Growing up in Georgia, grits were one of my favorite foods. We had them once a week at my daycare as a child. Breakfast spreads and breakfast-for-dinner was not complete without a big pot of warm thick grits. My preferred grits formula was extra thick, so I would take my mom's grits and then microwave them an additional 2 minutes to thicken them even more. Now I don't eat them quite that thick. Though I do still prefer butter to cheese as a topping; so much butter that you can taste it and if using white grits it will turn them yellow.
What are Grits?
Grits is a milled corn product. While cornmeal and polenta are ground finely, grits are ground coarsely or medium finely. Just like corn coming in both yellow and white varieties, grits can be either color. I grew up on white, which is often the more common color in the south. But as you will see in this post, I use yellow and white interchangeably.
Homemade grits are always better than those I've found in restaurants. Most people make grits with 100% water as the liquid, but I learned from my mom that you can create extra creamy more favorable grits by using 50:50 milk to water. Other things that make grits extra delicious is balancing the starchiness with the right proportion of salt (which is mosre than you would think). Butter is also going to add to the richness and flavor. And while milk and butter are not vegan, over the years I have figured out which combination of ingredients can help bring that savory richness.
Southern-Style Grits Veganized
Yields: 3-5 servings
2 c Water
2 c Milk (unsweetened soy, oat, or cashew)
1 c Corn Grits
3-4 Tbsp Butter*
Optional but highly suggested-
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
*Because the butter is a flavor boster, I suggest using a high quality plant-based butter like Miyoko's Cultured Butter.
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, water and salt to a boil. (Be careful it does not boil over, because it likes to go from simmering to boiling over at the blink of an eye).
While stirring quickly add in the grits and then drop the temperature down to low.
Add in the garlic powder, onion powder and nutritional yeast before covering.
Continue cooking with a lid on low, taking a pause to stir every two minutes or so to prevent sticking.
Cook time will depend on the brand, grind size, and freshness of the corn. Grits are done when the corn has become tender and thickened to your desired thickness. This may range from 6-12 minutes. If they get too thick, thin with a splash of milk.
Once you like the final thickness (I prefer them done when they coat a spoon without dripping off), stir in the butter and taste for salt level.