This Vegan Cheesy Grits Breakfast Bowl with Crispy Chickpeas and garlicky collard greens couldn't be any more cozy and delicious. Surprisingly easy to make and prep for the week, this bowl echoes Southern comfort.
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Hey Internet, I think it's about dang time for another savory breakfast, since they're my fave. But if I'm being completely honest here, I've eaten this bowl for lunch and dinner too--it's that good.
It's also great for kids (the cheese really makes it that much more delicious), which is a big win for parents looking for a easy but delicious breakfast to serve the family. Check out my list of vegan kid-friendly recipes or my list of 50+ vegan snacks for kids!
Funny thing is, I've never had grits before making this dish. So of course you could argue I don't know what they're supposed to taste like.
But I did a lot of research and I understand they're supposed to be creamy, somewhat toothsome (I'm referring to stone-ground grits as opposed to cut or instant grits), buttery and smooth.
Well, I didn't use any butter (you could definitely add vegan butter if you are cool with oil, though), but rather added my melty, gooey, ever-popular nut-free mozzarella cheese. The result? Kisses fingers dramatically
Bulking it up
Then the question became, what do I serve these with? I immediately turned to collards, since they're also a Southern staple.
Not that I know much as a gal from New York originally and currently in Chicago--I'm relying on research pretty much.
You know I had to add a ton of garlic because I love my garlic, and I finished them off with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon,
I do have to say that I recommend prepping the greens each day or every other day if you plan to meal prep this breakfast, Cooked greens can get a little slimy after a few days in the fridge. Luckily they're the fastest part of this dish, clocking in at just under 5 minutes to prep.
Finally I wanted some protein so I added some oven roasted (could also airfry to save time) crunchy chickpeas, spiced with my faves: garlic, onion, paprika, and a pinch of salt.
I really REALLY love this breakfast bowl and have since placed a large bulk order for stone ground grits. If you've never tried them, I highly recommend you do.
But I'll quit my yammering so we can get into this recipe.
What You'll Need to Make My Vegan Cheesy Grits Breakfast Bowl with Crispy Chickpeas
For this recipe I am using classic stone-ground grits. There are quick and instant grits available (and they will work for this recipe) but the flavor won't be as good. Also you get more fiber with the stone-ground stuff.
I served these grits with cooked collard greens. Any greens will work, or you could use another vegetable or just omit if you prefer. I used a lot of fresh garlic with these greens.
For the chickpeas, canned or from-dried will both work. I used 3 cups -- about 2 cans' worth. I coated them in a few of my favorite spices (use any you like) and baked them in the oven until they were lightly crunchy.
That's pretty much it! Simple, comforting, and delicious -- my favorite combination.
Now let's talk about each part of this tasty bowl.
How to Make the Vegan Cheesy Grits
Making grits is a pretty straightforward process. Add your grits, salt, and water to a pot and bring it to a boil. Then put on the lid and remove from heat, letting it sit for about 15 minutes while you work on the other items.
When the 15 minutes are up, give it a good stir, replace the lid, and cook on medium for another 10 minutes.
After that, simply stir in the vegan cheese and nondairy milk. Yummy!
How to Make the Crispy Chickpeas
The chickpeas are easy and make a great anytime snack as well as pairing dishes like this one. I used canned chickpeas in this recipe but cooked from dried will work great too.
After you drain you chickpeas (while they're still wet is good), add them to a large bowl and sprinkle your spices on top. Give them a good mix.
If baking, add them to a lined baking tray (I recommend silicone mats for crispiness), spread them out in a single layer, and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 degrees Celsius) for about 15 - 20 minutes depending on how crispy you like them.
If airfrying, add them to your airfryer basket and cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 degrees Celsius) for about 10 - 12 minutes, depending on how crispy you like them.
How to Make the Garlicky Collard Greens
Don't prep your collard greens until the very end of prepping this meal, since fresh cooked greens taste the best.
Separate the collard stems from the leaves. I like to save my stems for stir fry, or you can compost them if you don't want them.
Tear the leaves into bite size pieces and wash them. I love my salad spinner for this.
Add some (or a lot if you're like me) chopped garlic to a saute pan over medium high heat. Put in a tablespoon or two of water if it starts to stick. Stir for 1 minute, or until fragrant.
Now turn the heat down to medium and add your greens. Stir for a few minutes and add another few tablespoons of water. Place on a lid and let it wilt for about 4-5 minutes, checking and stirring (adding more water if necessary) every so often.
When they are soft enough for your liking, remove from heat and finish off with a tiny pinch of salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
Putting It All Together
Add some of the cheesy grits to the base of a bowl. Add as much greens and chickpeas as you would like.
That's it! Pretty simple section :)
You can top this with some hot sauce or sriracha if that's your thing, or with some avocado or tahini if you'd like. I love this bowl as it is.
Can I Meal Prep this Breakfast?
Yes, you can, but I'd leave the greens for each day. Luckily they only take about 5 minutes. I would also store the grits separately from the chickpeas.
Other Awesome Breakfast Ideas
If you're looking for other delicious breakfast ideas I'd highly recommend any of the following:
Buddha Bowl with Sweet Potatoes (Not purely breakfast but definitely should be!)
As always, I hope you love this recipe--I know I do.
Let me know in the comments below if you make these onions, tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!