Breakfast/ Entrees/ Recipes/ Sides/ Snacks/ vegetarian recipes

Smoked Cheddar Grits with Broiled Heirloom Tomatoes

Smoked Cheddar Grits with Broiled Heirloom Tomatoes Recipe

Smoked Cheddar Grits with Broiled Heirloom TomatoesThis recipe for creamy, cheesy smoked cheddar grits topped with slices of heirloom tomatoes, then broiled to perfection, is so delicious!

Finally Exploring North Carolina

We’ve lived in North Carolina for a little over two years now and we still haven’t had the chance to explore very much. One of the reasons we were so excited about moving here is that there seemed to be so much more to do in the area—well, at least compared to Wisconsin. (No offense, Wisconsin.) We had plans to drive to the mountains or coast once a month, to do weekend trips to Virginia and Washington DC. And in two years, we’ve hardly done any of that. Kind of sad, right?

It seems like there’s always something getting in the way of this stuff—working longer hours than we should, spending weekends running errands or doing things around the house, that kind of thing. And then before you know it, you’ve lived someplace for two years and you haven’t even seen it. So I’m making it my goal for the rest of the year to see more North Carolina sights, do more North Carolina things, and eat more North Carolina food.

Coarse Yellow GritsThe Grit on Grits

Like grits! I first tried them last month—I ordered a veggie burger and the options for sides were fries, a baked potato, or cheddar grits, and on impulse, I replied “Grits!” when the server asked which I wanted. And then as soon as he walked away, I thought, “Oh crap, why did I just order grits? Who eats grits with a burger?!” But I ended up loving them, which shouldn’t have been a surprise since I love polenta too, which is kind of similar. Hooray for corn-based porridge!

Smoked Cheddar Grits with Broiled Heirloom Tomatoes
I used a local brand of yellow grits (Julia’s Pantry Organic Yellow Grits) in this recipe, although traditionally grits are usually white. You can use quick cooking grits too if you prefer—just follow the directions on the package, since they’ll have a much shorter cooking time. After the grits were finished cooking, I whisked in some smoked cheddar cheese, divided them into large ramekins, and topped each one with a slice of heirloom tomato that I had bought at the farmers market that morning. I’m not a fan of raw tomatoes, so I put the ramekins under the broiler until the tomatoes were soft and just beginning to blister.

I don’t think I’m going to be trying North Carolina barbecue anytime soon and if I do the whole biscuits-and-gravy thing, I’m going to have to figure out how to pull off a vegetarian version, but grits will definitely be a staple in our pantry from now on.

Print

Smoked Cheddar Grits with Broiled Heirloom Tomatoes

Smoked Cheddar Grits with Broiled Heirloom Tomatoes Recipe

Creamy cheddar grits topped with broiled heirloom tomatoes.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups reduced-fat milk
  • 1 cup grits
  • 2/3 cup smoked cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices heirloom tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Bring the water and milk to a boil in a large saucepan. Whisk in the grits, cover, and reduce heat to low. Stir often and cook until thick and creamy, 30–45 minutes.
  2. Preheat broiler. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in the cheese, garlic, and butter, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide the grits into four large ramekins that have been sprayed with oil or cooking spray. (If you don’t have large ramekins or mini cocottes, about 6 small ramekins will work.) Top each ramekin with a slice of tomato, lightly spray the tomato with oil, then sprinkle a little additional salt and pepper on top.
  4. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and broil for 5–10 minutes, or until the tomato is softened and starting to blister.

This post was originally published on 19 August 2013.

You Might Also Like

89 Comments

  • Reply
    Anele @ Success Along the Weigh
    August 19, 2013 at 8:05 am

    I don’t know that I ever really gave grits a good shot. But smoked cheddar would make a boot taste good so I’m down!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 20, 2013 at 9:22 pm

      You should give them another try! 😀

  • Reply
    Alexis @ Hummusapien
    August 19, 2013 at 8:31 am

    I absolutely loved grits as a kid, but somehow I moved away from them as adult. I bet these are unreal with all that smoked cheddar!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 20, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      Smoked cheddar is so good. I love it because you can get away with adding less cheese when you use it because it’s so flavorful. 🙂

  • Reply
    Martina
    August 19, 2013 at 9:23 am

    I tried grits the first week I moved to SC and I have to say I wasn’t a fan – no in fairness they were plain white grits but it just tasted like salty oatmeal to me….smoked cheesy grits sounds better but I think I’ll be sticking to Irish fare like potatoes for a while yet!

    Oh but I would love to try the veggie buscuits and gravy if you do veg it up – that’s always on specials down here too
    Martina

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 20, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      Ha! I don’t think I’d care for them plain either. Cheesy grits are more my thing. 🙂

  • Reply
    Louisa
    August 19, 2013 at 9:27 am

    I’m an Aussie so I’ve never encountered grits before… I do love polenta though, so perhaps I should give them a try!

