Polenta Shepherds Pie

When the temperature drops we just want warm and cozy foods (yet I am always happy with a Kale Salad!).  This one was great and warmed us right up!

Michael has always apprecaited a good Shepherds Pie so I have made a few Veg variations on them over the years. This one was super good because of our shared love of polenta!

Polenta Shepherds Pi

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Polenta Shepherds Pie

Filling
1 lb veggie crumbles
1 onion, chopped
3 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
2 cups mushroom gravy – recipe below
cumin, salt & pepper, to taste

Polenta

1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup polenta
1 tablespoon Earth Balance
2 tablespoons fresh herbs (I used basil, parsley, oregano)
salt, to taste
havarti or parmesan cheese (optional)

  1. Saute onion until translucent, then add veggie crumbles and mushrooms and cook 5 more minutes.
  2. Add frozen veggies and cook until thawed. Add cumin, salt & pepper and gravy.
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low.
  4. Meanwhile begin polenta, bring almond milk, water, earth balance and herbs to a boil.
  5. Slowly whisk in the polenta and continue to stir until thick, a few minutes. Remove from heat. If adding cheese do so now, stirring till melted.
  6. Oil a casserole dish and pour filling mixture in.
  7. Top with polenta and smooth with a spatula.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 deg oven. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Mushroom Gravy

3/4 cup white or button mushrooms, chopped
1 yellow or white onion, chopped
1/4 cup earth balance
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tamari
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp each of sage, thyme and marjoram
salt and pepper, to taste

  1. In a large skillet, melt the earth balance and add onion and mushrooms. Saute for just a minute or two over high heat.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add vegetable broth and tamari. Slowly add flour, stirring well to combine and prevent lumps. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat.
  3. Add spices, salt and pepper, stirring regularly for 8-10 minutes until gravy thickens.

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Polenta Squares with Sun-Dried Tomato and Walnut Tapenade

I love Gena’s site and have always been happy with how her recipes come out! We love Polenta in our house, so not surprising when I saw this one I had to try! I am such a sucker for appetizers too, they really are always the best part of any meal or party! I made these for several gathering and parties and they were always a hit. Enjoy!!!

You can prepare the polenta up to 2 days in advance, and the tapenade up to 3 days. On the day of your party, simply broil the polenta squares and top them with the tapenade. The polenta can also be used as a base for many different seasonings. Try & play around 🙂

Just a couple of past polenta dishes and I am sure many more to come: Creamy Polenta with Barbecue Seitan SauceVegan Creamy Polenta with Sausage and PeppersMushroom and Kale PolentaPolenta & Shallot SquaresPolenta with Nectarine-Blackberry SalsaPolenta with Black Beans, Pan-Fried Tofu & Roasted Coconut Tomato SauceSlow Cooked Corn Polenta and Chiles and Polenta Vegetable Casserole.

Polenta Squares with

Polenta Squares with Sun-Dried Tomato and Walnut Tapenade
Recipe from http://www.choosingraw.com 
Serves 22 (recipe can easily be halved)

Polenta Party Squares

6 cups vegetable broth (low sodium if possible)
2 cups polenta (yellow cornmeal)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 batch sun-dried tomato and walnut tapenade

Bring the polenta, salt, and broth to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer. Using a long wooden spoon, continually stir the polenta until it has thickened (approximately 25-30 minutes). When the mixture is very thick and is pulling away from the sides of the pot, stir in the pepper and thyme.
Oil a 15.25 x 10.25 baking sheet (or line with parchment paper). Spread the polenta mixture evenly over the sheet with an inverted knife. It should be about as thick as the edge of the pan itself. Allow it to cool, and then transfer to the fridge for a few hours.
Preheat your broiler. Cut the polenta into squares (you should get about 22). Return them to a baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil. Place under a broiler for 8 minutes, or until they’re lightly toasted. You can alternately bake them at 375 for twenty-five minutes or so. Top each square with a tablespoon of tapenade, and serve.

Sun-dried Tomato and Walnut Tapenade

3/4 cups sun-dried tomatoes (not oil soaked)
2 cups water
2/3 cups walnuts
2 small cloves garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Boil the water and pour it over the tomatoes. Allow them to soften for 20 minutes. Discard most of the water (keep a half cup in case you need to thin the tapenade).
Grind the walnuts in a food processor fitted with the S blade until they’re finely ground. Add the tomatoes and garlic, and pulse to combine. Add the lemon, sea salt, pepper, and rosemary.
Run the motor of the food processor and drizzle in the oil in a thin stream. If the mixture is still very thick, drizzle in some of the soak water from the tomatoes until it reaches the desired consistency. You’re aiming for the consistency of regular tapenade, or a thick pesto.

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Creamy Polenta with Barbeque Seitan Sauce

As you know we LOVE polenta over here 🙂 What is not to love; creamy, smooth corn goodness! And what makes this even better is a deelish, hearty sauce over top 🙂

Just a couple of past polenta dishes: Vegan Creamy Polenta with Sausage and PeppersMushroom and Kale PolentaPolenta & Shallot SquaresPolenta with Nectarine-Blackberry SalsaPolenta with Black Beans, Pan-Fried Tofu & Roasted Coconut Tomato SauceSlow Cooked Corn Polenta and Chiles and Polenta Vegetable Casserole.

