Ok, so here’s the thing, this is an old family recipe that often came out for parties and BBQ’s. It is a recipe I grew up loving and was always exceptionally excited about when it graced the table. However, since I gave up dairy a year and a half ago I haven’t had them. I have adapted many old favorites using dairy substitutes or simply took out the dairy components, but had not gotten around to this one yet.
When a group of friends hosted a pot-luck dinner a few weeks ago, this was the first recipe that popped into my head. They said BBQ chicken and I instantly though cheese grits! So, I decided to see if I could make this with soy substitutes. I tweaked the recipe my mom gave me: adding onion and bell pepper and taking out the “soft garlic cheese.” Fortunately I ended up with a crowd pleaser and came home with an empty pan. So of course I immediately started think about what I could do to improve them. This is take two and I love how they turned out!
For those of you who aren’t dairy-challenged, I would definitely advise adding some kind of soft herbal cheese to this. Goat cheese would be a wonderful addition. My mom always used a soft garlic cheese. Either way, it makes them wonderfully creamy and that much more irresistible.
Garlic Cheese Grits
I used a combination of cheddar soy cheese and aged gruyere (aging cheeses dramatically reduces the amount of lactose it contains). I also added 1/2 a red bell pepper the first time and think it’s a great, if unnecessary, addition.
4 c. water
1 c. quick grits
¾ c. frozen chopped spinach
½ lg yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic
2 Tbs butter
1 ½ c. shredded cheese
Melt butter in a saute pan over medium heat, add onions and garlic and saute, pepper to taste.
While onions are cooking bring water and chopped spinach to a boil, once boiling add grits and stir. Let cook until the grits have thickened.
Add the onions and cheese into the grits and mix until the cheese is completely melted.
Crack the eggs into a bowl, add a spoonful of grits mixture to temper the eggs (this prevents them from turning into scrambled eggs) and whisk together, then slowly mix into the grits.
Pour grits mixture into a baking dish and top liberally with paprika, bake at 425° for 45 minutes.