BBQ Chicken with Cauliflower “Grits”

BBQ chicken and cauliflower grits

Guys, can we have a real talk about using cauliflower to replace all things carbs? I get it. I know we all want to be healthy but still have our thing, so we try and fake ourselves out with similar alternatives.

Nine times out of ten, cauliflower does just fine. It’s lovely. But it’s not the thing we are missing. The worst offender of this is the frozen “caulitots” sold at Costco. They are delightful little balls of mashed cauliflower. What they are NOT are the salty, shredded potato-textured, poppable snacks like the original. Sell it for what it is and I’ll love it. Try to fake me out and I’ll leave disappointed.

All that to say, this was supposed to be a recipe with cauliflower “mash”, AKA mashed potato replacements. Try as I might, I just couldn’t get the truly creamy texture I want if I’m thinking mashed taters. What I did get was the salty, cheesy, feel-it-on-my-tongue taste you get out of good grits. So come at this meal with that in mind and I think you’ll not only NOT feel cheated, but wondering where this has been your whole life.

*And to all my Yankee friends reading this and thinking “ew, grits!”, you just haven’t had good ones, friend. They are a delightful addition to this simple dinner or a breakfast with ALL the fixings.

BBQ chicken and cauliflower grits

Oven BBQ Chicken with Cheesy Cauliflower “Grits”

Course: Main Course
Servings: 4
Calories: 585kcal
Fake-out your tastebuds without sacrificing flavor with this quick and easy southern-inspired dinner. We take a shortcut with the chicken leaving us time for the "grits." It's yummy, y'all!
Print Recipe


Oven BBQ Chicken

  • 3/4 cup barbeque sauce
  • 1 1/2 lb boneless chicken thighs

Cheesy Cauliflower "Grits"

  • 1 large head cauliflower cut into florets
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced minced
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp green onions finely chopped
  • cup cheddar cheese shredded


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the chicken on the baking sheet and coat with sauce on one side. Bake for 40 minutes, stopping half-way to turn over and baste with the rest of the sauce on the side that's now on top. Cook until heated through.
  • Place the cauliflower in a medium to large-sized saucepan. Cover with water. Set over medium-high heat and bring the water to a boil. Cover and turn the temperature down to medium-low. Simmer until the cauliflower is soft, 10-15 minutes. Drain and return the vegetables to the pot. Add the garlic, butter, salt, and pepper. Using an immersion blender, puree the cauliflower. Stir in the green onions and cheddar and taste again for seasoning.


  • This is going to make more chicken than four servings calls for, but most chicken thigh packages come in 1.5lb sizes. Go ahead and roast all of it and save the leftovers for an easy dinner another night.
  • If you need to move fast, consider using your Instant Pot to make the chicken. I like this recipe. Just add the BBQ sauce to the end after shredding.


  • Watch your BBQ sauce!


  • You can skip the cheese in this recipe, but you’ll need to up the flavor in another way. Consider extra herbs and spices or pour a swig of the BBQ sauce directly into the cauliflower instead.


Calories: 585kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 184mg | Sodium: 1386mg | Potassium: 1123mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 479IU | Vitamin C: 103mg | Calcium: 151mg | Iron: 3mg