Grits You’ll Go Nuts For

Ground pecans and roasted squash spike your grits with a taste of fall

Photo: Leigh Ann Beverly

Pecan grits sprinkled with parmesan cheese and reserved pecans.

At Putt Wetherbee’s house, there’s always a bowl of roasted-and-salted pecans at the ready. “I never tire of them,” says Wetherbee, the fifth-generation owner of Schermer Pecans in Thomasville, Georgia. It’s no surprise that he’s nuts for the nuts—his family has grown them for more than 150 years—or that he’s always looking for clever new ways to use them in recipes, beyond the expected pralines or pecan pie. “You find pecans in rice recipes all of the time—one of my favorites is cold wild rice with pecans,” he says. “So, why not pair them with grits?” He worked with the Charleston, South Carolina, recipe developer Jenni Lata to get the details of this resulting recipe for pecan grits exactly right. “It tastes like fall in a bowl,” Wetherbee says. “It just blew us away.”

photo: Leigh Ann Beverly


  • Pecan Grits with Roasted Squash & Brown Butter (Yield: 6 servings)

    • ¾ cup pecan halves

    • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced

    • 1 tbsp. olive oil

    • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. coarse kosher salt

    • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

    • 4 cups water, plus more as needed

    • ½ cup stone-ground grits

    • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, more for garnish

    • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Scatter pecans on rimmed baking sheet and bake until toasted and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely. Set aside ¼ cup of the pecan halves for garnish.

  2. By hand or in a food processor, mince the remaining ¼ cup pecans (until the texture is similar to stone-ground grits).

  3. Raise oven temperature to 400°F. Season squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a sheet pan lined with foil. Roast until tender and golden brown, 45 to 60 minutes. Let cool.

  4. Bring water to a simmer in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Whisk in grits and ground pecans and season with 1 tablespoon salt. Reduce heat to low and cook at a gentle simmer until tender, about 30 to 40 minutes, adding a little extra water as needed as it cooks.

  5. Puree the cooled squash in a food processor or blender until smooth (you should end up with a heaping 1 cup puree; if you have a lot more, reserve extra for another use). Fold squash puree into the cooked grits. Stir in parmesan, transfer to a serving bowl, and keep warm.

  6. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet and cook until rich and brown with a strong nutty aroma (watch closely as it can easily burn). As soon as the butter is browned, stir in reserved pecans, then pour browned-butter-pecan mixture over top of the grits. Garnish with extra parmesan.