Sauteed vegetables on Italian cheese grits

Sauteed Vegetables on Italian Cheese Grits

This dish has some of my favorite ingredients: onions, grits, and cheese. Yum!

Cooking the vegetables over high heat really helps to bring out some amazing flavors. Mixed with the cheesy goodness of the grits, this dish doesn’t even need any additional seasoning. It’s delicious “as is.”

How to make it

You will need the following equipment:

  • 2-quart saucepan
  • 12-inch cast iron skillet
  • wooden spoon
  • spatula
  • measuring cups and spoons

And you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup grits
  • 3/4 cup Italian blend cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 mushrooms
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 yellow onion

You’ll need to make the grits and the veggies separately (obviously), but you should be able to time things pretty easily so that both will be ready at about the same time.

The grits will take about 25 minutes total (figuring 5 minutes to bring to a boil, and 20 minutes to simmer).

The veggies will take 10 to 12 minutes, plus a few minutes for the pan to heat up. If you start the vegetables about 10 minutes after the grits start to simmer, you’ll have plenty of time to scoop the grits onto the serving plates while waiting for the veggies to finish up.

Creamy, cheesy grits

Lots of liquid and a low, slow simmer make for smooth and creamy grits.

Add a liberal amount of Italian-blend cheese and you’ve got smooth, tasty grits on which to build this dish.

Just make sure to keep a light simmer going the whole time or you could end up instead with a soupy mess instead of a creamy foundation (it would still be tasty, I guess… but overall… not really what we’re going for here…)

Perfectly sauteed veggies

Getting the vegetables just right can make or break the flavor and the texture of this dish. If you’re not used to sauteeing it may take a few times to get the hang of it.

Basically, you want high heat, and just the smallest amount of oil necessary. The trick, then, is to add the olive oil in the right increments.

If you’re stingy upfront, your mushrooms won’t cook right, but if you add it all at the start, the mushrooms will be mushy and your onion and peppers will stick to the skillet.

What I recommend is starting with one teaspoon of oil. Get that nice and hot, then add the mushrooms. Cook for 3-5 minutes before adding the vegetables.

Add more oil as needed, one teaspoon at a time – but don’t use more than 3 teaspoons for the mushrooms.

Cook until all the oil has been absorbed and any liquid from the mushrooms has cooked off.

When the skillet is pretty dry, add the onion and peppers and another teaspoon of oil. Stir everything together to get all the veggies lightly coated, and then cook everything until the onion and peppers start to show grill marks, about another 5-7 minutes.

Add more oil as needed, one teaspoon at a time, until you’ve used all the oil.

If you do this right, the onion and peppers will show black marks, but none of the vegetables will be overcooked.

You will develop some good flavors by sauteeing this way and the peppers will still have a slight crunch to them.

Bringing it all together

Scoop the grits in equal portions onto four plates.

Top each plate with one-fourth of the vegetables and serve immediately.

Why I prefer this recipe

In my opinion, this is one of those rare “perfect” recipes.

Sure, it could be enhanced with additional seasonings or with some meat or seafood… but as is, it’s simple, quick, easy, and flavorful.

The vegetables all go well together, and the Italian-blend cheese makes the grits seem a little bit fancier, or more upscale, somehow.

It’s simple enough to cook up any night of the week, and flavorful enough to serve to even your pickiest guests.

Anyway, try it tonight – and come back and let me know what you think.

Sauteed vegetables on Italian cheese grits

Sauteed Vegetables on Italian Cheese Grits

Mushrooms, onion, and peppers on cheesy, delicious grits
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • Cast iron skillet
  • 2-quart saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring cups



  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup grits
  • 3/4 cup Italian blend cheese shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms sliced
  • 2 bell peppers sliced and de-seeded
  • 1 yellow onion sliced



  • Combine milk, water, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Whisk in grits, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes or until the grits are thick and creamy.
  • Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Scoop a generous serving of grits onto each of 4 dinner plates to create a base for the vegetables.


  • While the grits are simmering, heat 1 teaspoon oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and saute for 3-5 minutes, stirring often. Add more oil as needed, one teaspoon at a time, not to exceed 3 teaspoons for the mushrooms.
  • Add the peppers and onion, and another teaspoon of oil. Cook until the pepper and onion slices develop grill marks, about 5-7 minutes. Add oil as needed, one teaspoon at a time, until you've used all of the oil.
  • When the vegetables are done, remove from heat and spoon equal portions onto each plate.
  • Serve hot. Add salt and pepper to taste.


A lot of cheesy grits recipes call for white cheddar, but my family loves this particular dish with Italian blend cheese.

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