It’s been my experience that not many folks outside of the south eat grits regularly. You may not have even ever seen or even heard of them before, but you don’t know what you are missing. The most well-known recipe I can think of with grits is Shrimp and Grits, a Louisiana favorite, but my experience is mostly with breakfast grits. Spinach garlic grits is a spin on one my favorite grit recipes, cheesy grits.
What are grits?
Grits is essentially coarsely ground corn. It is similar in many ways to polenta. The biggest difference between these two is the color and texture. Grits are made from white corn and polenta from yellow corn. And as far as texture, the polenta is usually more coarse than grits. In the South, grits for breakfast are usually more savory and often topped with butter and salt. In this recipe for spinach garlic grits, the cheesy, umami flavor comes from nutritional yeast.
Southern settlers learned about grits from local Indian tribes in the southeastern wooded areas of the United States. It still remains primarily a Southern food even today, when three-quarters of all the grits are sold in the south. And in Georgia (my southern roots) grits are so important and popular they were declared an official prepared food in 2002.
Cooking and eating grits
I don’t usually eat grits with sweetness added though maybe that is a thing for some folks. Usually I keep it super simple, just butter and salt. But sometimes, I get a little jazzy and throw in some cheese and garlic. I also like to throw in some veggies for breakfast for an extra nutrition boost, and almost always, my grits are topped with a runny poached or fried egg.
And if you have leftover grits, simply put them in a pan or square container and refrigerate. When they are cold you can easily slice them and fry it up for another meal. I remember my dad doing this when I was little and serving them with syrup drizzled over – the only time I recall sweet grits.
When buying grits, select the quick version over the instant. Simply for better flavor and texture. You can’t beat a hot cereal that’s ready in five minutes. You can also splurge on stoneground grits which will take a little longer to cook but worth it for the flavor and texture. Below you will find one of my favorite brands.
One note, is grits don’t travel great as they tend to thicken and firm up when you let them sit for too long. Adding some additional liquid when you are heating the grits up to eat is a simple solution to this problem.
Poaching your eggs
I’ve never had much luck poaching eggs. The method I was taught in school and that I’ve always relied is the whirling water with vinegar method. But I always found that the eggs turned out kind of stringy and didn’t always have that great of a shape or have the level of doneness I prefer.
Recently I ran across an article that tested out some various methods for poaching eggs and rated them for ease and appearance. So I tried out a new way this time around with fabulous results. I found it to be way simpler than my past technique and for the first time ever, my eggs turned out perfectly cooked both from a texture and appearance standpoint. Keep reading for step by step instructions for this method.
In this recipe for spinach garlic grits, sautéed spinach and garlic are mixed into grits with a bit of nutritional yeast to give the grits more umami flavor. The grits are then topped off with poached eggs!
Spinach Garlic Grits with Poached Egg
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup grits
- 1 T nutritional yeast
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups fresh spinach leaves julienned
- 2 eggs
- Everything bagel seasoning optional
- Heat 2 cups of lightly salted water over medium high heat until it boils.
- Stir in grits preventing lumps from forming. Cover with lid and reduce heat to medium low.
- Cook for five minutes or until grits are done, stirring frequently to prevent grits from sticking or forming lumps. Halfway through cooking time, add nutritional yeast and stir to combine.
- When grits are ready, remove from heat and leave covered with lid until the rest of the meal is ready.
- Heat olive oil in a medium skillet. When hot add garlic and cook for 30 seconds then add spinach and cook until the leaves are wilted.
- Stir spinach into grits. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your taste. Leave grits and spinach in pot with lid on while eggs cook.
- Place 1 ½ inches of water into a pan and bring to a light boil.
- Crack your eggs into individual ramekins and then slide each egg into the boiling water.
- Once all your eggs are in the water, cover and turn off the heat. Allow to stand for 3-5 minutes depending on how runny or firm you want your eggs.
- When eggs are just about ready, place grits onto a plate or bowl.
- When eggs are ready, gently remove from the water with slotted spoon or spatula and place an egg on top of each bowl of grits.
- When eggs are ready, spoon grits into a bowl and top with poached eggs.
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Here are some product recommendations from me when cooking this post. The first product is perfect if you just don’t have the patience for poaching your own eggs. Simply consider buying an egg poaching pan. I received one as a gift years back and it definitely simplifies the process greatly.
The second product are some authentic Georgia stone ground grits. Of course you can stick with your grocery store quick grits but these are the real deal authentic grits. They take a little longer to cook so keep that in mind but the flavor and texture is totally worth it.
And last, is my favorite brand of nutritional yeast that I keep stocked in my cabinet.
Did you make this recipe for spinach garlic grits? Tell me what you thought of the cooking experience and the results. Was this your first attempt with grits? I’d love to hear from you about this recipe and what else you’d like to see here on the blog.
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