Parmesan Grits With Roasted Tomatoes and Basil

This month, we’re asking food bloggers what they eat for breakfast, and their answers have been mouthwatering. Today, Anna from The Yellow Table reveals how to make grits with an Italian twist. Here’s how to whip it up…
Parmesan Grits with Roasted Tomatoes and Basil
By Anna Watson Carl of The Yellow Table

I grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, where grits were a staple on our breakfast table. We usually had the white instant variety, served with lots of butter. As I grew older, though, I fell in love with old-fashioned stoneground grits, and I realized they were essentially the same thing as polenta (which I also love). Recently, while visiting my parents, I made these yellow stoneground grits with butter and Parmesan. The combo was delicious, especially when topped with sweet, roasted tomatoes and basil—a nod to my southern upbringing, with a touch of Italy.

The best thing about this dish is that it looks way more difficult than it is: it takes only 45 minutes from start to finish, and only about five minutes of that is prep. The grits simmer, the tomatoes roast, and you just throw everything together before serving. It’s the perfect simple, elegant dish for a brunch with friends. I like serving it in individual bowls, but if you’re cooking for a crowd, double the recipe and serve it in a big dish with the tomatoes and basil scattered on top. I’d serve this with warm buttermilk biscuits and country ham, sliced fruit and an arugula citrus salad.

Recipe: Parmesan Grits with Roasted Tomatoes and Basil
Serves 4

You’ll need:
4 cups water
1 tsp. sea salt
1 cup stoneground yellow grits (not quick-cooking)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. finely chopped basil

What to do:
Preheat oven to 425F.

Bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once the mixture is boiling, slowly add the grits in a steady stream, stirring (or whisking) constantly. Stir for 2 minutes then reduce heat. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the grits are thick and creamy.

While the grits are simmering, arrange the tomatoes on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until tomatoes are softened and beginning to blister, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Once the grits are done, remove from heat and stir in the butter and Parmesan. Taste and add a little more salt if you need to. Divide the grits into 4 small bowls and top each with roasted tomatoes and a pinch of basil.

NOTE: This dish is best eaten right away, but you can also make it a day ahead. To reheat, place the chilled grits in a medium saucepan and add ¼ cup of boiling water. Place over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until creamy. (Add a few more tablespoons of hot water if need be.) Reheat the tomatoes in the microwave or in a 350F oven.
Thank you so much, Anna!

P.S. More best recipes, including three-ingredient salsa and a grown-up grilled cheese.

(Recipe by Anna Watson Carl of The Yellow Table. Photos by Signe Birck. Thanks to Shoko for helping with this series.)

  1. We are really going to have to try this. Hope her dream of a cookbook is a great success!

  2. Looks too good not to try! I just recently was introduced to the world of polenta and grits- and I’m hooked! I know what I’ll be serving at brunch this weekend.

  3. I love Anna’s blog. What a fantastic thing she’s doing, lettering her cookbook. The recipe looks attractive. EasyWayFinder

  4. Going on my menu for the coming week. You can’t go wrong with roasted tomatoes!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. This looks delicious! Roasted tomatoes are one of my absolute favorite things :)

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  8. Great idea about using Gouda instead of Parmesan, Ginny! I’m going to have to try that next time :)

  9. I love Anna’s blog. What a wonderful thing she’s doing, writing her cookbook. The recipe looks lovely.

  10. Yum! Love grits and I make tomatoes like this at least once a week. Maybe try some good aged Gouda instead of the Parmesan? The flavor goes so well with grits! And you could make it very southern by throwing some green onions and shrimp on top as well 😀

  11. Thank you SO much for sharing this! I am working in Kentucky at the moment and last night I was telling everyone that you can’t find good grits in LA. I spent a few years in the south and have been looking for a good grits recipe with a twist. How timely! :)

  12. Grits are my go-to comfort food, and luckily we have a wonderful local mill that sells yellow stone ground grits that are delicious!

  13. I really love this series. Thanks for sharing such delicious recipes Joanna!

  14. This looks amazingly yummy. I’ll have to try it out.

  15. My goodness! This reminds of the best grits I’ve ever had in life while visiting in Savannah, GA.. I feel a cooking adventure coming on for this weekend.. I mean, why not? :)

  16. That looks so yummy.

    Hope you have a wonderful day.

  17. Polenta with tomato sauce and Parmesan is a staple in our house. My kids, including the baby, love it and it’s so easy and quick to make. This more sophisticated version looks delicious! But I would never consider this a breakfast food:) This is lunch or dinner where we are from.

  18. Did this post come up at the right time, or what? Comfort food, please! Anna does it again!

  19. Looks incredibly good! I’m usually go for a poached egg on avocado toast or my easy banana granola, but gonna try these grits soon.

  20. So excited to see Anna’s work on Cup of Jo! I love Anna’s recipes and her blog is one of my favorites.

  21. The pay-off for stirring and stirring and stirring grits/polenta is always worth it. I cannot wait to try this, particularly since my daughters have developed a huge interest in “helping.”

  22. Oh, and if I have any polenta left over, I put it in the fridge, and the next day I slice it and fry it. YUM!

  23. oh my yum!

  24. I love making this, too. I put a fried egg on top of the polenta and then put the tomatoes and some shaved parmesan on top… sublime!