Creamy Goat Cheese Grits with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash and Poached Eggs

Creamy goat cheese grits topped with roasted Brussels sprouts and squash and perfectly runny poached eggs! This hearty vegetarian main course can be prepared in less than 45 minutes. 

Creamy Goat Cheese Grits with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash and Poached Eggs. A delicious, EASY vegetarian dinner recipe!

Oh, Brussels sprouts. How I love thee? Let me count the ways. First, I dedicated an entire week of new recipes to this little sprout last year.

I shared everything from fried Brussels sprout leaves with lemon and chili flakes to these roasted Brussels sprouts with squash, dried cranberries, and Dijon vinaigrette (if you’re looking to add a last minute Thanksgiving side dish to your table, this is it!). Then, I tried to convince you to shave and eat your Brussels sprouts raw in these salads (one, two, three).

Today, I’m taking my favorite roasted vegetable combination – roasted Brussels sprouts and butternut squash – and placing them on top of creamy goat cheese grits along with perfectly poached eggs (see my tips in the recipe directions!).

It makes an amazingly hearty and satisfying vegetarian dinner, but can easily double as post-Thanksgiving Day brunch fare. Truthfully, you can’t go wrong with this stuff. If you have roasted vegetables from the day before, by all means, use those instead! This dish can stand on its own, but is a great way to use up all of those leftovers as well.

Creamy Goat Cheese Grits with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash and Poached Eggs

As I was developing this recipe, I was reminded of the fact that I should cook grits far more often. They’re very easy to prepare! I don’t really consider myself a grits aficionado, but man, these grits are good.

In the past, I’d always looked at grits as the Southern equivalent of Italian soft polenta, but they are, in fact, very different (thanks to The Kitchn for clearing that up!). Traditional grits are made with a variety of dent corn.

I’ve had good grits and bad grits, and trust me, there is a night and day difference between the two. Another tip? Don’t substitute whole milk with skim milk, or skip the goat cheese or butter! It’s going to be a little more indulgent and that’s OK.

Creamy Goat Cheese Grits with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash and Poached Eggs. A delicious, EASY vegetarian dinner recipe!

My biggest advice for making amazing grits at home is to get your hands on some high-quality grits! It makes a huge difference in flavor. Huge!

For this recipe, I used stone-milled rainbow corn grits from a local Chicago brand called Baker Miller Flour & Grain Co., which I found in the bulk bin at my local Whole Foods.

If you’re looking for a similar substitute at your grocery store, I recommend seeking out “stone-ground corn meal” (polenta is not an equal substitute and will result in a different texture). Otherwise, Southern-style grits would be the closest equivalent.

The good news? Regardless of the type of grit you use, the ratio of liquid:grain (3:1) for cooking is the same.

Creamy Goat Cheese Grits with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash and Poached Eggs. A delicious, EASY vegetarian dinner recipe!

The nicest part of this recipe is that all of the components can be prepared at the same time. The vegetables can be roasting in the oven as you cook the grits, and just before you serve everything, you can cook the eggs!

If you’ve never successfully poached a perfectly poached egg (with firm whites and an entirely runny yolk), see my tips in the recipe below. No need for vinegar or water vortexes – just a pot and three minutes of cooking time!

This is my go-to method and it never fails. [On that note, I plan to share my favorite for prepping poached eggs ahead of time an ingenious method that I learned in culinary school – in the coming weeks! It’s life-changing and will change your breakfast game during the upcoming holiday season.]

Creamy Goat Cheese Grits with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash and Poached Eggs

Ingredients:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash:

  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and quartered
  • 1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled, and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, plus more for garnishing
  • 4-5 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Creamy Goat Cheese Grits:

  • 2 and 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup stone ground corn grits (I used rainbow stone ground grits from a local Chicago brand called Baker Miller)
  • 2.5 to 3 ounces soft goat cheese, room temperature
  • freshly ground black pepper

Poached Eggs:

  • 4 or more fresh whole large eggs (1 or 2 eggs per serving, depending on preference) *fresh eggs are best for poaching

Directions:

Roast Brussels Sprouts and Squash:
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large sheet pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Place the quartered Brussels sprouts, cubed butternut squash, and herbs on the sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss until they are evenly coated.
  2. Roast at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes or so, until they vegetables are evenly caramelized. Remove from the oven, discard the herb stems, and allow to cool slightly (if you haven't finished cooking the grits or eggs, you can pop the roasted vegetables back into the oven for a few minutes to  warm up!).

Prepare the Grits:

  1. As the vegetables are finishing roasting, combine the whole milk, salt, and 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan (roughly 4 quarts in size). Bring to a low simmer over medium-high heat. Once simmering, slowly pour in the grits with one hand, as you whisk continuously with the other.
  2. Whisk continuously for until the grits have thickened considerably and they are cooked through, roughly minutes. Break the goat cheese into pieces and add to the grits, along with the remaining tablespoon of butter, stirring them until completely melted. Season the grits to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Remove from heat and keep warm as you poach the eggs (if the grits get dry or too thick, add a bit more whole milk to loosen them up - readjust seasoning accordingly!).
Poach the Eggs: 
  1. Fill a medium saucepan with cold water (the water should be at least 2-inches deep) and heat over medium heat until small bubbles begin to form at the bottom of the pan. This is the ideal temperature for poaching eggs. Don't allow the water to reach a true simmer or boil (if it does, reduce the temperature). Set aside a large plate lined with a paper towel.
  2. Break one egg at a time over a fine-meshed sieve set over a bowl. Allow any loose egg whites to fall away into the bowl - this will eliminate any loose whites from disintegrating in the cooking water and result in clean, tight poached eggs. Carefully transfer the egg into a small ramekin or cup (if using extremely fresh eggs, you can go directly to this step and skip the sieve step). Repeat with each egg (placing them into their own ramekin/cup).
  3. Check and readjust the cooking water temperature as necessary. Gently tilt and slide the eggs from the ramekins into the cooking water. Ideally, you want to add all of the eggs to the cooking water fairly quickly, so that they cook consistently with one another. Set a cooking timer to three minutes and countdown. This time will produce a set white and a completely runny yolk. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs from the water, one at a time, and set on the paper-towel lined plate to soak up any excess cooking water.
  4. Spoon the grits into serving bowls, top with a large spoonful of roasted vegetables, and finally, top each plate with a poached egg. Garnish the place with fresh thyme leaves. Serve immediately!

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