Polenta and Black Bean Tamale Pie

January 29, 2012 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

I adapted this recipe that was adapted by This American Bite. I used regular cheddar cheese (after recently using up all my vegan shredded cheese) and used black beans that were pressure cooked the day before. The flavoring of this tamale pie depends on the type of salsa you use. Aim towards a deeply flavored salsa perhaps a smoky adobo or a roasted garlic flavor. Spicy is also good, good, good. I’ve made recipes using these ingredients time and time again. The difference with this recipe is the packaging and delivery. The polenta at the bottom creates a nice base for the chunky filling. By the way, this passes my “oh my goodness this is good as left-overs” test. The In-House Taste Tester somehow managed to leave me some which I know was a struggle. Polenta and Black Bean Tamale Pie adapted from This American Bite

  • Olive Oil
  • One  18 oz roll of polenta
  • 3 – 4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup of corn
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/3 cup garlic breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Daiya Mozzarella vegan cheese (Megabeth note: I used shredded cheddar.)
  • Megabeth note: if your salsa doesn’t pack enough of a punch, then add some cayenne, chili powder and some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to the mixture.

Pre-heat over to 350 degrees. Line a 9″ baking pan with foil including the sides. Drizzle a light coating of olive oil in bottom of the pan (or use cooking spray). Slice polenta into 1/2 inch slices. Layer on bottom of pan, then flatten (with your knuckles) to create an even crust. Line a 9″ round straight sided baking pan with silver foil.  (Megabeth note: I used a square glass pyrex baking dish.) Drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil on the foil and use a paper towel to grease the base and sides of the pan.  Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Slice your polenta in to 1/2 inch rounds and layer at the base of the pan, then flatten it – use your knuckles to create an even crust that will form the base of your pie. Combine tomato, corn, black beans and salsa in bowl. Add spices and combine. Pour mixture on top of polenta. Spread to ensure top is even. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle breadcrumbs on top. Then, sprinkle cheese. Return to oven for an additional 20 minutes.

Vegetarian Giro d’Italia: Fagioli all’Uccelletto con Sage Polenta (Italian White Beans with Sage Polenta)

May 14, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Vegetarian Giro d'Italia

Fagioli all'Uccelletto con Sage Polenta

The Giro takes us into the region of Tuscany for the next couple of days. We transition from the Piedmont region, where dishes feature heavy peasant food, to an area where simple dishes are king. Sauces and garnishes are used in a way that do not mask the natural flavor of the food. The refined cooking in this region features olive oil and the use of herbs, especially sage, rosemary and basil.

The Tuscans are very fond of cooking beans. That is why I chose this particular dish. The naming of this recipe is truly inspired as its name comes from the seasoning – garlic and sage – which are typically used in chicken dishes. That’s where “uccelletto” comes from. It means “birdy”. So, these are white beans made “birdy style”.  (But, no cooking actual birdies on Veggin’, right?)

The directions and recipe are a compilation of several recipes I found from various sources. My goal was to make this a quick and easy “after work” type meal that you can make after a long day. I used canned white beans and diced tomatoes. If you have a little more time, by all means soak dry beans over night and/or use fresh tomatoes. Either way, I highly recommend using fresh sage over the dried stuff. It’s worth that extra freshness (especially if you’re using canned ingredients.)

Fagioli all’Uccelletto con Sage Polenta
(Beans recipe: by Megabeth)
(Sage Polenta recip: by Adopt a Turkey)

Ingredients for the polenta
5 cups water or light vegetable stock
1 ½ cups polenta
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced fresh sage, or ½ tsp dried sage
½ tsp ground pepper
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (If you’re not familiar with nutritional yeast read this.)
1 tsp sea salt

Ingredients for the beans
2 15oz cans white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
2 Tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

To make the polenta:

In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Gradually whisk in the polenta and whisk constantly for 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to a simmer and add the remaining ingredients.

Continue cooking, whisking every 5 minutes, until the polenta starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 15 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

For the beans…

In a saucepan or deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and fresh sage. Cook until garlic is soft and not too brown. Add the tomatoes to the skillet and turn down the heat.

Simmer tomatoes for 15 minutes.

Add the white beans to the skillet, add salt and pepper to taste and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

Serve beans over the sage polenta.

