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
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 a 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 the 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
- Homemade Vegan Butter
- 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 to 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, and 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.
Plant-based vegan sausage makes a great addition when serving this for breakfast. It is one of the many products that I like to order from MamaSezz meal delivery service. It comes ready to heat and eat, and it can also be frozen.
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, to keep the seasonings healthy too.
We buy only the old-fashioned grits instead of 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 of 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
- Breakfast English Muffins
- Healthy Breakfast Scramble
- Fruited Quinoa
- Smoked Tempeh Bacon
- Healthy Chia Jam – Strawberry
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.
There are different kinds of grits--usually quick cooking and old fashioned. The quick cooking grits are loaded with sodium at 300 mg per serving, whereas the old fashion grits have 0 sodium.
- 1/2 cup old fashioned grits, (not quick cooking)
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes, (for a cheesy flavor)
- 1/2 teaspoon dry steak seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon 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
Tuesday 22nd of February 2022
Grits originates from Native bean 'bread' which is corn polenta and cooked beans made into dumplings or what would be called tamales in middle/ south America. The combination works very well together!
Tuesday 29th of September 2020
We are from the south as well and grits were a staple in life, especially for my husband. One thing we have done when serving grits as a side dish was to use stewed tomatoes as a 'gravy' on them. That's really good. You can also chop up some jalapeño (with or without seeds depending on your preference for heat) and cook that in them. Yummy! I'm new to following you but I have to say that every recipe I have tried, I have loved. Thank you so much!
Tuesday 29th of September 2020
Hi Debbie- That sounds absolutely delicious! I'm so glad you found my site too and really appreciate your kind words.
Thursday 13th of December 2018
Yeah, I've started adding beans to my grits, but vegan chili on top of grits is awesome! Makes for a very hearty breakfast these cold mornings!
Friday 14th of December 2018
Who knew we could all get so creative with our grits?! Love it!
Aly Moore Sunny
Friday 2nd of March 2018
Wow! What a great and simple idea!!! You're amazing!! Can't thank you enough for your delicious recipes! Xoxo
Wednesday 5th of July 2017
Love your blog!
Wednesday 5th of July 2017
Thank you, Beverly! :)