Grits Cakes

It seems like just a week ago I was lamenting the fact that Emily had announced to the world wide web that I was officially old. Obviously life moved on, and now it’s already August! Our birthday month highlights include a backpacking trip to the Golden Trout Wilderness with a trans-Sierra road trip, and a camping bash at Figueroa Mountain to celebrate no less than 4 birthdays.

With all this fun, getting back into the work routine has been difficult, but I kept myself happy by developing another routine – commuting to work by bicycle. I haven’t been spending a lot of time in the saddle since our bike tour so this has been like rekindling an old flame with my two-wheeled best friend.

Dirty Gourmet Rolling Pin

In the process, I’ve been able to get Joyce into cycling as well and she’s been on my tail riding to work ever since. Even better, she spread the cycling enthusiasm to the rest of the office and we’ve now got 4 more cycling commuters! I can’t say how excited I am about this, and even though I don’t deserve any credit, I feel like a proud mother hen 😀

Riding a bike makes me feel like a kid again. I remember that first moment of independence – that feeling of being in control, and realizing that I had the power to get myself whereever I desired. To this day, I still get that feeling every time I get on my bike – instant happiness!

Figueroa Camping Party

There are of course not-so-great things you have to deal with when riding bikes, like pissed off motorists that don’t understand that you have every right to be on the street. There’s an important bill going up for vote by the full Assembly next month (Senate Bill 910) that would establish 3 feet as the minimum clearance when motorists pass cyclists. There are a couple of groups fiercely advocating against the bill, but with the support of you and the rest of the cycling community, we can hopefully push back and make sure that the bill gets passed to create a safer cycling environment in California (especially for car congested cities like Los Angeles!). You can visit for more information.

My birthday partying is not quite over as I get ready to fly out to Montreal to celebrate another 30th (misery loves company!). Montreal is one of the most bike friendly cities I’ve ever been to, and I can’t wait to get on a saddle there and enjoy some more of the summer. I hope you are doing the same! For those of you going backpacking, we’re sharing our latest field tested recipe Grit Cakes. This recipe was adapted from a recipe in one of our favorite backpacking cookbooks, Simple Foods for the Pack. These are savory and filling and should keep for at least a couple days in cooler weather. Combine with cheese and some tomatoes and you’ve got yourself a meal.

Grits Cakes


24 Cakes

Prep Time / Cook Time


Activity Guide

Backpacking, Day Trip


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup grits
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 zucchini, grated OR 8 mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons tahini
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • (Optional) 1/4 cup milk powder
  • Salt, to taste


  • Medium pot
  • Mixing spoon
  • Skillet
  • Stove with simmer control
  • Baking Sheet


  1. Cook grits according to package directions, or use this grits recipe (omitting all the optional ingredients and butter). Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°.
  3. Saute vegetables and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until lightly browned and dry. Remove from heat and add to grits along with remaining ingredients.
  4. Combine the mixture until there are no lumps—you might need to get dirty and use your hands.
  5. With damp hands, form patties about 3 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, turning once halfway through baking time. Alternately, you can place the grits mixture in a muffin tin. Cakes should be golden brown and firm.

28 thoughts on “Grits Cakes

  1. Ok, just the name lured me to look at these babies… but looking at the ingredient list I already know I’m going to be hooked. Tahini in grits!?! Sounds addictive. Thanks for sharing. Talk about a good source of energy for those long bike rides 🙂

  2. Hello, I liked the sound of the ingredients, However, I am making it right now… It is soupy, what is the secret? Will the honey stiff the muffin when baked? I doubt that I can make the patties because its too soft almost soupy.

    1. Good question Jerald. My mixture was quite soupy when I made them as well but with a little patience they firmed up after baking and cooling off. Note, they will still be moist and slightly crumbly once baked, so don’t expect them to hold together like a hamburger patty. I found that it’s important to properly oil the baking sheet or use a silpat sheet to prevent the cakes to stick during baking.

  3. Thank you for amazing recipes like this one! We plan our trips weeks, sometimes months, in advance. Your website is my favorite for healthy and energizing meals.

  4. These look yummy! Would you carry these on a backpacking trip and eat them the 2nd day? Not sure if they’d be a little heavy…:) Thanks!

    1. Kristina, these are a little heavier compared to a typical bar or dried snack but worth it! I prefer savory snacks while on the trail as I get burnt out on sweets really quickly. If the weather is “cool”, these can work for a second day lunch or snack. I packed them in ziplock bags with little squares of wax paper in between. Have fun!

  5. Hey there I am doing the JMT and I am planning on making these for some of my groups Breakfasts. How long do you think that they will hold up in a vaccum sealed bag? Also how many do you think would equate to a “serving size”?

    1. @Natasha, the time they will last depends greatly on how warm it is outside, and what veggies you choose to use inside. A vacuum sealed bag should help them last, and you could possibly try freezing them ahead of time. We have gotten them to last a couple of days, but still recommend that you eat them towards the beginning of your trip. Good luck out there!

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