Hearty, cozy vegan cheese grits bake up decadently with sauteed mushrooms that taste like sausage! It’s a perfect breakfast or brunch casserole for a weekend morning.
Vegan Cheese Grits Casserole
Sausagey cheese grits are perfect for soaking up a hangover or treating your friends and family to a comfort food brunch. They’re easy to make, and you’ve got plenty of time to mix up some mimosas while the casserole bakes in the oven.
Plus, there’s only one pot to clean after you clean your plate!
This casserole started as Dave’s idea. One lazy Sunday, he asked if we could make grits casserole, and I was so. on. BOARD. I love cheese grits, and creating a vegan version of this southern classic is so up my alley.
One thing you should know about this recipe: it is NOT health food. It’s greasy, a little bit salty, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
To minimize the number of pans you’d need for this recipe, you’ll make your sausage mushrooms in your Dutch oven, then reuse the same saucepan to cook the grits. You don’t have to worry about cleaning the pan between uses – a little bit of the sausagey seasoning in the grits won’t hurt anything. Just give it a little rinse, and you’re set.
One the grits are done, add back the mushrooms, stir in a few other ingredients, top with vegan cheese, and bake to perfection.
Vegan “Sausage” Mushrooms
The stars of this recipe, in my estimation, are the sausage mushrooms. Sauteed button mushrooms, seasoned with sausage-style spices, cook up into a toothsome, satisfying treat.
You only need a few simple seasonings to give your mushrooms that sausage flavor:
- salt & pepper
They just take a few minutes on the stove, then they’re ready to mix into your grits casserole.
I created these mushrooms for this grits casserole, but they’d also make a great addition to a tofu scramble or even a brunch side dish on their own. Anywhere you want sausage crumbles, they’ll do the trick!
Vegan Cheese Grits Casserole with 'Sausage' Mushrooms
For the Sausage Mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 8 ounce package button mushrooms - sliced
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Vegan Cheese Grits
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup quick grits
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter - or olive oil
- 4 cups baby spinach - packed
- 2 cups vegan cheese shreds - divided - I used mozzarella, but you can use cheddar, pepperjack, or any other shredded vegan cheese you like. You can also mix up more than one kind of vegan cheese - do you!
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
Make the Sausage Mushrooms
- Heat a Dutch Oven to medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and all of the spices and cook, stirring, for about 7-9 minutes, until the mushrooms soften and begin to brown. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- Transfer to a plate until you're ready to use.
Make the Vegan Cheese Grits
- Rinse the pot you used for the mushrooms (it's OK if it's not totally clean at this point). Add the water to the pan, and bring to a boil. Add the grits, and cook on medium-low, covered and stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until they thicken.
- When the grits are done cooking, turn off the heat and add the vegan butter, spinach, and 1 cup of the vegan cheese shreds to the pan. Stir well to melt the butter and cheese and wilt the spinach.
- Top with the remaining cheese, and bake for 25 minutes.