Like pasta, these polenta bowls are incredibly versatile and simple to prepare. We do not appreciate polenta enough in this country! It’s become one of my dinnertime staples and I make it for my family a few times a month.
Use this recipe as a template. I typically use whatever herbs and cheese I have on hand and whatever vegetables are in season. In the summer, I might grill them; in winter when we’re craving filling dinners, I serve the bowls with pan-fried Field Roast sausage for some added protein. As long as you’re working with the same ingredient ratios, you really can’t go wrong.
For some reason, polenta has a reputation for being finicky and I’m not quite sure why. I’ve always found it very easy to work with, particularly when making a cup or less–although the bubbling and spattering as it cooks can be a bit annoying. (My solution for that? Use a pot that’s tall and make sure your arms are covered. Polenta spatters on arms really really hurt.)
Polenta can be served creamy, like in this recipe, or you can let it set and cut it into slices. (Or fries! You need polenta fries in your life.) Note that, if you have leftovers, the polenta will solidify. Which is fine! It’s just as good that way. But if you prefer it to be creamy, you’ll want to heat it and stir in warm water until it reaches a consistency you like–then add more seasonings if needed.
Creamy Herbed Polenta Bowls with Roasted Vegetables
These Herbed Polenta Bowls can be easily customized to whatever ingredients you have on hand and whatever produce is in season.
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts trimmed and quartered
- 8 ounces white or cremini mushrooms halved
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup polenta I like Bob's Red Mill Organic Corn Grits Polenta
- 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese divided
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh sage rosemary or a combination of the two
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Toss the Brussels sprouts and mushrooms with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the juices from the mushrooms have evaporated and the Brussels sprouts are tender.
While the sprouts and mushrooms are in the oven, bring water to a boil in a large pot with high sides. Reduce heat to low and slowly whisk in the polenta; stir continuously until the polenta is thick and creamy, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup of Parmesan, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the polenta into bowls and top each with the roasted vegetables and 1 tablespoon of cheese.
Photos by Lindsey Johnson