Serves a Crowd

Southern Grits and Greens Casserole

December  7, 2010
4 Ratings
  • Serves A Crowd
Author Notes

As a child growing up in rural Alabama, every Christmas morning we would travel 30 minutes to my grandmother's house in 'town'. When we arrived at my grandmother's there was always a large helping of Aunt Sallie's cheese grits waiting. I could not resist making our family grits Christmas tradition into a one-dish meal with greens and bacon. It does not get any more Southern than that! You are welcome to make this a complete vegetarian meal, but I would not recommend it as the bacon adds so much flavor to the casserole. If you cannot find grits, polenta can be subbed. This recipe was inspired by an old recipe in EatingWell magazine. - Table9 —Table9

Test Kitchen Notes

Table9’s Southern Grits and Greens Casserole is a perfect choice for holiday breakfast fare; it is festive, flavorful and filling. Think hearty, yet tender, steamed collards sandwiched between layers of creamy, cheesy grits—wait, it gets better! Table9 ups the ante on this classic dish by adding crispy bacon bits and piquant salsa to her grits. For me, this is what made this dish special and why I will make it again—and soon—is that it put smiles on the faces of my family, even the little ones who usually prefer not to eat cheese, greens (the boy) or grits (the girl). So this is my kind of food magic. My only suggestion is to double the recipe for a party of six or more. Although Table9 says that this serves a crowd, the zeal with which my family of six enjoyed her dish left nothing for lunch. —gingerroot

What You'll Need
  • 2 teaspoons Good Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Red Onion, Finely Chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 pound Chopped Collard or Mustard Greens (Spinach can be subbed)
  • Splash of Hot Sauce
  • 2 cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • 1 cup Stone Ground Grits (Do not use Instant)
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 3/4 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup Gouda, grated
  • 1/4 cup Mild Salsa
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 4 Slices of Crispy Bacon, Finely Chopped (Optional,Can make this a Vegetarian Dish)
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 4 Cloves of Fresh Garlic, Minced
  • Dash of Fresh Nutmeg
  1. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees and grease an 8 inch square pan.
  2. In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and reduce heat to medium-low until garlic starts to brown - keep an eye on the garlic so it does not burn.
  3. Bring 1 cup of vegetable broth, splash of hot sauce and pinch of salt to a boil in saucepan. Add greens and stir to coat with oil, garlic and onion. Cover and cook, stir frequently, until greens are tender. If greens begin to stick or seem dry add water.
  4. While the greens are wilting, bring water, remaining cup of vegetable broth and whole milk to a boil in a separate pot. Once boiling, slowly add grits - stirring constantly to make sure they do not clump. Add unsalted butter and combine.
  5. Bring grits to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce to medium low and cook until thick - stirring often.
  6. Combine gouda, bacon, 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar, salt, pepper, salsa and the beaten egg in a small bowl.
  7. Remove grits from heat once cooked. Add egg mixture to grits. Combine well.
  8. Spread half of the grits mixture in the baking dish. Top with the greens, sprinkle dash of nutmeg over greens, then remaining grits, then sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool and refrigerate overnight if needed. Cover casserole and warm in the oven (may need to add a tablespoon of whole milk or water and stir before heating up, if casserole seems dry).
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23 Reviews

Splendid S. June 14, 2012
This sounds tasty, and I'm trying it tonight. But it is an awkwardly written recipe. Shouldn't the garlic be with the onions in the list of ingredients, so you know how much to add, without having to scroll down? And Step 3 is not at all clear - do you add the greens to the pan with the broth, or the pan with the oil/garlic/onions? Or, will you add that broth to the greens? Why heat it in a saucepan then? I think I've got it all working fine, but it is confusing.
stephanie September 7, 2011
i had collards in my CSA share last week, and after some poking around for ideas, I made this. it is sooo good! more collards this week, and there is no question i will make it again.
KingKelsey July 4, 2011
so so so so delicious.
Hark February 28, 2011
Fantastic. I used white pepper instead of black, pepper jack cheese in lieu of gouda, and shallots in lieu of red onion (more out of necessity than choice). Great comfort food.
Table9 March 1, 2011
Yummm...I love pepper jack cheese! I bet it was so delicious. I will have to try it your way next time.
dorifern February 12, 2011
This is utterly delicious. I tinkered, adding chicken stock for the veggie (I had it), 1/2 cup buttermilk to 1-1/2 skim milk (again, I had it). Added boiling water as needed during cooked to keep the grits moist. I made a tomatillo-plum tomato salsa, used pepper jack for the gouda. I chiffonaded the greens and cooked them and the onions (had plenty of garlic in the salsa) in the bacon fat, then added some water and simmered while the grits cooked. To ensure creaminess, I placed the pan in a pre-heated water bath before cooking, then after the 20 minutes removed the pan from the batch and placed it for a minute under the broiler until it bubbled and started to brown.
Table9 March 1, 2011
That sounds divine! So glad you got creative with the cooking process and ingredients dorifern!
halfasiangirl December 16, 2010
Oh gosh, grits and bacon AND greens. I grew up in Huntsville, AL so these ingredients sound wonderful to me :)
Table9 December 17, 2010
That is wonderful. I live in Greensboro, Alabama right now. Thanks for the post.
luvcookbooks December 9, 2010
my mom is from tennessee. love seeing your recipes, reminds me of visiting her relatives and eating pulled pork barbecue sandwiches and grits for the first time as a teen.
Table9 December 9, 2010
Yummm...You actually could sub the greens in this recipe for pulled pork and it would be amazing!
Sagegreen December 8, 2010
Having living in the south for a year, you can get kinda fond of these tastes for life! This sounds lovely.
Table9 December 9, 2010
Thanks a lot Sagegreen. I am with you!
lastnightsdinner December 8, 2010
This sounds lovely - my kind of breakfast!
Table9 December 8, 2010
So sweet, thank you. I hope you have time to try it over this holiday season.
Table9 December 8, 2010
Thanks so much Midge. Where do you live now that you cannot get great Southern food?
Midge December 8, 2010
I live in Boston. Luckily a South Carolina friend just sent me a supply of stone-ground grits, so I'll be trying this in the near future.
Table9 December 8, 2010
Oh yeah! I lived in Charleston for 3 years and could not get enough of stone ground grits. That is so exciting!
Midge December 8, 2010
I lived there for four years. Miss that place!
Midge December 8, 2010
All the tasty things I miss about the South in one dish. Sounds great, Table9.
lastnightsdinner December 8, 2010
Midge, have you tried Hungry Mother? Some friends of ours were in town last week and I think they ate there three times! I've heard really good things about their Southern-inspired food.
Midge December 8, 2010
I have been to Hungry Mother and loved it. They even get boiled peanuts right. May have to go back soon..
Table9 December 8, 2010
Yummm....I love boiled peanuts! My mother makes them every Saturday. Wish there was a Hungry Mother in Alabama.