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Today, a grits recipe that's easy enough to put together on any given morning (thanks to quick-cooking grits) and fun enough to serve guests for brunch.

You'll start with grits (or polenta) and add richness with soy milk and almond meal, then add interest to all that creamy starch with a good helping of freshly cracked black pepper. It's really that simple to turn out satisfying grits (that don't sit like a brick in your gut).

You'll jazz the whole bowl up with finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, fresh chives (that admittedly stretches the L in BLT pretty far, but it's worth it), and—best of all—a dose of stovetop coconut bacon. The recipe is adapted from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, but where she gives instruction for a huge batch, the one here—provided you have access to a non-stick skillet—allows you to make small amounts fresh whenever you feel like it, without bothering with the oven. Additionally, it turns up the salty punch just a touch by using shredded coconut instead of flaked. More surface area means a smaller garnish goes a long way.

Vegan BLT Grits

Print the recipe

serves 2 generously

For the grits:

1/2 cup quick-cooking grits (or polenta)

1/4 cup blanched almond meal

3/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy milk

1 1/2 cups water

To serve:

2 TBSP drained sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, finely chopped

2 TBSP snipped chives

Coconut Bacon, recipe follows

Begin by making the coconut bacon and set aside while you prepare the grits.

Whisk together grits, almond meal, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Combine soy milk and water in a pot over high heat. When it begins to steam, begin whisking while pouring the grits mixture into the pot in a thin, steady stream, whisking all the while. When all is incorporated, be sure the mixture is bubbling, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook five minutes, covered, carefully whisking the bubbling mixture once each minute.

Meanwhile, chop sun-dried tomatoes and snip chives.

When grits are ready, divide among two bowls. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes and chives. Serve at once, topping the bowls with coconut bacon at the table, as desired. The coconut should be added only just before serving, as the steam from the hot grits will soon turn the coconut from crisp to chewy.

Coconut Bacon

yields 1/4 cup, adapted from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

1 tsp reduced-sodium tamari

1/2 tsp liquid smoke

1/4 tsp maple syrup, grade B preferred

1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. In the skillet, combine tamari, liquid smoke, and maple syrup. The second it begins to boil, sprinkle coconut over and stir until thoroughly mixed. Continue cooking for a few minutes—stirring every 20-30 seconds—until coconut absorbs all liquid, the skillet becomes dry, and coconut just begins to crisp in spots. Your nose is your best guide. When it smells deeply toasted and just shy of burning, quickly remove from heat and immediately transfer to a plate, spread out in a single layer. Coconut will continue to crisp as it cools.