Savory Grits

I find most people eat grits with a sweet breakfast, but I’ve been playing with savory combinations like this one! Savory Grits and Variations on the Southern Classic can include shrimp, pork chops, fried green tomatoes, or roasted tomatoes and garlic… the possibilities are endless with this versatile southern favorite!

My mom grew up in Charlotte, but I grew up in Pittsburgh until I was 13. Because mama was a Southern Girl living in the north, she started my love of grits at an early age. It was not uncommon for her to cook a big farm breakfast complete with grits, eggs, and my great grandmothers bread. Our northern neighbors would look at us and say “what is a grit?”, and she would educate as we ate!

This Southern Classic dish lends itself to many variations both sweet and savory, but I want to focus on the savory! Here are some ideas of what you can put on top of grits:

Savory Grits, Variations on the Southern Classic

Braised Short Ribs and Thyme Mushrooms

Savory Grits, Variations on the Southern Classic

Sautéed Garlic Shrimp

Savory Grits, Variations on the Southern Classic

Fried Green Tomatoes

Stoneground grits are made from whole dried corn kernels that have been coarsely ground the old-fashioned way: between the two stones of a grist mill. Because the entire kernel is ground, stone-ground grits often have a speckled appearance, and a more toothsome texture and rich corn flavor!

Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic: Toss cherry tomatoes (or halved plum tomatoes), halved garlic bulbs, and pealed shallots with EVOO, generous salt and pepper, and fresh thyme. Roast at 400 degrees until the tomatoes pop and the smell is ah-mazing! These tomatoes are also perfect for topping toast, tossing with pasta, or to put on your morning eggs.

The recipe below combines some of my favorite things; Bursting Tomatoes with Garlic and Snacking Peppers that are roasted all piled on top of a bowl of grits garnished with green onion.

If you enjoyed this Savory recipe, I’m sure these others will tickle your fancy:

Savory Grits, Variations on the Southern Classic

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

A savory take on the southern classic, stone ground grits. Roasted tomatoes and garlic are topping savory grits lending to a versatile base for other favorites like shrimp, pork chops, eggs... the possibilities are endless.


  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup grits (stone-ground, not instant or quick)
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons butter (unsalted, cut into pieces
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 small head of garlic, cloves peeled
  • Hand full of small snacking peppers (optional)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper for Seasoning
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Add 4 1/2 cups of water to a medium saucepan. Add salt and bring it to a boil over high heat. Gradually stir in stone-ground grits.
  3. Continue stirring and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 40 to 50 minutes, or until the grits are very thick. Depending on the grind, cooking can take longer. (As the grits thicken, they can scorch easily, so be sure to stir often. If the grits absorb all of the water before they are done, add more hot water as needed.)
  4. Beat in butter and freshly ground black pepper, if desired.
  5. As the grits cook, toss cherry tomatoes, garlic cloves, and snacking peppers in olive oil and salt. Roast at 400 degrees until the tomatoes pop and the garlic softens. This should take about 30 minutes.
  6. Arrange Grits in the bottom of a bowl and top with the roasted tomatoes, garlic, and peppers. Garnish with green onion for color, serve hot!
  7. NOTE: Feel free to add shrimp, chicken, pork chops etc. to this dish as well, it pairs well with anything making it perfect for brunch or dinner!

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Savory Grits, Variations on the Southern Classic

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