Spicy Southern Grits

By John Mercer

This recipe is from Rip Esselstyn’s new book My Beef With Meat. It is a #1 New York Times bestseller and was released May 14, 2013.

My first experience with grits was at a summer camp when I was in the seventh grade. I took one spoonful of the warm, gelatinous mixture and thought I was going to lose it. I tried grits again in college with a very similar reaction. Now that I have a much more sophisticated and discerning palate, I appreciate and devour these spicy grits!



1 small yellow onion, diced

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

¼ cup green chilies, diced

1 chipotle pepper, chopped

2 cups veggie stock

½ cup grits, yellow

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

½ lime, juiced

½ teaspoon salt (optional)

1 teaspoon black pepper (optional)



  1. In a medium pot over high heat, saute’ the onions, garlic, green chilies, and chipotle pepper with 2 tablespoons veggie stock for 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the stock and bring to a boil.
  3. Whisk in grits and cook over low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, whisking occasionally until thick and well absorbed.
  4. Stir in nutritional yeast and lime.
  5. Adjust seasoning to your liking and serve.


Rip Esselstyn is a mission-driven man. As a swimmer at the University of Texas at Austin, he was a three time All-American. As a professional athlete, he was one of the premier triathletes in the world for more than a decade. As a firefighter for the Austin (TX) Fire Department, he helped people and saved lives. As a friend to other firefighters, he transformed the way Austin’s Engine 2 ate to save firefighters’ health. Now, as the author of The Engine 2 Diet, he is teaching people the irrefutable connection between what they put in their mouths and their ability to reach their ideal weight and their ideal health. Recently, he has teamed up with Whole Foods Market as a Healthy Eating Partner to raise awareness for Whole Foods Market team members, customers, and all of America about the benefits of eating a Plant Strong diet composed of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

Rip comes from a family steeped in medicine. His great-grandfather, George Crile, co-founded the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, where his father, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., was chief of the breast cancer task force and completed one of the most extensive studies ever conducted on the relationship between the heart and diet–proving that a plant-based diet can stop, prevent, and even reverse heart disease.  

Rip serves on the Board of Directors for The Wellness Foundation, EarthSave’s Meals For Health Program, and the AllergyKids Foundation.

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