Southwestern Sauté with Salsa Grits

southweststirfrySometimes it's all about conveinance and this meal definitely was. The best part, it was full of flavor but ready in minutes. The cheesy, salsa-flavored grits are the base for this simplistic vegetable saute.

By utilizing frozen veggies from the refrigerator and a couple of canned goods from the pantry, this meal was on the table in no time. It's also vegetarian, a good break from all the red meat we seem to eat around here.

In my house, "grits" has always been called "polenta" and there is nothing like real, stone-ground grits (polenta), but in a pinch, instant worked great. There is lots of flavor here, it's really a nice meal. Quick grits can be found near the oatmeal and other hot cereals or near cornmeal in the baking aisle...look for it.

Now, would my kids eat this? No. Too many foods touching each other but for me....the perfect lunch or dinner.

Southwestern Saute with Salsa Grits
Adapted from Eating Well

1-3/4 cups water
1-1/4 cups store-bought fresh salsa or 10 oz can Rotel diced tomatoes (I used Rotel)
3/4 cup quick grits
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 Tablespoon canola oil
2 cups frozen corn
2 cups frozen bell pepper and onion mix
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine water, salsa (or tomatoes) and grits in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring once or twice, until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup cheese. Keep covered. (The grits will thicken slightly as they stand.) Season with salt to taste.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add corn, pepper-onion mix, chile powder, cumin, garlic powder and salt. Cook, stirring until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes more. Season with more salt as needed.

Serve the bean and vegetable mixture over the grits, sprinkled with the remaining 1/4 cheese and cilantro. 


Cathy runs a vineyard and winery in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.  She is a food writer for Davis Life Magazine and blogs daily about wine, food and everyday living.  She lives with her husband and two sons.  You can visit her at