflower mash! SO yummy.
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Sauté
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: spicy shrimp recipe, cauliflower mash, healthy shrimp recipe, gluten-free recipe, healthy dinner recipe

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Note: this post contains an affiliate link for the nifty little bacon FAT TRAPPER! Annnd that’s probably my best blog line ever.

One More Thing!

This recipe is part of our collection of easy shrimp recipes. Check it out!

The post Spicy Shrimp with Cauliflower Mash and Garlic Kale appeared first on Pinch of Yum.

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