Grits Casserole: A Vegan Twist on a Southern Classic

Mornin' MoFo's!

The changing seasons (that the rest of you are experiencing - we don't have "fall" in Phoenix, AZ per se...) has inspired me to eat some heartier breakfasts these days. Throughout the summer I stuck pretty closely to green smoothies for breakfast. And they are wonderful - but I wanted something hot today - and hearty.

One of my childhood favorite meals was: GRITS.

I was born and raised in south Georgia - so naturally I love grits. If you cringe at the thought of eating them - give this recipe a try! It's hearty, delicious and flavorful - a childhood favorite of mine I have managed to successfully recreate as vegan. YESSS

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Grits 101:
I ONLY eat corn grits (pictured above) these days. Why? The difference is in the processing. White hominy grits - which are the ones that you typically find in grocery stores - are soaked in lye for days. Corn grits are typically made from white corn kernels that are quick steamed briefly to loosen their shells. The kernels are then ground and sifted - the grits processed minimally. Processed further they become corn meal - even further they turn into bran. Even if you cook your grits with salt (and you don't really want to omit that...), a one cup serving will typically be around 145 calories, 31 grams of carbs, 3 grams of protein, zero cholesterol and zero fat!

There are two ways one could make this. Growing up we would typically cook all the ingredients (which then included things like bacon, eggs, potatoes and onions) and throw them into the pot with the grits, add some cheese and chow down. It is also a favorite of mine for holiday mornings - or when I needed a make ahead breakfast. I just cook everything up the night before, throw it in a glass baking dish, sprinkle with cheeze and cover with tin foil. The next morning, put it in the oven (tin foil and all) at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake until the cheeze is melty and slightly brown and the casserole has heated throughout.

Ingredients (serves 2+):
1 cup corn grits (I use Sprouts brand)
2 cups water
2 cups non dairy milk
6 strips vegan bacon
2 medium russet potatoes
1 yellow onion
1 bell pepper (optional - I omit because I don't like peppers)
1 tablespoon vegan butter - or to taste
Salt & Pepper to taste (a teaspoon of each is a good place to start)
Daiya cheeze to taste

-To cook the grits: boil the water and milk, when it gets to a rolling boil - add the grits and simmer for 30 minutes.

-Chop the onions and saute the onion in olive oil over low heat until translucent, add the bell peppers and cook until desired consistency.

-Chop the potatoes and add to the onions, cover and cook on medium low heat until potatoes are cooked.

-When grits are done and potatoes are done, add the potato, onion and pepper mixture to the pot of grits. Saute the vegan bacon until it is warm and crispy. Chop into bite size pieces and add to grits. Serve, garnish with Daiya and salt and pepper.

-OR put it all in a glass baking dish, sprinkle with cheese, cover with tin foil and refrigerate until ready to bake. Bake at 350 until cheeze melts and casserole is heated throughout.


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