Cheesy creamy polenta topping a mix of flavourful fall vegetables. Vegan comfort food boasting with vitamins.
Two secrets to getting out of a cooking rut: getting yourself into troubles and being scatterbrained.
The Farmers’ Market is a dangerous place to go for me so that’s where the trouble part comes from. Even if I meant to pick up just one ingredient with a recipe using it in mind it never happens. Never. I don’t even know why I’m still trying to fool myself into believing it. The second I set foot onto the market I’m lost. Or should I say: my salary? In my defense, walking past a dozen stalls brimming with the freshest produce, most delightfully scenting breads and local honey [ even of the very rare kind!] until you get to the one you’d originally settled on is torture.
Long story short I didn’t just finally (!!) pick up the first kale of the season – can you believe it had been unavailable since the end of January? – but also lots of other autumnal produce.
About that scatterbrained part: Do you ever swear you had an ingredient at hand not even needing to check because you definitely know it’s there? Until you actually need it. Turns out you’d better have checked earlier than Saturday night with stores closed already. And when your heart’s set on a balsamic kale and butternut squash phyllo pastry it hurts just a little to notice you’re out of balsamic vinegar.
But lack of ingredients has the potential to boost creativity and variety is the spice of life after all. Old but true. In hindsight I’m -very- glad I strained from my original plan because this might just be my new favourite. The sweeteness of the soft parsnips, slightly bitter taste of the kale covered and meaty mushrooms once more mingling in a silky sauce and topped with creamy cheesy polenta? And did I mention chickpeas? Sign me up. Okay, I guess I need to sign myself up or better yet get cooking but I recommend you do, too, for full fall flavour enjoyment. You’re welcome.
Also note that this is super fast and just right for lazier days because we’re preparing the polenta in the microwave. Yes! Trust me it’s the surefire way to perfect polenta. It also saves you another dish to clean because you can eat right from the bowl you used for the polenta. I’m not going back to stovetop corn meal any time soon.
Name-wise I was torn with this dish. It’s autumn to me but I know the majority of you are used to the term fall so that’s what I ended up choosing.
Best of Fall Vegetable Polenta Bake
- one medium Parsnip, cut into half moons
- one medium red onion, sliced into rings
- Brussels sprouts (90 g) – 1/2 cup
- Kale (50 g cleaned) – about 1 cup
- 4-5 mushrooms, sliced thinly
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- Coconut oil for frying
- 100 g chickpeas [1/2 cup + 1 tbsp]
- A generous 1/4 cup passata/tomato sauce (70 g)
- 3 tbsps soy creamer, divided
- Salt + pepper
- 1/2 tsp each smoked paprika and thyme
- 1/4 cup polenta
- 2 tbsps nutritional yeast
As involved as it might look or sound this comes together really fast.
- Start by sautéing the onion rings until caramelized at mediun heat. Add the garlic and fry for another minute.
- Sprinkle in the spices.
- Deglaze the pot with some water and add the Parsnip. Cover the pot and let cook for about three to four minutes or until the parsnip is tender.
- Add the mushrooms, sauté until the release some water. Then stir in the kale and let it wilt.
- Pour in the tomato sauce and two tablespoons of soy creamer. Stir to combine.
- Mix in the chickpeas.
- Turn off the heat and transfer the vegetable mixture to a greased baking dish.
- Top with the polenta and bake at 300 °F for about 20 minutes or until set.
- For the polenta: Place the polenta and 3/4 cup of water in a large microwave-safe bowl. Add a sprinkle of salt. Stir and microwave on high for 2 1/2 minutes. Microwaves vary so stay close by to avoid boiling over.
Remove, stir in the remaining tablespoon of soy creamer and pepper to taste. Microwave for another 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the microwave, stir in nutritional yeast, salt to taste and 1/2 tsp of coconut oil.
Happiness-inducing today: My main work assignment for the day. It involved visiting a daycare facility and the little ones were too adorable.
Stay in touch!
Scatterbrain, going produce-buying crazy at the Farmers’ Market, …: What are your best ways out of food ruts?
What are your top three seasonal vegetables in autumn?
Do you prefer saying autumn or fall? I’ll admit ‘feeling fall-ish‘ has more of a ring to it but still, in my heart it’s all about autumn [and alliterations].