Southwestern Cheesy Grits (Vegetarian)

I really love Southwestern spices, and often my cooking takes on a Southwestern twist. I came up with this recipe several years ago. Bruce loves this recipe with a fried egg and bacon.

Serves 4


  • 1 cup quick cooking grits
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Chipotle
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoky Spanish paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon half-sharp paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 dashes of liquid smoke
  • 4 oz of Manchego cheese or Swiss cheese or Jarlsberg cheese or Monterey Jack cheese – Bruce has trouble with cow cheese, so I normally use Manchego cheese, but I have used the cheese listed at various times, and they have been good. You need a cheese that will melt, but not be stringy. Mozzarella is not a good cheese to use. If making this vegan, see notes below.
  • Smoky Spanish paprika to garnish
  • If going fancy, scallions thinly sliced on the diagonal for garnish


A medium sized pot, it should hold at least 6 cups of water, with a lid, spoon for stirring, cheese grater


  1. Mix spices and herbs together with the salt and pepper
  2. Grate the cheese
  3. Pour the 4 cups of water into the pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat
  4. Slowly stir in the 1 cup of grits
  5. Stir in the mixed spices and herbs into the grits and put two dashes of the liquid smoke into the grits.
  6. Turn the temperature down to low, cover the pot of grits, and cook for 5 minutes or so. At high altitudes, it takes longer, usually 7 to 8 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure the grits don’t stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.
  7. Once grits are tender, stir in the cheese, a handful at a time. Let the handful of cheese melt before stirring in the next handful of cheese.
  8. After the last handful of cheese has melted, immediately put the grits into serving bowls.
  9. Sprinkle the smoky paprika over the grits, and if using scallions, sprinkle them on top of the grits.


This could be made vegan by using nutritional yeast to provide a cheese flavor. I’d start with a teaspoon of nutritional yeast and add more if needed.

4 thoughts on “Southwestern Cheesy Grits (Vegetarian)

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