I have been getting a little tired of veggie burgers, tofu steaks and tempeh as the main attraction in my vegan dishes. Polenta cakes have been a great alternative for a savory breakfast, lunch or dinner. On salad, in a sandwich, covered in vegan cream cheese, with chili… the possibilities are endless.
Polenta reminds me of the wonderful grits my grandmother made for me growing up. She, of course, added plenty of milk, butter and cheese to flavor them. Grits and polenta are basically the same with different names. The basic concept is cornmeal is cooked with water or stock and reduced to a thick porridge consistency.
Vegan Lauren kicked in with this recipe combining my love of spicy cornbread in a polenta. They also keep well in the refrigerator or freezer.
What are your favorite flavors for polenta? Have you ever tried a sweet polenta?
- 1 cup chopped onion
- ¼ cup chopped red pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon vegan chicken base
- 1 cup dried polenta or cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 small 4 ounce can of mild green chiles
- Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add olive oil, onion and peppers. Saute until onion and pepper begin to brown.
- Stir in salt and garlic powder and set aside.
- Bring water and chicken base to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer.
- Whisk water to form a vortex in the center of the pot and slowly pour in cornmeal while continuing to whisk. This will prevent any lumps.
- Continue to simmer for 20 minutes stirring very frequently to prevent the bottom from burning. Polenta is done when it begins to pull away from the pot and starts to thicken enough to just hold its shape.
- Stir in onion and red pepper, green chiles, and liquid smoke.
- Pour polenta into an 8x8 inch greased baking dish.
- Allow polenta to cool to room temperature then continue to cool in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Turn pan upside down on a cutting board to free polenta from pan. Cut polenta into squares.
- Pan fry squares in a very lightly oiled non-stick pan for approximately 3 minutes per side.