Grits and Greens Casserole

Inspired by a recipe included in one of the fluffy, funny romance novels I’m so enamored of, this grits and greens casserole has plenty of Southern sass. However, unlike the original recipe—which has enough butter, cream, and cheese to make Paula Deen blush—this version, adapted from a recipe in Eating Well, is nearly fat free and as healthy as it is delicious.

See the recipe on Veggie Quest for nutrition information and make-ahead directions.

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch collard greens (1½ lbs before trimming) OR 1-lb bag of frozen collard greens (see Notes)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 c low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 c grits (not instant)
  • ¼ c salsa
  • salt to taste
  • cooking spray (optional)
  • 1 c cornflakes
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp Cajun seasoning or ⅛ tsp salt

Directions

  1. Prep the collard greens: Wash, remove stems, and chop into small pieces.
  2. In a large pot over medium-low heat, add onion and cook for 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Add a splash of water as needed to prevent sticking. Add garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until garlic is fragrant and onion is just starting to brown.
  3. Add 1 c broth, turn heat to high. When broth is bubbling, add greens and stir until wilted and volume is reduced by at least half. (About 2 minutes.)
  4. Turn heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, until greens are very tender. Stir occasionally, adding water as needed if pot looks dry.
  5. Remove greens from heat and drain in a colander. Press out any extra liquid with the back of a spoon.
  6. Preheat oven to 400F.
  7. In a covered medium pot, bring remaining 3 c broth to a boil. Remove lid and add grits slowly, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Continuing to stir, bring mixture to a simmer. Turn heat to low and, stirring constantly with a spoon, cook 4-5 minutes or until grits are thickened.
  8. Remove grits from heat. Gently stir in salsa and salt to taste.
  9. Spray an 8-inch square (2-quart) casserole dish with cooking spray, if using. (You can omit, but grits may stick a bit around the top.)
  10. Using a heat-safe rubber spatula, spread half the grits in the bottom of the casserole dish. Add the greens, flattening with a spatula. Add the remaining half of the grits, smoothing the top.
  11. In a medium bowl, crush cornflakes, sprinkle lightly with water, and toss to coat. Add dried parsley and Cajun seasoning and toss to combine. Sprinkle over casserole.
  12. Bake at 400F for 25-30 min, or until cornflakes are lightly toasted.

Notes

  • To use frozen greens: Skip step 1. In step 3, don’t worry about reducing volume; just bring greens briefly to a boil and then return to a simmer.

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