vegan cheesy grits


I woke up on this fine Saturday morning with one thing on my mind, cheese grits. It’s my all time favorite breakfast food, mostly because it reminds me of one of my amazing grandmothers. She left this Earth too soon, when I was seventeen, but she remains the star of so many of my childhood memories. In everything we did together, the rule was it had to be unique and creative. When we made recipes, I got to pick out any ingredient I wanted and she would cook something up with it. As a six year old, I remember gathering anything colorful and bright from the back yard, including rose petals, twigs, leaves, stones and berries (she drew the line at roly polys and lady bugs, I tried). We washed my “ingredients” and baked it all into a delicious cornbread. Then we picked out the non edible parts and ate it.

Our favorite game we named Wagon Train. Our horses, Thunder and Lightening, were two barstools we tied rope around. The wagon was a huge open umbrella we sat beneath in the garage. We’d go on long trail rides and when we got hungry we’d throw all the stuffed animals out in the drive way and go hunting.

I remember quietly watching her put on make up and spritz perfume, sitting on a dainty vanity stool in her pink bathroom surrounded by ornate hand held mirrors, crystal spray bottles with satiny tassels, oriental lip stick cases, and all her pearls and diamonds. She was such a lady.

I loved to climb up and sit in the big dogwood tree in her front yard, covered in white blossoms, and sing all the songs she had taught me. “I’m a Little Tea Pot” was my favorite. There was also a giant magnolia tree… the smell of those velvety sweet magnolia flowers will always remind me of her. Ok, getting a little teary eyed here… what was I talking about again? Ah yes! Cheeeese grits! The secret to my grandmother’s world famous cheese grits was not one, not two, but five slices of Velveeta cheese. Oh yeah. I can still taste it. Luckily, I have learned a lot since then about why processed, plastic-wrapped, chemically treated “cheese” is not the best thing to put in your body. And on that note, I’ve found a better way (and it tastes just as good).

I adapted this recipe from one in the Engine 2 Diet cookbook My Beef With Meat. I used a lot more garlic and onion… and more nutritional yeast than it calls for, after all, that is the “cheesy” part. But hey, a few more tablespoons of nutritional yeast is far better than five slices of imitation cheese am I right!?  I also sautéed organic spinach, swiss chard and tomato in avocado oil for the topping. I love bringing in more colors.



1 small yellow onion, diced

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

¼ cup green chilies, diced

1 chipotle pepper, chopped

2 cups veggie stock

½ cup grits, yellow

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

½ lime, juiced

½ tsp salt (optional)

1 teaspoon black pepper (optional)


Sautee the onions, garlic, green chilies and chipotle pepper with 2 tablespoons veggie stock for 5 to 7 minutes
Add the rest of the stock and bring to a boil
Whisk in grits and cook on low heat for 5 to7 minutes
Stir in nutritional yeast and lime
The peppers really add a nice little kick! I’m surprised by how perfectly moist this turned out, considering there’s zero butter, oil or dairy. I think I’ll make sautéing in vegetable stock a regular practice, it works great! I have to say, nothing will ever replace my grandma’s five slice Velveeta grits, but my tummy is happy and my arteries are too.

5 thoughts on “vegan cheesy grits

  1. Such wonderful memories with Grandma! And I absolutely LOVE the labeling on that particular package in the photo: “Corn Grits: AKA Polenta” – I’m printing it to show to Dave! 🙂

  2. I just wanted to say that I just made these because the grits recipe I was suppose to make sadly disappeared on me. These however are SO good. Even my non vegan father agrees and says its so cheesy and delicious : ) Thank you for giving me a new grits recipe to make!

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