Cheesy Grits with Collard Greens & Black Eyed Peas

Smoky collard greens and tender black eyed peas served over cheesy grits turn a New Year’s Day tradition into an everyday hearty breakfast.

White speckled bowl holding collard greens and blck eyed peas, served over cheesy grits.

New Year’s Day Collard Greens

I grew up a child of two cultures; South Korea and the American South. At no time is that more apparent than New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. As long as I can remember I’ve served Korean Rice Cake and Dumpling Soup on New Year’s Eve, and collard greens and black eyed peas on New Year’s Day.

Although I make my Korean soup at other times during the year, for some reason I have kept my collards as an annual treat. No more! In this recipe, I’m bringing my love of smoky greens and black eyed peas to the breakfast table and you’re going to love them! I’m serving them over easy cheesy grits for an actual stick-to-your-ribs breakfast experience. And see that broth around the grits? That’s called pot likker, and it’s liquid ambrosia! I want you to feel the South in your bones, y’all!

  • INEXPENSIVE – All of the ingredients are affordable and delicious, a combo that will put this recipe on repeat in your kitchen, all year long.
  • EASY – This recipe is simple to prepare and, if you use instant grits, you can be sitting down to eat in less than 30 minutes.
  • FLEXIBLE – Whether you want to swap out ingredients, make this vegetarian or vegan, or change the number of people you’re serving, this recipe has you covered!

Ingredients in Collard Greens & Black Eyed Peas Grits Bowl

Ingredients for Collard Greens & Black Eyed Peas Grits Bowl.
  • Water and milk Most grits recipes tell you to start with water and maybe finish with a little milk. Not me. I go half and half with water and milk because I like my grits extra creamy.
  • Cheddar cheese This adds additional creaminess and flavor to the grits that really pairs well with the collards and the black eyed peas.
  • Andouille sausage This is a smoked sausage that is very popular in the Deep South. I add this to bring in the smoky flavor normally found in collard greens, without having to use a big ham hock or smoked turkey wings.
  • Shallots and garlic Unless you’re allergic, there aren’t many savory dishes that can’t be improved with a little shallots and garlic.
  • Collard greens Closely related to cabbage and kale, collard greens are a very large leafy vegetable that is normally slowly braised. I’ve cracked the code on making them tender and delicious without the wait.
  • Chicken broth I usually cook my collards in broth. In this recipe it helps to tenderize them as well as give you the flavor of a pot likker without a long cooking time.
  • Fresh thyme This adds a bright herbaceous note to the pot likker broth.
  • Tomatoes To brighten the deep, rich pot likker, and all the other amazing flavors in this bowl, I added a bit of fresh tomato at the end.

Possible ingredient substitutions

  • Use any neutral oil to sauté your sausage, like vegetable, canola, peanut, or safflower.
  • You can use bacon or any other sausage in place of andouille sausage. Try kielbasa!
  • This recipe would be equally delicious with kale or Swiss chard!
  • If you don’t have fresh thyme, use 1/3 the amount of dried thyme.
  • If using instant grits, start cooking them after all your other prep is done. Cook for 5 minutes, or per box directions, add butter and cheese, and cover to keep warm.
  • You can use all water or even broth in your grits, if you’d like.
  • Instead of cheddar cheese, try monterey jack or even pepper jack.

How to make this grits bowl

  • Prep Preparing everything ahead of time (called “mise en place” in French) is a huge help when following a recipe that cooks so quickly. Finely dice your shallots and mince your garlic. Slice your andouille sausage into discs and then each disc into quarters. Drain and rinse your black eyed peas. Thoroughly wash your collard greens and remove the hard center stems from each leaf. Stack a few leaves on top of each other, roll them up, and slice into 1/2 to 1 inch ribbons.
  • Make grits Bring water and milk, seasoned with salt and pepper, to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add in grits while whisking constantly with a large whisk. Reduce heat and let cook while covered until thickened, whisking occasionally. Stir in butter and cheese. Adjust seasoning to taste. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
  • Sauté Add oil to a 12 inch cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Sauté until browned, 5-7 minutes. Add shallots and garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
  • Greens and Black Eyed Peas Add collard greens and broth to the pan and cook until the greens are wilted and the broth has reduced a bit – another 2 to 3 minutes. Add thyme leaves, black eyed peas, and tomatoes and warm through.
  • Serve Place a serving of cheesy grits in the bottom of your bowl. Add Collard greens and black eyed peas mixture and drizzle all over with the pot likker from the bottom of the pan. Top with a fried egg, if desired.
White speckled bowl holding collard greens and blck eyed peas, served over cheesy grits.

Vegetarian Options: If you want to make this vegetarian, you can use a meat substitute or skip the sausage all together, then use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth. You can even make this vegan by using your favorite alternative milk, vegan butter, and vegan cheese shreds in your grits. A tablespoon of nutritional yeast will bump up the cheesy flavor of your grits as well.

Storage and reheating instructions

  • Storage Store grits and greens mixtures in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Reheating grits Grits are best reheated on the stovetop. Place grits in a nonstick pan with a small amount of water, broth, or milk. Reheat on low, stirring frequently to break up any large chunks. Add more liquid if needed. Whisk to smooth texture before serving hot. You can also use the microwave, adding liquid and reheating in 30 second bursts, stirring each time, until smooth and hot.
  • Reheating collard greens and black eyed peas These can be reheated on the stove, or in a microwave, until hot, stirring occasionally to ensure even heating.

More savory breakfast recipes

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White speckled bowl holding collard greens and blck eyed peas, served over cheesy grits.

Collard Greens and Beans Grits Bowl

Smoky collard greens and tender black eyed peas served over cheesy grits turn a New Year's Day tradition into an everyday hearty breakfast.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 530 kcal



  • 2 cups (480 g) water
  • 2 cups (480 g) whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup (156 g) stone ground grits Can use instant grits. See note.
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) heavy cream or milk
  • 1 cup (113 g) cheddar cheese grated

Collard Greens & Black Eyed Peas

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 12 oz Andouille sausage diced
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 bunches collard greens stems cut out, leaves sliced in ribbons (5-6 cups)
  • 1 cup (240 g) chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves can substitute with 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 15-ounce can black eyed peas drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh tomato diced



  • Add water, milk, salt, and pepper to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Whisk constantly while pouring in grits. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Whisk occasionally. Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes. Add more water if grits get too thick. See note below if using instant grits.
  • Add butter, heavy cream and cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

Greens & Peas

  • Heat oil in a 12 inch cast iron skillet or large heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 2 minutes.
  • Add collard greens and chicken broth. Toss to wilt greens and reduce broth, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the thyme, black-eyed peas and tomatoes and toss to warm through. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve over cheesy grits, with a fried egg, if you’d like. I did!


This recipe can be made with instant grits. Do not use the individual serving packets. Start preparing instant grits after you have prepped your sausage and vegetables. Cook grits for 5 minutes, or to box instructions, add cheese and butter, and cover to keep warm.
See post for vegetarian/vegan and other substitutions.


Calories: 530kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 130mg | Sodium: 2158mg | Potassium: 893mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 5963IU | Vitamin C: 47mg | Calcium: 617mg | Iron: 3mg

The nutritional and caloric information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It does not assert or suggest that readers should or should not count calories, and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s or doctor’s counseling.

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