Recipe Sharing: Creamy Polenta with Spring Veggies

Food, Health & Fitness, Home

I’m sharing with you by far the easiest savory meal that I find to be particularly comforting. This is a recipe that I thank my Mum for teaching me to make and in doing so, provided a tried and tested favorite that will suit my tiny budget in London and banished the fear of cooking ‘grits’. 

Creamy Polenta with Spring Veggies

The creaminess of the polenta (ground cornmeal / maize) with the freshness of your chosen, al dente, spring veggies makes this a nutritious midweek meal perfect for busy bees and can be adapted for lunch, dinner or even a savoury breakfast (popular in the Caribbean).

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Prep time 5mins. Cooking time about 15mins. Serves 4.

  • 500 ml (18 fl oz, 2 cups) water
  • 500 ml (18 fl oz, 2 cups) milk – any milk that you normally use, even almond/soy
  • 450 ml (16 oz, 2 cups) polenta – grains, not the hard block
  • 4 tbs parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

You can be flexible about the following toppings and adapt to your preference:

  • 2 tbps olive oil
  • 1 tbs tomato paste / puree
  • 1 medium-sized bell pepper (any colour), diced
  • 8-10 closed cup mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 handful of trimmed asparagus spears, snapped in half
  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, diced
  • ½ tbs garlic puree / 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves / 1 tbs dried, mixed herbs

(You can also add chopped broccoli, zucchini / courgettes, brussel sprouts… you really can do as you please!)

  1. Bring your water, milk and polenta to a gentle boil in a saucepan. Season to taste, add your parmesan and stir constantly to stop it from sticking. Reduce heat to very low and cover.
  2. Heat a large-ish frying pan or wok. Heat your olive oil and tomato puree. Stir quickly and gradually add your chosen vegetables. The peppers will need the most time to cook so add them first – cooking until soft. Next, the mushrooms, the asparagus and tomatoes. Finally, add your spinach and your desired seasonings. If using fresh basil leaves, add them at the very last moment.
  3. Check that your polenta is now a creamy texture and remove from heat, still covered until ready to serve. Serve in bowls and top individually with the cooked vegetables. Top with additional grated parmesan or chopped basil leaves if desired

Both photos taken by Kelsi Farrington with an iPhone 4s using VSCOcam app. 

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