These baked grit cakes are super easy. Serve them for brunch with a tofu scramble or for lunch or supper as your starchy side dish.
Dave wanted grit cakes and a tofu scramble for his Father's Day brunch, and I had the hardest time finding a simple baked grit cakes recipe! If you can't find what you need, you make it up, right?
I had a few specifications for this recipe:
- It needed to be baked. I was already going to be frying up a tofu scramble, and I didn't want to have to man two frying pans at once on a lazy Sunday morning.
- It needed to use grits made that day. So many of the recipes I found called for spreading out the grits on a baking sheet and chilling them for several hours or overnight. I forgot to make grits the night before and was determined not to let that ruin or postpone Dave's Father's Day brunch.
- It shouldn't waste any food. The baked grits recipes I found all were going for perfectly-round cakes, mostly cut with a biscuit cutter. That seemed like it would waste a lot of grits, and also who needs perfectly round grit cakes? I like how organic they look when you hand-form the cakes instead.
- It needed to be easy to clean up. Cookie sheets take up so little dishwasher real estate! Much less than a baking pan or jelly roll pan. Yes, I am that lazy.
For the first set of baked grit cakes, maybe I didn't even make the grits myself. My big Father's Day gift to Dave was that I promised to spirit Darrol away for a while in the early morning, so Dave could sleep in. Darrol loves his daddy, and if Dave isn't up on the weekends, Darrol has taken to banging on our bedroom door shouting, "Open it! I want to go in! Dadddyyyyy!" I love that he loves Dave so much, but these are not great conditions for sleeping in.
The point is, I took Darrol to Whole Foods to get a few groceries that morning and let Dave sleep. They open early, it's a slow-paced errand that I can handle first thing in the morning with a toddler, and Darrol loves grocery shopping. While we were there, I happened to pass the breakfast bar, and there they were. Grits. All cooked.
You guys, I scooped about three cups of grits into a container, and called it a day. The first pass at this baked grit cakes recipe came out great! Here's Dave's Father's Day Brunch bowl with a tofu scramble:
Those grit cakes were pretty bare bones. The grits were cooked in water, and all that I added was a little nutritional yeast. They were great, don't get me wrong, but for this round I wanted to spice them up a little bit.
Corn and jalapeno is a nostalgic combination for me. In my pregan days, when I'd first moved to Atlanta, one of my favorite things to eat was the corn and jalapeno quesadilla from La Fonda Latina. Luckily, there are plenty of vegan items on La Fonda's menu, but that sweet-and-spicy combo still has a special place in my heart.
You can make the grits for these baked grit cakes the night before or day-of, depending on how much of a planner you are. If you're cooking for a lot of people, I'd make the grits in advance just to get one thing checked off of the To Cook list. For a regular meal, you can just make them right before you start cooking everything else.
Baked Grit Cakes with Corn and Jalapenos
Yield: 4 servings of 2 baked grit cakes apiece
- 1 cup quick grits (The 5 minute kind. I used these.)
- 3 cups water or broth
- 2 vegetable broth cubes (if you're using water)
- ½ cup frozen corn
- 1 large jalapeno, minced (Discard the seeds if you prefer less heat.)
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- In a pot, combine the grits, water, broth cubes, corn, and jalapeno. Bring to a boil on high, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the grits have soaked up all of the water. You want to stir constantly to avoid lumps.
- Transfer the grits to a large, heat safe bowl. Stir in the nutritional yeast, and set the bowl aside to cool for about 20 minutes. This is a crucial step, because if you put the super hot grits into the fridge, your glass bowl might shatter. And that would definitely ruin your meal!
- Once the bowl is a little cool, preheat the oven to 350F and stick it in the fridge while the oven preheats.
- When the oven is fully preheated, scoop up ½ cup dollops of grits and hand-form them into patties. Arrange the patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.
- Bake for 15 minutes, flip carefully and bake for 20 minutes more. Your cakes are going to squish a little bit when you flip them. Don't worry! Use the back of your spatula to gently press them back into a pancake shape before sticking them back into the oven.