Grits are a delicious and nutritious breakfast that can be ready to eat in minutes. Making healthy grits is all determined by how they are seasoned, so let me show you some awesomely flavorful options.
Being from the South, I have always loved grits for breakfast. I used to eat a very unhealthy version by slathering them with butter. But, I have found a much heart-healthier way to enjoy them these days, since changing over to a whole food plant-based (WFPB) lifestyle.
We love healthy grits because they’re…
- Simple to make
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How to cook grits
Grits are one of the best easy vegan breakfast recipes. Sometimes I make them on the stovetop, but most of the time I just pop them in the microwave.
Start by bringing 1 cup of water to boil in a small pot on the stove. This is for one serving. The package will have measurements for additional servings.
Slowly add 1/4 old fashion grits and seasonings to briskly boiling water.
Reduce heat to low, cover, and allow to cook for approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take off heat when they reach the desired thickness.
Combine all ingredients–water, grits, and seasonings–in a microwave-safe bowl.
The instructions on the box say to microwave on 50% heat for 7-10 minutes. However, I always cook on high because it only takes 3 minutes. I like to set time for 1-1/2 minutes. When it stops, stir the grits and add another 1-1/2 minutes of cook time.
Healthy seasonings for grits
Instead of adding artery-clogging butter or margarine to grits, there are some terrific and delicious healthier options that will delight your taste buds. These are some of my favorites.
- sea salt & black pepper
- dry steak seasoning (it’s just a variety of peppers)
- Nutritional yeast (see below)
- smoked paprika
- dry parsley
- Italian dry seasoning
- homemade Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce
- BEANS…yes, you read that right
Sometime back, I heard a person say they like to add beans in their grits. At first, I thought that sounded so strange. But, then I gave it a try, and it’s amazing!
The beans do have to be already cooked before adding them. Most days, I always have leftover beans in the refrigerator, so it’s always easy just to add them when cooking grits.
I personally use many different types of beans in my grits. As you can see from this picture, there are black-eyed peas in this bowl, but I also regularly add pintos, kidney beans, Northern white beans, as well as others.
If you aren’t familiar with the seasoning listed above called nutritional yeast, it’s a dry seasoning that has a cheesy, nutty, savory flavor and is great in so many other recipes as well. It is NOT baking yeast, but a flavoring.
Tips for making healthy grits
With either method of cooking that you choose, be aware that grits continue to thicken for a few minutes after removing them from the heat. If you aren’t careful, they will become solid.
If this happens, simply add a little more water or veggie broth and stir well to break up any clumps. You might have to reheat them to help with stirring.
These are not instant grits but are rather old fashioned grits. They still only take about 3 minutes on high power in the microwave to fully cook. Of course, they can also be made on the stovetop.
Even though the directions on the grits package say to use water, if you use veggie broth, or at least replace some of the water with veggie broth, it adds a lot of flavor.
Grits are so easy to make because all ingredients–spices, water, beans–can be added at the same time while cooking.
Are grits healthy for you?
Grits certainly can be healthy if you keep a few things in mind. One is to be careful about which ones you buy. And, second is, keep the seasonings healthy too.
We buy only the old fashioned grits instead of the instant ones. A comparison of the labels shows that instant grits have 300 mg of sodium per serving, whereas old fashioned grits have 0 mg sodium.
Grits are made of dried kernels of corn, treated with an alkali to remove the hull and germ, and then ground like regular cornmeal.
In addition to 4 grams of protein and 1 gram of fat per serving, grits also contain iron and other phytonutrients.
*Originally published October 14, 2014
Other great vegan breakfast recipes
- 1/2 cup old fashioned grits, (not quick cooking)
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes, (for a cheesy flavor)
- 1/2 tsp dry steak seasoning
- 1/2 tsp salt, (or to your taste)
- 1/2 cup cooked beans if desired
- STOVETOP INSTRUCTIONS: Slowly add grits and seasonings to briskly boiling water. Reduce heat to low, cover, and allow to cook for approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take off heat when they reach the desired thickness.
- MICROWAVE INSTRUCTIONS: Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. The instructions on the box say to microwave on 50% heat for 7-10 minutes. However, I always cook on high because it only takes 3 minutes. I like to set time for 1-1/2 minutes. When it stops, stir the grits and add another 1-1/2 minutes of cook time.
- I have includes lots of healthy seasoning options in the article above. Some may surprise you!
Detailed instructions, in-process photos, and my personal helpful tips can be found in the article above.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 2
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 150Total Fat: .5gFiber: 1gProtein: 4g