Whey-Cooked Heirloom Grains

William Dissen

The Market Place Restaurant & Lounge, Asheville, NC; Billy D's Fried Chicken, Asheboro, NC; and Haymaker, Charlotte, NC

Nothing beats homemade ricotta or Greek yogurt, but what is the homesteader hobbyist to do with all the whey? You could throw this protein-packed leftover into a smoothie, but for a more savory application, consider this recipe from William Dissen. Just as using broth or stock in place of water amps up the flavor of grains, whey gives them an extra nutritional and gustatory boost.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups whey
  • 1 cup Anson Mills Yellow Stone Ground Grits (or any other grain)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (or to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds more. Stir in the water and whey and bring to a boil over high heat.

In a steady stream, whisk in the grits and stir vigorously. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. When the grits begin to simmer and bubble, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Keep in a warm place for 1 hour to allow to steam.

Remove the cover and bring the grits back to a simmer over medium heat. Add the heavy cream and stir vigorously, working the sides of the pot to prevent burning. Finish with the hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Adjust the seasoning as necessary. Keep hot and serve immediately, or allow to cool and keep in the refrigerator until needed. Reheat with more whey, as needed.

From Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food by The James Beard Foundation/Rizzoli Publishing.



4 servings