Creamy vegan grits are a delicious hot breakfast that really sticks with you. It’s also a tasty side dish for lunch or dinner. (So good with vegan barbecue and collard greens!)
Grits are easy to make, gluten free, and very versatile. Ready in less than 20 minutes!
There are some times when you just need a hot breakfast. Something warm, comforting, and satiating.
That’s when I love reaching for vegan grits.
Similar to polenta, this warm cereal is simple to make, comes together quickly, and is full of cozy goodness.
This Southern staple can be a homey breakfast or brunch all on its own. Or enjoy it as a side dish for lunch or dinner.
Are grits vegan friendly?
In and of themselves, grits are totally vegan. They’re made of 100% ground corn.
However, it’s what gets added to them that usually makes them not vegan. Grits are often made with cow’s milk or cream, dairy cheese, and dairy butter.
Most grits sold at restaurants aren’t vegan, unless it’s a plant based establishment.
Even if travel isn’t in your forecast, it’s super easy to make vegan grits at home with a few simple plant based substitutions.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make this recipe.
Garlic: The flavor of corn grits is on the mild side. So it’s nice to fill it out with fragrant garlic.
If you’re not a fan of fresh garlic you can omit it or replace it with about ¼ to ½ teaspoon of granulated garlic.
(If using granulated garlic, you won’t need oil. Add the granulated garlic at the same time as the nutritional yeast flakes.)
Corn grits: I like to use Bob’s Red Mill organic corn grits. The bag has just one ingredient – organic corn.
When you’re shopping, look for stone ground grits. Don’t use quick cooking, instant, or white hominy-style grits for this recipe.
Better Than Bouillon no chicken base: I like to keep this condensed bouillon on hand in the refrigerator. It’s great for adding flavor to the base of a dish.
However, if you’d prefer you can replace the water & bouillon with vegetable broth or stock.
Nutritional yeast flakes: This inactive yeast adds a cheesy flavor to the grits. It’s also a source of protein and B12. (You can learn more about it in this post on nutritional yeast.)
Look for it in natural grocery stores. It’s sometimes sold in bulk bins, near the nutritional supplements, or by the flour.
I buy mine at Trader Joe’s. It’s one of my favorite vegan Trader Joe’s products.
If you’re not a fan of nutritional yeast, you can omit it. Or replace it with shredded non-dairy cheese.
Non-dairy milk: Milk gives the grits extra creaminess. You can use any plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk that you like.
Cashew, soy, oat, or almond milk are all good choices.
If you don’t have non-dairy milk, you can skip it or add an equal amount of water if it’s too thick.
Step by step instructions
Here’s how to make this recipe at a glance. For complete ingredient amounts & instructions, keep scrolling to the recipe card below.
Sauté garlic with oil in a medium sized pot.
Once the garlic is fragrant, add water and Better Than Bouillon no chicken base. Stir to dissolve.
Bring to a simmer.
Then slowly pour in yellow corn grits while stirring to prevent clumping. Add salt & pepper.
Keep cooking uncovered about 6 minutes, until the grits thicken & pull from the edges of the pot when stirred.
Once it’s fairly thick, add nutritional yeast flakes and non-dairy milk.
Cook uncovered 4 or 5 minutes longer, stirring frequently, until the grits have reached your desired consistency.
Make them your own
It’s easy to personalize grits to suit your flavor preferences. With a few tweaks, substitutions, or omissions, you can make grits exactly to your tastes.
I like thicker porridge-style grits. However, if you prefer soupier grits, add an additional ¼ cup of non-dairy milk. The grits will have to simmer a longer amount of time to cook down any extra liquid (about 30 minutes).
For spicier grits, add chopped jalapeños at the same time as the garlic.
For cheesier grits, add shredded non-dairy cheese at the same time as the nutritional yeast.
Savory grits are delicious all on their own or with a pat of vegan butter.
But they can also be a mouthwatering base layer for any number of bowls.
Load up that grits bowl with any of the following toppings:
- Vegan breakfast sausage & shredded Brussels sprouts (shown above)
- Vegan fried shrimp for a plant based take on shrimp & grits
- Vegan pulled pork with Soy Curls
- Sautéed kale
- Beer battered fried green tomatoes
- Black-eyed peas and collard greens
- Roasted asparagus with chickpeas
- Eggy tofu or tofu scramble instead of fried eggs
- Chickpea scramble
- BBQ jackfruit & collard greens (shown below)
How to store & reheat
Keep leftover grits in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep for about 4 days.
(That makes grits great for meal prep! Make a big batch, and then portion them out throughout the week.)
Grits tend to stiffen as they cool. If they are too firm, stir and add more non-dairy milk until they’ve reached your preferred consistency.
Reheat in the microwave or in a pot on the stove.
- Bring a medium sized pot to a medium heat. Add a drizzle of oil and minced garlic. Saute for a couple of minutes, until fragrant.
- Add water to the pot along with Better Than Bouillon no chicken base. Stir to dissolve the bouillon. Bring to a simmer.
- Slowly pour in the corn grits while stirring constantly to prevent clumping. Add a pinch of salt and dash of pepper. Lower the heat, so that the grits don't splatter.
- Keep stirring frequently for about 6 minutes, until the grits start to thicken, and pull from the edges of the pot when stirred.
- Once it is fairly thick, add nutritional yeast flakes and non-dairy milk. Stir to evenly incorporate all of the ingredients. Continue cooking uncovered for 4 or 5 minutes longer, stirring frequently, until the grits reach your desired consistency.If they get too thick, add more milk. If they're too runny, keep cooking until it condenses to your preferred thickness.
- Turn off the heat, and allow the grits to cool for a couple of minutes. It will continue to thicken as it cools.