Polenta recipe: 5 vegetarian and vegan variants

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Carlos Laforet Coll
@carloslaforetcoll

The ancient polenta is nothing more than a simple mixture of water and cereal flour, which is why it has always been called "the dish of the poor". Often considered a very heavy and calorie-rich dish, polenta actually has a fairly limited amount of calories, certainly lower than that of pasta. The softer it is, the lighter and more digestible it will be. Of different types and variants, in fact each region has its own recipe, we propose it again green accompanied by vegetarian and obviously vegan sauces. With the cold lurking behind your front door and guests arriving for lunch, what else to prepare if a very hot and tasty polenta?



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The ancient polenta is nothing more than a simple mixture of water and cereal flour, in particular corn, which is why it has always been defined "ildish of the poor". Often considered a very heavy and calorie-rich dish, actually polenta has a fairly limited amount of calories, certainly lower than that of pasta. The softer it is, the lighter and more digestible it will be. Of different types and variations, in fact each region has its own recipe, we propose it again green together with vegetarian sauces and obviously vegan. With the cold lurking behind your front door and guests arriving for lunch, what else to prepare if a very hot and tasty polenta?



But first, start with the basic recipe which you will then use in the variants you have chosen.

Polenta preparation, basic recipe (for 4 people)

Boil salted water in a very large pot over high heat. Then add a little at a time and very slowly (to prevent the so-called "fraticelli" from forming lumps) 500g of yellow flour for polenta, mix everything with a nice wooden ladle. Continue to mix in the same direction, mixing the deepest layer with the most superficial one until the mixture is mixed well.

If the polenta starts to get too hard and compact, then add a ladle of hot water to make it softer. After about 40 minutes, during which you have continued to turn the polenta, it will begin to detach from the edges of the pot and in theory it could already be served on the table but, the more polenta is cooked the better it is then continue cooking for another 20 minutes.

After cooking, pour the polenta on the traditional wooden cutting board and take it to a hot table with the side sauce prepared by you.

VEGETARIAN POLENTE

Polenta with Mushrooms and Gorgonzola

Ingredients for 4 people)

  • 500g. of polenta as per basic recipe
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 400gr of fresh mixed mushrooms
  • 60g of gorgonzola
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese or grain
  • 0,3 lt of cooking cream
  • chopped parsley
  • olive oil
  • sale
  • pepper

Preparation



Peel the onion well and chop it. Clean the mushrooms well and cut them finely. Take a pan and brown the crushed garlic with a little oil, add the onion and mushrooms. Let it dry for about 10 minutes over low heat.

Prepare the polenta and a few moments before bringing it to the table over the heat off, add the Parmesan and gorgonzola cut into small pieces stirring until the cheeses have melted completely, if necessary add a little water.

When the polenta is ready, add the cream with mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes, enough time to shrink the cream. When cooked, add the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Now all you have to do is arrange the polenta in the individual dishes and cover it with a little mushrooms and their cooking sauce.

Serve very hot!

Consiglio: if gorgonzola is a cheese you are not really crazy about, you could replace it with simple fontina.

Polenta with Radicchio

Ingredients for 4 people)
  • 500g of polenta as per the basic recipe (try to get a fairly hard polenta)
  • 4 heads of radicchio
  • 200 grams of taleggio
  • olive oil
  • chilli powder
  • minced garlic

Preparation

Clean the chicory and cook it on the plate or grill brushing it with oil.

Cut the polenta and slices and let it grill lightly.

Arrange the polenta and grilled radicchio on the plates

Season everything with a drizzle of raw oil, minced garlic and chilli powder and serve by adding the diced taleggio cheese previously cut on top of the polenta.



VARIATIONS VEGAN POLENTA

Polenta with Seitan Sauce and Mushrooms

Photo: aimeedars

Ingredients

500g of Polenta as per the basic recipe

Ingredients for the sauce
  • 400g of Seitan
  • 400g of mixed mushrooms
  • 2 bottles of tomato sauce
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • laurel
  • parsley

Preparation

Prepare the polenta as per the basic recipe.

Meanwhile, brown the seitan (cut into small pieces) in a saucepan with a clove of garlic, a little crumbled bay leaf, and oil. When the seitan is colored (turn it often to prevent it from sticking) pour the two bottles of tomato sauce. At this point, stew the mushrooms separately with garlic, bay leaf and olive oil.

After stewing for about ten minutes, add the mushrooms to the sauce with the seitan, add salt and mix for a few minutes. Turn off and sprinkle with a little parsley

Once the sauce is ready, finish cooking the polenta and serve everything on a cutting board in which you have skillfully poured your polenta with the vegan seitan and mushroom sauce next to it.

Polenta with Beans

Photo: Megabeth

Ingredients for 4 people)

  • 500 gr. of polenta as per basic recipe
  • 250 gr. of beans
  • 2 ribs of celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • oil
  • thyme and sage

Preparation

Clean and chop the celery, carrot and onion. Fry the herbs in a saucepan with a little oil. When they are browned, add the beans (which you will have soaked previously according to the time needed) and half a pitcher of water. Cook them. When cooked, remove a third of the beans and mash them to prepare a soft purée.

At this point, prepare the polenta. Meanwhile, add the aromatic herbs to the mashed beans. When the polenta is cooked, add the bean purée with the herbs and arrange everything on a wooden cutting board, pouring the remaining whole beans next to it.

Serve it all hot

Polenta with Spinach

Ingredients for 4 people)

  • 500g of Polenta as per the basic recipe
  • 50 gr. of spinach,
  • vegetable butter
  • sale

Preparation

Prepare the polenta. Wash the spinach thoroughly and boil them in plenty of salted water. Drain and squeeze them lightly and then chop them.

When the polenta is cooked, add the chopped spinach with a little butter, mixing everything well.

Serve this delicious polenta green very hot.

Accompany the polenta with a good organic red wine, not too strong

Enjoy your meal!

Gloria Mastrantonio

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