Kwanzaa Culinarians

Recipes and Food Stories from the African Diaspora

Creamy Cheesy Yellow Grits with Roast Brussel Sprouts and Sausage

Creamy Cheesy Yellow Grits with Roast Brussel Sprouts and Sausage
Thank the Native American tribes located in Southern United States for introducing early American settlers to grits, a common breakfast made from corn. Eventually, descendants of African slaves would turn grits into one of the great Southern dishes. Today, instant grits are easier to find then the better tasting stone-ground version. In recent years, there’s been a resurgence of grits showing up on menus because of Southern cuisine being the trend du jour. What does this dish have to do with Kwanzaa? As a slow-cooked ingredient, stone-ground grits are usually made on weekends in the company of close friends and family in the spirit of Umoja. It’s a Kwanzaa principle meaning “Unity,” and “building a community that holds together.” And, grits is an African-American soul food dish with farm to table roots. Instead of making the popular shrimp with grits, try eating grits with roast vegetables, such as this Creamy Cheese Yellow Grits with Roast Brussel Sprouts and Sausage in the following recipe.

Recipe Originally appeared on

Creamy Cheesy Yellow Grits with Roast Brussel Sprouts and Sausage
Inspired by The View from Great Island.
Olive oil or butter; as needed
Sea salt and fresh black pepper; as needed
Crushed red pepper; optional and as needed
1 lb. fresh brussel sprouts; quartered
1 cup diced fennel
1 cup diced yellow onion
Sausage (turkey, chicken or pork); vertically cut in half
1 recipe for Creamy Cheesy Yellow Grits (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Lightly toss olive oil, salt, pepper, brussel sprouts, fennel and onions over the baking sheet. Place in the oven and roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft and slightly caramelize brown. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place sausage cut side down in the skillet. When the bottom is brown, flip sausage over. When the sausage starts curling, remove from the skillet. Place on a paper towel lined plate. Horizontally slice sausages. Set aside.
Spoon Creamy Cheesy Grits (see recipe below) into individual bowls. Top with roast vegetables and sausage.
Sprinkle more black pepper and salt (watch the salt content, because the sausages could be salty).

Creamy Cheesy Yellow Grits
Recipe inspired by Edna Lewis.
2-cups water
2-cups whole milk
1-cup stone-ground yellow or white grits
Sea salt and fresh black pepper; as needed
Crushed red pepper; as needed
(Optional) A pinch of smoked paprika
½ cup sharp, white cheddar cheese
1/8-cup fresh, organic cream; more or less
Optional: butter or olive oil

Bring water and milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Do not boil.
Place grits in a bowl. Fill with water. Gently swirl the water. After the water settles, skim the surface of the chaff (the tiny, lightweight pieces floating to the surface). Strain the grits in a fine mesh sieve.
Gently add the grits to the simmering water and milk mixture. Stir in salt, peppers and smoked paprika.
Frequently stir the grits, making sure to scrape the bottom. Depending on the brand, stone-ground grits are ready after 20 minutes, but they become softer when cooked up to 1 hour. Add a little more water and/or milk, if grits become a little to dry.
When the grits are tender to bite, stir in the cheese and cream.
Stir butter or olive oil.

About Sanura

Art Director/Senior Graphic Designer at Food Writer at

One comment on “Creamy Cheesy Yellow Grits with Roast Brussel Sprouts and Sausage

  1. Conor Bofin
    December 11, 2012

    This looks lovely. A fine balanced dish. We call grits polenta over here in Ireland. I had great fun trying to track some down and posted about it last week.


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This entry was posted on December 11, 2012 by in 2012, Recipe and tagged , , , , , , , .

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Learn more about Kwanzaa

The word "Kwanzaa" comes from the phrase, "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first-fruits." Kwanzaa's extra "a" evolved as a result of a particular history of the Organization Us. It was clone as an expression of African values in order to inspire the creativity of our children. In the early days of Us, there were seven children who each wanted to represent a letter of Kwanzaa. Since kwanza (first) has only six letters, we added an extra "a" to make it seven, thus creating "Kwanzaa." To learn more about Kwanzaa, visit the Official Kwanzaa Website.

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