After totally OD’ing on Valentine’s Day treats, I’ve resolved to eat healthy healthier going forward. But the food still needs to taste good. Ideally, it also needs to feel like comfort food, because, at least around here, the weather is still cold and depressing. This dish totally fits the bill on both accounts.
Roasted vegetables are the best. Rich in nutrients and other good stuff, I feel like I’m doing something good for myself when I eat them. Plus, it helps me justify dessert — I had brussels sprouts for dinner, eating an ice cream sandwich now is fine!
Plus, unlike when you live off carrot and celery sticks like a rabbit, roasted vegetables are flavorful with, ideally, an amazing tender crisp texture. In short, they’re delicious and good for you. Win, win!
In this dish I’ve picked some of my winter favorites to roast: Butternut squash (yum), brussels sprouts (double yum), mushrooms (delish) and shallots (which, when roasted, take on a beautifully sweet flavor). And roasting these vegetables was easy peasy. Chop them up, toss them with a few additional ingredients and you’re all set. After roasting, I add a little lemon to bright them, some pine nuts for crunch and thyme for flavor. It all adds up to one great tasting tray of vegetables.
But even the most delicious mix of vegetables needs a little something more to feel like a whole meal. That’s where the grits come in. They add a nice creamy contrast to the roasted vegetables. Plus, the cheesy buttery flavor of the grits feels like an indulgence when paired with roast vegetables.
The grits are super simple to make while the vegetables roast. If you can make rice or even just boil water than you can make grits. All it takes is bringing some stock to a boil and then adding the grits.
After the grits finish cooking, add in some cheese, cream, butter and garlic and stir. Then try to resist the urge to eat them straight out of the pot. No easy feat.
Some might think polenta would have been the way to go here. Don’t get me wrong, I love polenta and it would be good here. But there’s something homey and comforting about grits that you just don’t get from polenta. And in the never-ending month that is February, I’ll take homey and comforting wherever I can get it.
Want to end a cold winter day with a comfort food without all the guilt? These Roasted Winter Vegetables with Grits are exactly what you need. Your body will thank you for the delicious nutritious veggies and your tastebuds will thank you for the awesome flavors. Win, win.
2 cups brussels sprouts, halved
2 cups butternut squash, cubed
1 container white mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
3 shallots quartered
salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp olive oil + 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp thyme
3 tbsp. garlic, minced
1/3 cup pine nuts
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp lemon zest
4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 cup grits
4 ounces extra-sharp white cheddar, grated
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 garlic clove minced
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Place vegetables in large bowl with 3 tbsp. olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat vegetables.
Place vegetables on parchment lined baking sheet in an even layer being careful not to overfill the tray. If needed, use two trays.
Place trays in oven and roast for approx. 25 minutes. Roasting time can be more or less depending on how brown/charred you like your vegetables. Turn vegetables once with a metal spatula halfway through cooking.
Toss 3 cloves of minced garlic in 1/2 tsp olive oil and add to baking sheet for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking.
While the vegetables roast, heat chicken broth (or vegetable broth) in medium size pot over high heat and bring to a boil.
Add grits, stirring to combine. After the mixture comes back to a boil, lower heat and cover. Allow grits to simmer approx. 15-20 minutes until grits have thickened. Stir occasionally to prevent lumps.
Remove grits from heat and add butter, cream, cheese, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.
In small dry skillet toast pine nuts over medium high heat until pine nuts become fragrant and beginning browning.
In a large bowl add roasted vegetables, 1 clove of minced garlic, pine nuts, thyme, lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix to combine. Salt and pepper to taste as needed.