Very creamy vegan grits (with cashew cream)

It's been a busy summer for me, so I've been cooking very simply at home. But being the food lover that I am, simple still has to mean tasty and satisfying, and here’s one recipe that fits the bill.

This is a recipe from a Thrive Kitchen class I taught in February on foods of the African diaspora, adapted from Bryant Terry's cookbook, Afro-Vegan. They’re grits like the grits you might be familiar with, but even better. The grits used here are yellow corn grits, also known as polenta, and they are creamy not only from all the stirring I will insist you do, but from the genius vegan addition of cashew cream. Plant-based eaters will be familiar with cashew cream, but for those of you who are not, consider yourselves introduced! This is nut milk’s creamier cousin and really works well wherever you might use heavy cream. I made these grits at home recently and topped them with roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes, but grilled asparagus and tender peas would also be lovely. This is great for lunch or a light dinner, and could definitely find a place at your brunch table this weekend. Let me know how else you enjoy these. To your health!

Servings: 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup yellow corn grits (stone-ground, not instant)
  • 1/2 cup cashew cream*
  • 1/4 cup minced Italian parsley

* Cashew cream (vegan substitute for heavy cream)

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in enough water to cover until softened, at least four hours, or overnight in the refrigerator
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Directions: Drain soaked cashews. Place cashews and 1/2 cup of fresh water in a blender (high speed is best) and blend until creamy and fluffy.

Directions

  1. Put 3 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. 
  2. Slowly pour in grits, whisking constantly until no lumps remain. Return to a boil, then turn down heat to low. Simmer uncovered, whisking occasionally to prevent sticking, until grits have absorbed most of the liquid and are beginning to thicken, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add remaining 1 cup water and simmer for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally, until most of liquid has been absorbed. 
  4. Stir in the cashew cream, cover, and simmer, whisking frequently, until soft and fluffy, another 15 to 30 minutes.
  5. Add parsley and whisk to combine.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 135
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Sodium: 278 g
  • Sugar: 0 g

Cashew cream (per tablespoon): 

  • Calories: 58
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Sodium: 1 g
  • Sugar: 0

Contributor

Linda Shiue, MD