Polenta is such a versatile grain that can be used for baking, making “creamy” polenta or crunchy polenta chips. Otherwise known as cornmeal depending on which part of the world you are from, it is a gluten-free grain that is considered a complex carbohydrate. My creamy polenta with slow cooked lentils is the ultimate comfort food for the evenings that have now become particularly chilly and the fireplace is asking to be lit.
I roasted and marinated my own red capsicum (or red pepper) for this recipe and to store for future recipes. This was easily done by roasting an entire capsicum/red pepper whole at 200C for 15mins until the skin blisters. Place it directly in a bowl and cover. This allows the steam to help the skin be removed. Slice the capsicum and store in a glass jar and cover with extra virgin olive oil. This is so much healthier than store-bought marinaded capsicum which is usually laden with preservatives and utilises inflammatory oils such as canola and sunflower oils!
Serves 4- leftovers can be frozen
2 cups organic polenta
6 cups of vegetable broth (can use water if preferred but I recommend seasoning)
1/2 cup plantbased milk (I used almond milk)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1.5 cups organic beluga lentils, rinsed and soaked minimum of eight hours
1.5 cups vege broth
1 stalk of celery, diced
2 large organic carrots, chopped roughly
1 TBSO extra virgin olive oil/ coconut oil/ sesame oil
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 TBSP organic tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 TBSP dried basil
1/2 TBSP smoked chipotle powder/ paprika
1-2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 grilled/roasted/red capsicum, sliced*
Salt and pepper to season
- Fry the onion, garlic, tomato paste, bay leaf, basil, chipotle powder, capsicum and mushrooms in the oil until softened and fragrant.
- Add the mushrooms, carrot and celery and cook for another three minutes.
- Add the lentils and vegetable broth and give it a quick stir before putting the lid on the pot. Let this simmer over moderate heat for approximately 30mins or until your lentils are cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Meanwhile, place the six cups of vegetable broth and polenta in a pot and bring to the boil, making sure you whisk it continuously. Continue whisking for approximately five minute pot off the heat before adding the plant based milk, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Be careful as the polenta mix bubbles rapidly when on the stovetop.
- Serve the lentils on tops of the polenta and top with fresh herbs. I used marjoram from the garden.
❃ I rinse my lentils thoroughly (as with all legumes and grains) before soaking overnight in filtered water and a TBSP of apple cider vinegar. When ready to use, rinse again before draining.
❃ I make my own vegetable broth utilising organic vegetable scraps that I store in the freezer. When I have enough vegetable scraps, I cook them in a pot of filtered water seasoned with salt and pepper as well as dulse flakes. This is an excellent waste-free and economical technique in comparison to throwing out the vegetable scrapes or buying individual cartons from the supermarket.
❃Alternate the recipe as desired in terms of the herbs and spices.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and the tips provided!