January’s healthy eating theme continues here on Spicie Foodie. Today I have another healthy recipe loaded with veggies. The dish consists of creamy polenta topped with garlic creamed spinach and roasted vegetables.
What is Polenta? In modern day cookery Polenta is the Italian word for coarsely ground (yellow) cornmeal. (Don’t confuse it with corn flour) It can be cooked with either stock, milk, or water to make a thick porridge. Additionally it can be baked, grilled or even fried. The porridge can serve as breakfast or it can also be used as a base to top with stews, meats, sausages or vegetables like you see here.
There are several types of polenta and it is important to know which one you are buying. The one you’ll need for this recipe is quick cooking so please make sure to read the package and instructions. Frank of Memorie di Angelina has an extensive article explaining the history, types and preparation of authentic polenta. It is a great and I highly recommended. For now I’ll tell you how I prepared this dish.
- ½ cup +1/4 or 120 g instant polenta (organic or non-GMO)
- 2 cups or 500 ml water
- 1 cup or 250 ml whole fat milk
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- garlic creamed spinach
- roasted bell peppers*
- roasted tomatoes**
- olive oil or unsalted butter
- First read the package instructions for exact measurements and cooking instructions. Bring water and milk to a boil in a heavy pot. Gently mix in oil, then polenta and salt, stir constantly to prevent polenta from burning. Continue until polenta is a thick porridge. The time will depend on what type of polenta you are using.
- Serve polenta straight away, drizzle with olive oil, and layer first with the garlic creamed spinach, then arrange the roasted bell peppers and tomatoes on top. If you'd like sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and more olive oil. I garnished with a small sprig of fresh thyme.
*Find my roasted bell peppers recipe here http://www.spiciefoodie.com/2010/08/27/how-to-roast-bell-peppers-2/
** Find my roasted tomatoes recipe here http://www.spiciefoodie.com/2011/09/07/how-to-roast-tomatoes/
The dish is bursting with creamy savory flavours. I loved it! Of course like a true Mexican the fact that corn is the base of the dish means I really do love it. The meal is hearty but won’t leave you with a heavy and tired feeling . The complex carbohydrates in the polenta are high in dietary fiber and this means that it is slowly digested. You’ll feel fuller longer and won’t suffer from blood sugar spikes. This is what keeps the GI, or Glycemic Index, low in the polenta. Adding the roasted vegetables and creamed spinach only add to the health benefits. Basically the meal is loaded with healthy vitamins, minerals, complex (good) carbohydrates, and not to mention the overall low calorie count.
Have I convinced you to give it a try? You really should.
Check out these links for more delicious polenta recipes.
- Memorie di Angelina has several recipes
- Spinach Salad with Crispy Prosciutto and Cheese-Herb Polenta Croutons and Prawns on Crisp Polenta Rounds and Sun-Dried Tomato Dipping Sauce by Lemons and Anchovies
- Great article and recipes on The New York Times
- Polenta ‘Pizza’ With Pancetta and Spinach
- In need of Polenta for your pantry? Here are several choices