    On the subject of vegetarian biscuits and gravy, A Beautiful Mess posted this recipe a while ago and it sounds pretty delish: http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2012/12/buttermilk-biscuits-and-mushroom-gravy.html.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 20, 2013 at 9:19 pm

      Thank you for the link! 🙂

  • Reply
    dixya| food, pleasure, and health
    August 19, 2013 at 9:41 am

    I love grits, polenta anything corn based and cheese is a MUST.

  • Reply
    Caitlin
    August 19, 2013 at 9:50 am

    i love polenta so i have to imagine i’d love grits! i love the idea of putting them in ramkins, topping them with tomato, and broiling! totally trying that.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 20, 2013 at 9:19 pm

      Yup, if you like polenta, I bet you will like grits too!

  • Reply
    Hannah @TalesFromTheLastFrontier
    August 19, 2013 at 10:13 am

    These look delicious! I’ve had basic quick grits but smoked cheddar grits sound amazing. And, by adding the tomato it totally makes it into more of a “meal-type” food. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 20, 2013 at 9:19 pm

      It definitely makes a filling breakfast! 🙂

  • Reply
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell
    August 19, 2013 at 10:14 am

    I’m with you about not particularly liking raw tomatoes, so your broiling to blistering is alright with me. I’m a newb to those there grits though, but you make ’em look mighty appealing. And I just totally launched into a southern accent for which I now ask your forgiveness.

    On the topic of NC BBQ, girl….bring along your own sauce. It’s what I do.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 20, 2013 at 9:18 pm

      Isn’t NC BBQ sauce mustard-based? That is just nasty.

  • Reply
    Robin Gagnon {Mom Foodie}
    August 19, 2013 at 10:40 am

    I’ve never made grits, but picked up a package of quick grits awhile back, figuring they must be like the fast food version, but WTH, at least I’d try them. Well, yesterday I got the urge to try using them in something (a dessert actually), and apparently time had flown by far faster than I thought. The expiration date on the quickie grits was almost a year ago.

    I think my foodie card is in thin ice after this episode, whether because I bought quick grits or let them expire I’m not sure, but either way, color me shamed 😛

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 20, 2013 at 9:18 pm

      I’ve never had quick grits, but I always use instant polenta. I don’t care if it’s not authentic, it’s instant. INSTANT!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    August 19, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Never tried grits, but everytime I hear about them, I’m reminded of the scene from “my cousin Vinny”! sorry to digress, the yellow color in your picture is soo appealing!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 20, 2013 at 9:17 pm

      Someone else mentioned that too! I’ve never seen that whole movie, only parts, so I don’t remember it!

  • Reply
    Katherine
    August 19, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Oh, how I miss Southern food!! Though not all of the dishes are vegetarian friendly, that’s for sure. There’s a restaurant in NYC that does a play on Southern fried steak (chicken) using seitan, and it comes with vegan biscuits and gravy:

    ~ southern fried seitan, herb and cheese biscuits, gravy, sautéed kale
    http://blossomnyc.com/cafecarmine_lunch.php

    You should definitely give it a try — I think you’ll like the resulting flavors. 🙂

    Katherine

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 20, 2013 at 9:11 pm

      Everyone is asking me to do biscuits and gravy now, so I think I’m going to have to! 🙂 I’m totally on board with including kale too.

  • Reply
    Erica {Coffee & Quinoa}
    August 19, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Love this! I think I’ve only tried grits once, but would love to try making them at home. So gorgeous with the heirloom tomatoes!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 20, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      They are so easy to make–definitely worth it! 🙂

  • Reply
    Amanda Gilds
    August 19, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Oh we love grits in our house…we are in Florida..you know, south of the Deep South. Anyway…I grew up eating them often, cooked on the stove or instant cheese ones at my great-grandma’s. My 3 year old LOVES them and has actually had days where he eats ‘grips’ with every meal (on Mommy’s not really wanting to cook real meal days). We eat them for dinner with toast and fruit several times a month. They are filling and cheap!

    I am a grits purist, just like them with butter, salt and occasionally cheese. I really need to branch out and try a grits casserole or your recipe above!

    • Reply
      Amanda Gilds
      August 19, 2013 at 11:50 am

      OH and I also taught my mid-western Mother in Law to eat them our way…not the sugar and milk way like they do up north.

