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Food | Recipes

Baked Polenta & Vegetables with Tahini Glaze

Vegan-Polenta-Baked _Vegetables-Tahini_Glaze

Polenta will always remind me of this time of year.  Flashback to April two years ago:  I was starting my vegan diet and learning to cook complex, interesting meals. (By complex, I mean a few steps above rice and canned beans.)

My mom had sent me a recipe for vegan ratatouille to be served with a scoop of polenta. I hauled my ingredients over to my then-boyfriend-now-fiancé’s apartment and got to work.  I learned that polenta is fairly easy to make, but you must beware! While you’re cooking, it can spurt up like some sort of scary, yellow bog. (I usually wear oven mitts when I’m stirring it.)  After preparing the polenta, I arranged all of the beautiful ratatouille vegetables in my fiancé’s iron skillet, which he’d inherited from his family.

ratatouille_vegan-polenta
My ratatouille circa April 2012 (this was taken before I put it in the oven!).

The meal was delicious and special—I’ll always have a place in my heart for polenta and that iron skillet.  The following recipe is somewhat similar although I’ve swapped certain veggies and added a tahini glaze made with coconut nectar—a low-glycemic sweetener. Enjoy!

Baked Polenta & Vegetables with Tahini Glaze

Vegan-Polenta-Baked _Vegetables-Tahini_Glaze-onions

Ingredients:

1 cup cornmeal/polenta

3 cups water

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

1  medium-sized tomato, cut into thin slices

1 zucchini, cut into coins

1 cup shitake mushrooms, stems trimmed

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, julienned

1 tbsp. tahini

2 tsp. whole seed Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. coconut nectar or sweetener of choice

coconut oil to grease pan

1 green onion, thinly sliced

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. In a large pot, bring 3 cups water to a boil.  Gradually add 1 cup cornmeal, stirring constantly.  Add 1 tsp. salt, oregano, and basil.  Bring down to a simmer.  Keep stirring until most of the water is absorbed, and polenta is thick but still stir-able.  This takes about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside. As the polenta cools, its consistency will become thicker.

2.  Wash and prepare tomato, zucchini, mushrooms, and bell pepper. Combine with onion in a large bowl.

3.  In a separate dish, whisk together tahini, 1 tsp. salt, lemon juice, mustard, and coconut nectar.  Add to bowl of veggies and toss until veggies are evenly coated with glaze.

4.  Heat oven to 355F. Grease a 12” iron skillet or ceramic baking dish with a thin layer of coconut oil.  Evenly spread polenta across the bottom of the skillet.  Press the edges upward to form a 1” lip.

5.  Add glazed veggies, arranging them in an even layer.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake another 20 minutes or until zucchini is fork-tender.

6. Garnish with freshly ground pepper and green onion.

Vegan-Polenta-Baked _Vegetables-Tahini_Glaze

Vegan-Polenta-Baked _Vegetables-Tahini_Glaze-Plate
Vegan Baked Polenta & Vegetable with Tahini Glaze

Also by Mary: Vegan Sweet Potato Hash Browns

Veggie Bowl with Red Pepper Cashew Dip

Vegan Almond Lemon Milk Shake 

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Photos: Mary Hood

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