Weeknight comfort food! Cheesy, creamy, vegan polenta topped with roasted tomatoes and mushrooms.
Today marks the third week of my “weeknight dinner” challenge and while we haven’t been perfect, I am enjoying the challenge of creating a unique weekly menu each Sunday night.
This week I’ve planned out these polenta bowls (can’t.stop.making.them.), quinoa salad, and black bean tacos. All require minimal prep and can be ready within 30 minutes of walking in the door after work, which is how I define a weeknight dinner success.
Polenta might be one of the most unassuming foods out there. Ground corn, cooked in milk or water, and served creamy, baked, grilled or fried. But, for anyone who has ever tasted polenta, you know this is the real deal. Hearty, stick-to-your ribs yumminess that’s the perfect canvas for just about anything you wanna throw its way. In this case, roasted tomatoes and mushrooms.
As kids, my mom used to make us polenta on special occasions. While my sisters loved the fried variety, I wanted it soft and mushy with homemade spaghetti sauce topped with loads of parmesan cheese. Simple perfection.
I used to think it was such a treat to get polenta bowls for dinner. Now I know that my mom was a genius. Polenta, for all its deliciousness, is really, really cheap. Like pennies per serving cheap. Topped with roasted vegetables, you are getting a healthy, filling dinner that’s ready to serve in less than 30 minutes. Did I mention it costs less than a dollar per serving?! Now that’s a happy meal.
Like the rustic nature of polenta, I wanted to keep the rest of the bowl simple. This time of year, I think I end up roasting just about every vegetable that comes into my kitchen. Not only do most vegetables taste delicious roasted (cauliflower —> swoon), but it takes very little effort to prepare.
Do a quick chop, toss with a smidge of olive oil and salt & pepper, and roast away. During the winter when most fresh tomatoes taste like water, I stick to the cherry or grape variety. While I don’t love them raw, I devour them like candy after they’ve been roasted.
Polenta bowls for the win! If you’re anything like me, you’re going to wanna face plant right into this giant bowl of creamy, comfort food goodness.
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 10 oz. mushrooms (1 pack) thinly sliced
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning (thyme, oregano, basil)
- Polenta: 3 cups soymilk
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup corn meal
- 1 tbsp. dairy-free butter (I like Earth Balance brand)
- 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional but gives great 'cheese' like-flavor)
- Fresh basil for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Toss the halved cherry tomatoes and mushrooms slices with tsp. olive oil. Season with Italian seasoning and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Roast until tender and tomatoes have burst, about 20 minutes.
- Make the polenta: Heat broth and milk over medium heat.
- When bubble start to surface, gently whisk in cornmeal and stir together.
- Reduce heat to low and let cook until thick, stirring often, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in butter, nutritional yeast (if using) and pinch salt/pepper to taste.
- To serve, scoop the polenta into bowls and top with roasted vegetables.
- Garnish liberally with torn basil. If you like a little kick, add a pinch of red pepper flakes!