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Creamy Grits with Cajun Sweet Potato, Kale, and Chickpeas

A vegetarian take on the classic Grits and Cajun Shrimp recipe - this dish features super creamy grits, spicy roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas, and tender sauteed kale.

This Creamy Vegetarian Grits with Cajun Sweet Potato, Kale, and Chickpeas is so tasty and satisfying!

Related: Are Grits Low Carb?

Vegetarian Cajun grits

Nothing says Southern American Cuisine like grits! I experienced cheesy grits for the first time when I went to Nashville, which inspired this Cajun Shrimp With Cheesy Grits recipe. 

Instead of the Cajun shrimp, I’m using Cajun spice spiced sweet potatoes and chickpeas to make this dish a vegetarian-friendly. But don’t worry, it’s still just as satisfying! 

This vegetarian grits recipe is loaded with healthy ingredients: antioxidant-rich kale, fiber and protein filled chickpeas, and vitamin and fiber-loaded sweet potatoes. Tasty, quick, easy, delicious. Win, win, win.

Related recipe: Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Reasons to eat grits

  • Grits are a good source of fiber. In my Caramelized Peach Grits recipe, I explain in more detail what grits are and the proper way to cook them. Grits are porridge made from ground white corn, which is why they have such high fiber content.
  • Grits are naturally gluten-free. So if you are sensitive to this wheat protein, grits are perfect for adding to your diet.
  • Grits are affordable. Seriously you couldn’t get more bang for your buck! I prefer this brand here because it’s not only inexpensive, but it’s quick-cooking.
  • Grits are versatile. You can eat them for dinner or breakfast; they also are made sweet or savory. And depending on how you cook them, they can also be very healthy! For this Cajun Sweet Potato Grits recipe, I didn’t use any butter. Instead, I used water, half and half, and low-fat sour cream so that you get that creamy effect with half the calories!

cajun sweet potato and chickpeas over grits

Cajun Seasoning

I might have a slight obsession with Cajun seasoning, as you can tell in some of my previous recipes (See Cajun Cheesy Grits FrittersKeto Cajun Shrimp and Cauliflower Grits, and Cajun Shrimp Sweet Potato Hash). 

In my defense, Cajun spice pairs perfectly with a savory grits recipe. Cajun seasoning is a standard spice used in a lot of Southern American cuisine. This brand is the one I recommend because it has a lot of flavor, no funky chemical additives, and a little bit goes a long way.

It is essential to be sure that the Cajun seasoning you purchase is not close to its sell-by date to ensure the most flavor in your dish!

roasted cajun sweet potato and chickpeas on a sheet pan

Quick and easy Cajun sweet potato, kale, and chickpea grits 

With the use of quick-cooking grits, you will have a filling, healthy dinner or savory breakfast ready in no time! Here's the game plan to cooking these vegetarian grits:

  • While preheating your oven, rinse, and prep all your ingredients by chopping your veggies and measuring out all your spices.
  • Roast your sweet potatoes and chickpeas for about 15 minutes until potatoes are fork-tender. While those are roasting, saute your kale for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, you will cook your grits for about 5 minutes until done.
  • Then you assemble your ingredients and top with your choice of fresh herbs! 

See, I’m all about saving you time while still serving healthy meals!

As a shortcut, you can also use leftover sweet potato home fries and just season them with a little Cajun seasoning for extra spice!

If you have leftover kale, make this delicious vegetarian white bean kale soup. It's hearty and savory while being light and nutritious.

If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later! Just click the image below to share on Pinterest:

vegetarian grits with kale, chickpeas, and sweet potato in a bowl

overhead image of cajun chickpeas and sweet potato with creamy grits
Print Recipe
5 from 8 votes

Creamy Grits with Cajun Sweet Potato, Kale, and Chickpeas

A vegetarian take on the classic Grits and Cajun Shrimp recipe - this dish features super creamy grits, spicy roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas, and tender, sauteed kale. So tasty and satisfying!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Author: Kate
Cost: $7


Sweet Potato and Chickpeas
  • 2 small sweet potatoes - (about 1-1.5 lb total)
  • 1 14-oz can chickpeas - drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon salt - optional, if the Cajun seasoning doesn't contain salt
Sauteed Kale
Creamy Grits
  • ¾ cup quick cooking grits
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt - or more to taste
  • ¼ cup half and half - or use milk for a lower-calorie option
  • ¼ cup sour cream - full fat, low fat, or fat-free

Special equipment


Roast the Sweet Potatoes and Chickpeas
  • Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray or brush with olive oil.
  • Clean the sweet potatoes and dice them into ½ inch pieces. Drain the canned chickpeas. Combine the diced sweet potato, chickpeas, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning, and ¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste). Mix well.
  • Spread on the baking sheet and roast at 400F for 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fully cooked and easy to pierce with a fork.
Saute the Kale
  • Thoroughly wash the kale and tear it into pieces (it's a personal preference if you remove the stalks or not).
  • In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the torn kale, ¼ teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, Cajun seasoning, and salt. Stir, and cover with a lid for about 3 minutes, or until the kale is reduced by half in size.
  • Uncover, add ¼ cup water, and saute for about 5 minutes, or until the water has evaporated and the kale is soft and tender.
Cook the Grits
  • Combine 2 cups water and ¼ teaspoon salt in a 2-quart sauce pan. Bring to a boil, and slowly add ¾ cups quick cooking grits while stirring constantly with a whisk.
  • Continue to cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the grits mixture thickens. Add ¼ cup half and half (or milk) and ¼ cup sour cream. Stir until no sour cream lumps remain.
  • Continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes, until grits reach the desired consistency. Season with additional salt, if needed. Be careful not to get splashed by the hot grits as it cooks! It sometimes splashed out of the pot!
Assemble the Bowls
  • Divide the cooked grits between four bowls or plates. Top each with ¼ of the sweet potato, chickpeas, and kale. Garnish with chopped scallions or fresh herbs, such as parsley or cilantro.


  • Use collard greens instead of kale, if preferred. Baby spinach works too, just reduce the cooking time


Calories: 280kcal (14%) | Carbohydrates: 39g (13%) | Protein: 6g (12%) | Fat: 12g (18%) | Saturated Fat: 4g (20%) | Cholesterol: 13mg (4%) | Sodium: 475mg (20%) | Potassium: 240mg (7%) | Fiber: 3g (12%) | Sugar: 3g (3%) | Vitamin A: 3575IU (72%) | Vitamin C: 39mg (47%) | Calcium: 84mg (8%) | Iron: 2mg (11%)

The nutritional information displayed is an estimate and not to be used as dietary or nutritional advice. Consult a nutritionist or dietician for nutritional info based on the exact ingredients you use.


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Recipe Rating

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Saturday 8th of May 2021

Made this last night and it was awesome! The sauteed kale was delectable and the roasted chickpeas and sweet potatoes with the Cajun seasoning was just the right heat. I veganized the grits with Kite Hill vegan sour cream and So Delicious Oat Creamer. The recipe is a keeper!


Monday 10th of May 2021

So glad to hear you enjoyed this, Anita!!

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