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Creamy Polenta with Barbeque Seitan Sauce

1 1/2 cups water, divided
3 teaspoons tamari, divided
1 large onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon stone-ground or Dijon mustard
8 ounces coarsley chopped or grated seitan
4 cups cooked polenta (see recipe)

Heat 1/2 cup water and 1 teaspoon tamari in a large pot. Add onion, pepper, and garlic and cook until onion is soft and translucent. Add remaining 1 cup water and 2 teaspoons tamari, tomato sauce, sugar, chili powder, vinegar, peanut butter, mustard, and seitan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Spoon the cooked polenta into bowls and top with the sauce. Enjoy 🙂

Vegan Creamy Polenta with Sausage and Peppers

Sausage and Peppers (vegan style of course) has always been the ultimate comfort food meal for me. But I think I totally stepped it up by adding super creamy and deelish polenta. The perfect combo! I would say make more of this one as it will go super fast!

Another Vegan Sausage and Peppers recipe 🙂

Vegan Creamy Polenta with Sausage and Peppers

  • 2 packages vegan sausage, sliced 1/2″ rounds (My favorites are Field Roast and Tofurkey)
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bell pepper, sliced (I don’t like green peppers so I always use red, yellow or orange – but your preference)
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Creamy Polenta, recipe below
  1. Saute sausage over medium heat until well browned on all sides. Remove and set aside.
  2. Over medium-high heat, saute the onion in olive oil about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute a minute more.
  3. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, Simmer until the wine has reduced by half. Add the peppers, fennel, salt and pepper, cooking about 3 minutes more until the peppers are tender but still brightly colored. Add the sausage back in and mix.
  4. Serve with creamy polenta.

Creamy Polenta

  • 4 2/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
  1. Add the water and salt to a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the cornmeal, whisking to break up any lumps.
  3. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring periodically.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the vegan cream cheese. Serve & Enjoy!

Polenta & Shallot Squares

We love all things Polenta!! You can serve this as is or fry it up in a pan to make it a little more decadent, but we thought it was perfect on its own. Such a yummy side dish!

Here are a few other polenta dishes to check out: Vegan Creamy PolentaPolenta with Nectarine-Blackberry SalsaPolenta with Black Beans, Pan-Fried Tofu & Roasted Coconut Tomato SauceSlow Cooked Corn Polenta and Chiles and Polenta Vegetable Casserole.

Polenta & Shallot Squares

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onions, diced
2 shallots, diced
1 cup water
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup coarse cornmeal
Salt & pepper, to taste

  1. Place oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and shallots. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the water, broth, and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal.
  3. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring often and adding water as needed, for 30 minutes, or until thick.
  4. Season with the salt and pepper.
  5. Brush an 11x7x2-inch dish with oil. Spread the polenta in the dish. Cool completely and cut into squares.

Mushroom and Kale Polenta

We love polenta! It cooks so quick and you can do so many fun things with it 🙂 You can probably guess from many of my recipes that I love kale and mushrooms and they went SO well with the polenta. This an easy dish that also makes great leftovers.

Some other polenta goodness: Polenta with Nectarine-Blackberry Salsa, Vegan Creamy Polenta, Polenta with Black Beans, Pan-Fried Tofu & Roasted Coconut Tomato Sauce, Slow Cooked Corn Polenta and Chiles and Polenta Vegetable Casserole.

Here are just a few other mushroom recipes if you love them too! Mushroom Stroganoff, Mushroom and Crumble Stroganoff, Raise-the-Roof Sweet Potato Vegetable Lasagna, Raw Spinach & Wild Mushroom Quiche, Vegan Creme of Artichoke and Mushroom Soup with Pesto, Thai Coconut Bliss Soup, Easy Tofu Scramble, Raw Mushroom Cream Sushi and Chopped “Liver” Spread.

Mushroom and Kale Polenta

1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 – 2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
2 cups sliced mushrooms (any mix)
1 – 2 cups kale, washed and chopped
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2-3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt, freshly ground pepper, olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the cornmeal, whisking continuously. Add corn, thyme, and salt and pepper, turn heat to low and continue to cook for about 10-15 minutes. If the polenta becomes too stiff, add a little more water. (1/4 cup at a time.)
  3. In the meantime, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt, and continue to cook for 5 minutes; the mushrooms should be giving off some liquid.
  4. Add kale and about 2 tablespoons of water to the mushrooms, then cover the skillet for about a minute, until the kale softens up.
  5. Add everything in the mushroom and kale skillet to the polenta. Mix the nutritional yeast into the polenta, and spread the mixture into a glass baking dish.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Either serve right away or chill and cut into squares.

Polenta with Nectarine-Blackberry Salsa

Grilled nectarines and fresh blackberries are delicious in this salsa. I served it on top of polenta but you could easily put this over tofu or even just eat it with chips.  This came together so fast and was really tasty! Using prepared polenta was the key to this super fast meal.

Polenta with Nectarine-Blackberry Salsa
adapted from Eating Well

1 tablespoon canola oil & 1 teaspoon canola oil
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon sea salt & 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 16- to 18-ounce tube prepared plain polenta
2 nectarines, halved and pitted
1 pint blackberries, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
Hot sauce to taste

1. Preheat grill or saute pan to medium-high and spray with cooking spray.
2. Cut the polenta crosswise into 8 slices. Combine 1 tablespoon oil, cumin, 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over polenta.Rub the cut sides of nectarine halves with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil.
3. Place the polenta slices and nectarines on the pan. Grill the polenta 3 to 4 minutes per side. Grill the nectarines, turning occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes total. Coarsely chop the nectarines.
4. Combine the chopped nectarines, blackberries, lime juice, hot sauce and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Layer the polenta and fruit salsa and serve.

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