Monday, July 19, 2010

Meatless Monday: Polenta with Kale & White Beans

This week, I decided to think outside the box and make some deliciously satisfying Polenta accompanied by sauteed kale, onion, white beans and a touch of balsamic.  Usually I stick to brown rice, whole wheat pasta and cous-cous so it was a pleasant change for this creature of habit.

Polenta, which is basically cornmeal paste, originated in Northern Italy and today still surpasses pasta and pizza in popularity in parts of Italy.  To make polenta from scratch you would need a copper pot and have to stir for an entire 50 minutes or so.   I don't know about you, but it isn't ideal for me to stand over a pot for 50 minutes straight.  Today, we can buy polenta in a tube and save ourselves an hour.  I prefer Food Merchants Organic polenta (shown below). 

Kale is very high in beta carotenevitamin Kvitamin Cluteinzeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium.  It has great flavor and texture and goes well with just about anything, much like spinach.  

Polenta with Kale & White Beans

1 18-oz. tube Food Merchants Organic Polenta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup minced red onion (or white if you prefer)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, washed and chopped
2 cup vegetable broth
1 15-oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, plus more for drizzling
Slice the polenta into 1/2-inch thick rounds.  Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and brown the polenta on each side.  I use cooking spray but feel free you use oil of your choice.  Note: It takes a few minutes longer if you decide to use cooking spray. 
While the polenta is cooking, heat a large pot over medium to medium-high heat and add the olive oil.  Add the onion and saute until it’s softened, about five minutes or so.  Add the garlic and saute for about a minute more, or until fragrant.  Add the kale with the water still clinging to the leaves, give it a stir, and cover the pot.  Cook for a couple minutes to start wilting the kale, then add the vegetable broth, cover and stir again.  Cook the kale until it’s tender, about ten minutes or so depending on how hot your pot is.
Once the kale is almost tender, stir in the white beans and cook with the lid off, just until they’re heated through.  Add the balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
To plate, place a couple polenta rounds on the plate and top with the kale mixture and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Buon Apetito! 

Recipe adapted from