Cheesy Polenta with Sauteed Spinach and Chanterelles

January 24, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

Polenta with Spinach and ChanterellesLooking for a little something different to make for dinner tonight that’s easy to make, warm and filling?  Then make this polenta with spinach and chanterelle mushroom dish. This is definitely going to be on normal rotation in my kitchen especially during this seemingly never-ending winter.

I had three pans going at the same time on the stove – mushrooms were simmering, polenta was cooking and the spinach was sauteing. Never fear, though, you won’t get that “spinning plates” feeling. Everything cooks in it’s own time and there is no fear of burning or overcooking.

Cheesy Polenta with Sauteed Spinach and Chanterelles
adapted by Megabeth from What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat Anyway?

1 cup fine cornmeal
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoons margarine
1/2 cup Gouda cheese, shredded
freshly ground pepper
1 oz package dried chanterelle mushrooms
1 cup vegetable broth
olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
3-4 tightly packed cups fresh baby spinach

Add mushrooms and stock to a small pot, bring stock to a boil.  Turn heat to low and let them simmer for about 20 minutes.Polenta with Spinach and Chanterelles

In large pot, bring three cups of water to a boil with 1 Tablespoon of salt. Whisk the cornmeal into the boiling water and turn heat to low. Let cornmeal absorb the water, then add an additional 3 cups of water 1/2 cup at a time. Let each 1/2 cup of water absorb before adding the next. Stir occasionally to ensure that the polenta does not stick to the bottom of the pan.Polenta with Spinach and Chanterelles

When the polenta is near the end of cooking, remove mushrooms from cooking broth and then saute in a small pan with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add a splash of tamari to the mushrooms. Heat through and remove from pan into a small bowl. (If there are large pieces of mushrooms, feel free to cut some smaller.)

Add another 3 teaspoons of olive oil and garlic to the saute pan. Let garlic saute a bit. Add spinach to pan and wilt. Remove from heat.Polenta with Spinach and Chanterelles

Once the polenta is cooked, stir in gouda and margarine into the pan. Add freshly ground pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Cook for another 3-4 minutes until cheese and butter is melted.Polenta with Spinach and Chanterelles

Add polenta to serving bowl, top with sauteed spinach and mushrooms. Shred some additional gouda on the top to taste.Polenta with Spinach and Chanterelles

 Polenta with Spinach and Chanterelles

Polenta with White Beans, Spinach and Caramelized Tomatoes

January 24, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

The Chubby Vegetarian featured this recipe with homemade polenta. I’ve adapted the recipe to include items that I already had on hand including the polenta in a tube. The benefit of making your own polenta is that you can make larger slices for the base of this dish. In my version, the base polenta is a bit smaller, so it’s best to cook it until quite brown and stiff so that it’s easier to eat. Otherwise, the polenta is too floppy to support the toppings.

(Another note: try not to make this when you are starving. We ate several of the browned polenta rounds while the toppings were still cooking. So, we didn’t have as many of the finished product. However, I had plenty of the spinach, white beans and tomatoes left over to have them for lunch the next day. They were even good on their own.)

Polenta with White Beans, Spinach and Caramelized Tomatoes
Adapted from The Chubby Vegetarian

– One container grape tomatoes
– 1/4 bag frozen spinach
– 1 15 oz can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 tube sun-dried tomato polenta
– 2 cloves garlic, diced
– balsamic vinegar
– shredded parmesean cheese
– olive oil
– kosher salt and pepper

– Preheat toaster oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, drizzle grape tomatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir to coat tomatoes. Place tomatoes on foil lined baking sheet and cook in toaster oven for 20 minutes or until soft and bubbly.

– Slice polenta into 1/4 inch rounds. Place in pre-heated pan drizzled with a little olive oil to prevent sticking. Brown both sides of polenta. Remove polenta from pan and set on plates.

– Meanwhile, in microwave, heat frozen spinach per package directions. Once polenta is removed from the pan, add spinach into same pan and add 1/2 of the diced garlic. Heat spinach for one to two minutes or until garlic is cooked. Remove spinach from pan and set-aside.

– In same pan, add a little olive oil, white beans and salt and pepper. Cook beans until heated through and they begin to brown.

– Now it’s time to build the polenta stacks. On the polenta…

– Add the beans…

– Then one tomato…

– Add some spinach…

– and a little parmesean cheese…

– and finally a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

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