Well, it’s official! We’re on spring break, and to celebrate my dad’s 70th birthday we all flew into Atlanta for the week. Parents, siblings, spouses, grandkids. It’s been a really fun filled and packed 6 days.
Every time I come down to this part of the country I can’t believe how fast this city is growing. There are tons of new restaurants, parks, places to hang out…. One of the things I miss most about living in the south are the amazing grits at some of the best breakfast spots in town.
So while it may be close to midnight, after a long day out, the boys are playing ping pong downstairs, the kids are fast a sleep up top and I’m hanging in the kitchen, with tea in one hand, whipping up a batch of my favorite vegan grits with the other. How nice it is to be home, in an empty kitchen, and still on west coast time.
These vegan grits are so easy to make you can do it with one hand. They’re creamy, smooth, luxurious, and topped with so much color that they make a beautiful and tasty dish all in one shot. Each component may take a few minutes to put together but I promise you every used pot it totally worth the effort.
I love that this version of Roots and Grits is super healthy, vegan and totally gluten free. It’s makes both a great breakfast as well as a late night meal, and the smooth natural sweetness of the reduced balsamic puts this version way over the top.
You can use any combination of root vegetables you like but the yams, carrots and parsnips are my personal favorites. I’ve been whipping up this dish for years since we left the south. It’s takes me back whenever I want the comfort of southern food but without the grease and fat that usually come along with it. Try it and I promise your brunch guests will be asking to take home the leftovers!
- 1 parsnip, peeled and diagnally sliced
- 3 purple carrots, peeled and diagonally sliced
- 1 small yam, peeled and diagonally sliced
- 2 tsp oil
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 4 cups water
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1⅓ cup Bob's Red Mill Corn Grits (polenta)
- 4 tbsp earth balance (or butter)
- 4 tbsp vegan parmesan cheese (or regular parm)
- ½ cup good quality balsamic vinegar
- 2 large leeks, white and green, chopped
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 tsp chopped chives
- 4 tsp chopped flat leaf parsley
- Preheat the oven to 400 deg C and then toss the parsnip, carrots, and yam with the oil, salt and pepper in a baking dish. Bake for 20 minuted, stirring a few times, and set aside.
- Meanwhile in a medium sauce pan and add the water and salt for the grits. Bring to a boil and slowly whisk in the corn grits. Let cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then whisk in the earth balance (butter) and parmesan. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
- For the leeks, heat a small saute pan on high heat and add the oil. Once hot, immediately add the leeks and saute, stirring, for a few minutes until cooked and golden. Remove form heat and set aside.
- Next, pour the balsamic into a small sauce pan and heat on medium-high heat for about 8 to 10 minutes. The balsamic will bubble as it cooks and reduce to about half.
- Assemble in layers. Grits, then root veggies, then drizzle with the balsamic glaze and sprinkle on the chives and parsley. Finally top with the crispy leeks and serve immediately.