This recipe offers a lighter take on cheese grits without sacrificing flavor, and incorporates some veggies to get your morning started off right. They are the perfect addition to any breakfast or brunch menu!
Why you should make Cheesy Garlic Grits with Kale and Tomatoes.
Cheesy grits have always been one of my favorite breakfast foods, but most versions are heavy and make me feel sluggish afterward, which is not my favorite. These grits include cheese, but they don’t include the typical butter or milk, which can weigh you down when combined with the grits.
Instead, I add fresh garlic to the grits as they cook to ensure that they still pack plenty of flavor, then sauté more garlic (you can never really have enough), kale and cherry tomatoes, because adding vegetables to my breakfast makes me feel better about the fact that I’m not one of those people who works out in the mornings.
Pro Tips/Things to Know About This Recipe:
Which grits are best to use for this recipe?
You can use any grits that you like—stone-ground or quick 5-minute grits. Personally, I prefer to use the quick grits just to cut down on time, especially when I’m just cooking for myself. The biggest difference between the two is that stone ground grits have much larger granules compared to quick grits, so you will get a more chewy consistency compared to quick grits.
The trade off is that stone ground grits can take 40 to 50 minutes to cook, where as quick grits only take about 5 to 10 minutes depending on your desired consistency. This recipe calls for quick grits because, personally, I have a 9-5 and plant babies to take care of and I don’t have time for that.
What cheese should I use for this recipe?
The classic cheese to use in cheese grits is cheddar, or a cheddar blend (unless you’re using American cheese for some reason) because it adds a saltiness to the recipe. That said, because cheddar tends to be a denser cheese, it’s best to have it shredded. It’s totally fine to use pre-shredded cheese, but, of course, freshly shredded is always better for melting and incorporating into recipes like this. When I’m in a pinch, I buy a four-cheese blend that includes cheddar from the grocery store.
The salt levels in this recipe assume you are using a cheese blend. No matter what cheese you’re using, be sure to add and stir in your cheese first and taste before adding your salt to make sure that you don’t over salt.
Which Kale Is best for this recipe?
You can really use any kind of adult kale you want (curly, Lacinto or otherwise) as they should all be able to hold up to sautéing. However, I would advise against using baby kale, as it won’t hold up as well after it’ is cooked.
Can I Use Adult Tomatoes instead of baby tomatoes? Does it matter the type?
You can use adult tomatoes, teenage tomatoes, or infant tomatoes that come in red, orange, green, yellow or purple. Whatever your preference. The only thing that matters is that they can hold up to a few minutes of sautéing.
- For Grits
- 4 cups of water
- 1 cup of dry quick grits
- 2 large garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 cup of shredded cheese blend
- ½ teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
- For Kale and Tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, sliced
- 12-14 large cherry tomatoes, quartered
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 cups of rough chopped kale (no stems or spines)
- In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Once boiling, stir in grits. Allow to boil for about 5 minutes on medium-low heat.
- Once grits look mostly cooked, add in sliced garlic and cheese, and stir to combine.
- Once cheese is melted and garlic is cooked (soft), taste and add salt.
- Sautee Garlic, Kale and Cherry Tomatoes
- In a pan, heat olive oil on low heat. Once heated, add sliced garlic, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until slightly golden brown with some white in the center.
- Once mostly cooked, add tomatoes and salt to taste. Allow to cook until browned (about 3-4 minutes).
- Once cooked, add kale, salt to taste and sautee, stirring frequently. Remove from heat once just cooked.
- Spoon over servings of grits and serve immediately.