Thick, smooth, mild to tasteless, grits are versatile and easy to prepare dish that is similar to polenta and mieliepap. It can be either served as savory or sweet, however savory seasonings are more common.
Originated from Southern cuisine, grits are often served alongside a dinner entrée with shrimp, butter, cream, cheese, and chicken stock or milk. Due to its bland flavor, grits can be paired with many dishes and ingredients.
What to eat with grits? Whether breakfast, lunch, or dinner, grits are an excellent savory dish by serving with beef, griddled breakfast sausage, runny eggs, fried chicken or fish, ham, cheddar cheese, and bacon bits.
On the other hand, grits can be transformed into a sweet dish with fruits such as berries, apples, and sweet potato. In addition, drizzle maple syrup, season with brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla to fulfill your sweet tooth.
Grits are pretty versatile and form an excellent base for different flavors. The mild taste pairs perfectly with any savory or sweet flavors, allowing it to be served as a breakfast meal or an elegant dinner.
Either way, pairing grits with toppings, side dishes and integrating different flavors is a fun way to bring out unique creations. But, what are the most common grit pairings? Well, let’s find out!
How are grits usually served?
Grits can be served savory or sweet for breakfast, or as part of an elegant dinner. Traditionally, grits are started primarily in the South and served with shrimp as a main entrée for dinner, or add sugar in the grits to make a sweet porridge similar to oatmeal.
Depending on the flavor preference, there are various toppings for grits to be either sweet or savory.
- Sweet: butter, cinnamon, raisins, syrup, brown sugar, peanut butter, jam, berries.
- Savory: cheese, fried eggs, bacon, caramelized onion, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, scallions, herbs
What do you put on top of grits?
Topping are a must-have essential to boost the flavor of bland tasting grits, and these ingredients can ultimately change it into a sweet or savory dish.
Here are topping ideas to try on grits:
- Fruits: strawberries, lemon, blueberries, banana, peaches, blackberries, apples
- Dried fruits: raisins, cherries, cranberries, apricots
- Vegetables: mushroom, zucchini, snap peas, radishes, butternut squash, scallion, brussels sprouts, bell pepper, onions, mushroom, tomatoes
- Cheese: cheddar, monterey jack, gouda, parmesan
- Nuts: cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts
- Meat: shredded beef, veal shoulder, pork chop, steak
- Cured meat: bacon, sausage
- Fish: tilapia, catfish, cod, sea bass
- Seafood: shrimp
- Condiments: honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, butter
- Spices: black pepper, curry powder, cinnamon, cajun seasoning
- Herbs: sage, rosemary, basil
What goes well with grits?
Grits are pretty tasty, however pairing them with different sides transforms them from basic to genuinely phenomenal.
If you are looking for classy ways to elevate grits, then try:
- Sautéed greens: Add some crunch and color to the dish by topping with sautéed greens. Serve them with some spicy protein to tone down the spiciness. Go for spices such as pepper, onion, and garlic for that rich, unique flavor.
- Salad: Because it’s hearty, sweet, and fresh, green bean salad is an excellent pairing with grits. Be sure to add pepper, salt, and olive oil to make them tastier, and do not overcook so they remain slightly tender. Adding some herbs and spices such as rosemary and basil are also an excellent idea to give nuance flavor to the dish, but not provide an overwhelming imbalance.
- Corn: Creamed corn dish is the epitome of all comfort foods. It’s savory, rich, and sweet all at once. When paired with grits, creamed corn offers a significant enhancement to the texture.
- Gravy: Even though grits are already goopy and porridgy, gravy is great sauce to pair with ham, shrimp, and bacon to drizzle over and boost the meatiness of the dish.
- Sausage casserole: Blending sausage casserole with grits in a one pan dish makes an easy and delicious meal to serve for breakfast and dinner. Use breakfast sausage to make the dish breakfast specific.
What flavor goes well with grits?
To enhance flavor in grits, switch plain water with other flavor-filled liquids such as chicken broth, vegetable stock, or milk for a quick flavor boost. Adding sweetness and richness to grits, heavy cream, milk, or buttermilk will work wonders.
Adding broth or stock instead of water will do the trick for those who love savory grits. Some rosemary, oregano, thyme, chili, coriander, and black pepper can be added to give the dish umami and earthy flavors with some bitter undertones.
To create exciting base flavors, here are classic combination that go well with grits:
- grits + salsa + butter + eggs + green onions
- grits + sausage + hot sauce + cheddar cheese
- grits + honey + strawberries + milk
- grits + spinach + bacon + corn + chicken
- grits + maple syrup + brown sugar + butter + cinnamon + vanilla
Eat with Grits: Conclusion
Whether you like your breakfast, lunch, and dinner to taste sweet or savory, there are a gazillion possibilities when it comes to flavoring grits.
To make grits a savory dish, add side of beef, breakfast sausage, eggs, fried chicken, fish, ham, cheese, and cured meat.
However, if you would like to serve as sweet breakfast, consider topping with fresh or dried fruits, and garnish with maple syrup, sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.
In Southern cuisine, grits are typically served as savory instead of a sweet dish. However, the base taste of grits are versatile to make into sweet or savory flavor based on your preference.
Even though toppings can immediately transform the flavor, you still need fulfilling sides to make a wholesome meal. These include sautéed hearty greens, fresh salad, creamed corn, gravy, and casserole.
Now that you know the numerous foods and additions that blend perfectly with grits, feel free to experiment with different mix-ins and toppings when preparing grits the next time.