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Tomato Basil Polenta

Polenta, a food made from boiled cornmeal, and for many years associated with peasantry, has now found its way into gourmet restaurants and recipes.  For awhile,  I was apprehensive about cooking with polenta, fearing that no matter how many seasonings that were added, it would still maintain a bland flavor. However, upon seeing a beautiful photo of a dish containing polenta and various veggies–some kind of vegetable casserole, I was sold.

Polenta is incredibly versatile, it can be rolled, sliced, mashed, shaped into patties, and even made into fried sticks, similar to french fries. Many cultures use polenta, including many European countries, South American countries, and African and Afro-Cuban communities.

The nutritional benefits of polenta are surprisingly high; polenta is rich in niacin, potassium, riboflavin, protein and is low in fat–sometimes it has no fat at all! Polenta can be purchased in a tube form, that is pre-cooked, that way all that needs to be done is the slicing/dicing/or mashing. Usually it will either be refrigerated and situated near the tofu, or not refrigerated and situated by the pasta. I picked my tube up at Whole Foods by the pasta–and the tube was only $2.99 and yields five servings! (They weren’t lying when they said polenta is “poor people food”–the stuff is cheap!)  To conclude my diatribe on the vast benefits of polenta, is a tasty recipe that will have your taste buds wanting more. 🙂

*Tomato Basil Polenta*

What you’ll need:

1/2 tube of pre-made polenta (sliced –since the polenta is already cylindrical, you simply need to slice down and the slices will come out circular)  (Also try and pick up the polenta that is tomato basil flavored, or mushroom swiss flavored)

1/3 zucchini cut into small slices

1/2 cup tomato basil pasta sauce

1 italian vegan sausage, cut into small pieces

1 teaspoon crushed garlic

1/4 cup spinach

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon parmigiana cheese

The polenta can either be simmered on a pan, or simmered in a pot. I only used the pot this time around due to my pan being dirty, either way will work.  My directions will be with the pot, if you want to use the pan, just make sure to spray with canola oil spray or add a bit of oil to moisten.  Then add all ingredients and simmer until tender.

Cooking with the pot:

Add all ingredients to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat once boiling and simmer. Once zucchini and spinach are tender, the heat can be turned off. Make sure you are periodically stirring throughout the cooking process–altogether everything should be complete within about ten minutes or so.

About govegetarianista86

After transitioning to a meatless diet two years ago, Lauren and I had no choice but to learn lots of great vegetarian recipes---and fast---after all, we always loved great food. The reason for our decision to omit meat and most dairy products from our lives was quite simple. A vegetarian diet is healthier, kinder, and ironically much cheaper than one with meat. We created this website to show that being a vegetarian is one of the easiest and most rewarding lifestyles to partake in, and hope that both vegetarians and aspiring vegetarians alike will visit Go-Vegetarianista habitually. :) About the authors: Nadya Rousseau is an actor/writer/producer residing in Beverly Hills, CA. She moved to Los Angeles almost five years ago at the age of nineteen to pursue her career and to escape the boredom of her small town. As maintaining a svelte figure is often pivotal in the entertainment industry, she finds she has no trouble staying slim and healthy as a vegetarian. In addition to loving good food and helping others, she enjoys engaging in sarcastic banter--keep an eye out for her frequent sardonic jokes--you'll surely be amused!! Lauren Rheims, is a native of Pomona, CA, and now resides in Beverly Hills, CA. She is a fashion and nature photographer, and of course loves shooting pictures of super yummy food! Lauren at first was apprehensive about becoming vegetarian, being of Creole descent, enjoying delicious seafood and meat, was more or less second nature. However after she discovered just how easy it was to enjoy the same delectable meals sans meat, she was thrilled! Lauren is excited to show everyone the simplicity and allure of vegetarian fare--and just how fun it can be!

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