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Grits with Pesto, Cremini, and Spinach

Hands-on time 12 mins
Total time 47 mins

Serves 4

Unlike oatmeal bowls, which are fast enough for busy weekday mornings, whole-grain grits take a little longer to cook and are better suited to weekends. If you’ve ever had instant grits and been disappointed, we understand. The flavor and texture are nowhere near the richness and, well, grit of whole-grain grits. They do take longer to cook, but they’re absolutely worth it. When adding grits to boiling liquid, add them gradually as you stir; don’t dump the whole amount in at once. This is the best way to prevent lumps. As the grits cook, stir frequently. The liquid will try to separate to the top, resulting in lumps. If you do end up with this separation, stir the mixture with a whisk to reincorporate.


  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole-grain grits (such as McEwen & Sons)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup prepared refrigerated pesto

Nutrition Information

  • calories 291
  • fat 11.8 g
  • satfat 4.5 g
  • monofat 5.4 g
  • polyfat 0.8 g
  • protein 10 g
  • carbohydrate 38 g
  • fiber 5 g
  • sugars 4 g
  • Est. Added Sugars 0 g
  • cholesterol 18 mg
  • iron 3 mg
  • sodium 549 mg
  • calcium 142 mg

How to Make It

  1. Bring 3 1/2 cups water, milk, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Gradually stir in grits. Reduce heat, and cook, uncovered, 35 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and garlic; sauté 6 minutes. Add spinach, tossing until spinach wilts. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt. Spoon 1 cup grits into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon pesto and 1/2 cup mushroom mixture.

Cook's Notes

Executive Editor at Cooking Light, Ann Pittman, explores whole grain's all-around awesomeness in her new book, Everyday Whole Grains: 175 Recipes from Amaranth to Wild Rice. This complete guide to healthy, hearty, and incredibly versatile whole grains includes something for everyone and offers innovative new techniques to ensure the most flavorful results. From simple, delicious sides to satisfying mains and sublime desserts, this James Beard Award-winning author educates, inspires and does not disappoint. Discover a whole new way of looking at whole grains, how they are prepared, and how they can be incorporated into a healthy diet at every meal.

Also appeared in: Oxmoor House, March, 2016, Everyday Whole Grains: 175 Recipes from Amaranth to Wild Rice;