      • Reply
        Kiersten
        August 20, 2013 at 9:08 pm

        Do they really put sugar and milk in grits up north?! Oh, that sounds dreadful. 😉

        • Reply
          Amanda Gilds
          August 20, 2013 at 10:19 pm

          Well..Northern lady…do they? Hehe. My friend from Chicago eats them that way. I didn’t try grits while we were in Wisconsin a few years ago..:)

          • Kiersten
            August 22, 2013 at 5:19 pm

            I grew up around Chicago and I don’t think I’ve ever seen them on a menu up there, so I’m not sure. Maybe they do??? 🙂

  • Reply
    katie
    August 19, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Yum!! I love cheddar cheese grits and I love the idea of Broiled Heirloom Tomatoes on top!

  • Reply
    Jad @ New South Food Co.
    August 19, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    What a genius way to enjoy 2 of my favorite things! Tomatoes and grits!

  • Reply
    Kaper's in WI
    August 19, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Just have to say, offense taken you really should have spent time investigating Wisconsin. Three Great Lakes, ice age trail, glorious CSA farms, fabulous cycling, hiking, camping, sailing…come back as a tourist and you’ll be amazed at the beauty.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 20, 2013 at 9:06 pm

      I wasn’t completely serious when I said that–we lived in Madison, which is a beautiful city and there’s lots to do there. (And I’m a proud Badger!) But when we moved to the East Coast, we were in awe over how many big cities and activities would be within a short driving distance, and that we could take a day trip to the ocean in one direction and the mountains in the other. Growing up in the midwest, the nearest cities were always at least a day’s drive away!

  • Reply
    Meg @ Beard and Bonnet
    August 19, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    I love grits and this recipe sounds divine! Thanks for sharing:)

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    August 19, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    We have several garden tomatoes sitting in the kitchen at the moment…guess what they’ll be used for later? 🙂 I’m like you, I’m not a huge fan of raw tomatoes either (except maybe if they’re verrrry thinly sliced, with thick chunks of fresh mozzarella, some basil and olive oil, then yes). Cheesy grits, oh my lord, cannot wait to have this!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 20, 2013 at 9:01 pm

      Yay, I hope you like them! I always feel like I’m alone in my dislike of fresh tomatoes–I don’t know what it is about them.

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    August 19, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    A very delicious and different grits recipe.

  • Reply
    Kerri
    August 19, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Grits! I was sure to take a couple of boxes of the instant kind when I moved to the West Coast. Mmm..

    Please do a biscuits and gravy recipe! I would love you forever.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 20, 2013 at 8:59 pm

      I am going to do biscuits and gravy! I hope I’ll be able to post it next month, but that depends on how many tries it takes to get it right. 😉

  • Reply
    Kim of Mo'Betta
    August 19, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    I’ve lived in NC almost my entire life, and both sides of my family are born and bred Southerners, so needless to say…grits are my world. LOVE them, as do my girls. My son hasn’t developed a taste for them yet, I think it’s a texture thing, but I feel confident he’ll come around! Shrimp and grits are amazing, and this sounds really good too. We love cheese as much as we love grits 🙂

    Biscuits and gravy would be easy to make vegetarian…I’m thinking sage and black pepper to give the gravy some flavor (cuz it’s pretty bland without the sausage). I’m sure you will come up with something fabulous if you give it a go!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 20, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      I’m going to have to do a biscuits and gravy recipe now, so I’ve been thinking about it. 🙂 I usually make my gravy with mushrooms, but I wanted to try something different. I LOVE a good, peppery gravy, so I like that idea…

  • Reply
    Viswa
    August 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Visually It looks stunning

  • Reply
    Maria Tadic
    August 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    I love grits!! The idea of adding a smoked cheese sounds SOOO good!! I’m really excited to try that next!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 20, 2013 at 8:56 pm

      Smoked cheese makes everything better! 😀

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    August 19, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    I’ve actually never tried grits but these sound so good, love that heirloom tomato topper!

  • Reply
    ratgirl
    August 19, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Yellow corn grits are far superior to white and are tricky to come by outside of the South. You can visit an old water mill in Durham that has been grinding them on the same equipment for 100+ years. The recipe looks neat…I’ll have to look into veganizing it! 🙂 My favorite way to eat grits, though, is with maple syrup or just salt and pepper and nothing else. They really can stand on their own.

    It sounds like we’re nearly neighbors, since I’m in Raleigh, with my husband, cats, dog, degus, chinchilla, turtles, and foster rats (all rescues, of course…and people still think only dogs and cats show up at the shelter!) I know what you mean about not getting out and doing everything you plan to, but even on a slower schedule, you can see a lot of cool stuff around here. Have fun!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 20, 2013 at 8:56 pm

      I think this could be easily veganized with Daiya cheese and maybe a touch of liquid smoke or smoked salt. I’ve never tried grits with maple syrup–I am intrigued!

      We’re in Wake Forest, with 4 rescue cats. High fives for rescues! (I’m going to have to Google degus, though.) 🙂

    1 2 3

    Leave a Reply

    Oh My Veggies