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.

Parent’s Dinner Party – Vegan Seitan Piccata, Creamed Spinach & Creamy Polenta

YUM YUM YUM!!! If you want a meal to impress here you go 🙂

Candle 79 is one of my favorite vegan restaurants! And one of my fave dishes there is the Seitan Piccata.  I adapted this dish from their recipe and it was super deeeeelish! I am sure this sauce would work on tofu, tempeh, etc…  soooo yummy!!

I knew both our dads love Creamed Spinach and Polenta so I wanted to make it for them vegan style 🙂 It was super creamy and super amazing!! I doubled the recipes below to make sure we had enough and we were happy to have some left over! They were sooo good!

I love meals where people are like…”How is this vegan?!” This wasn’t the most low-fat of meals but it sure was amazing!! Creamed spinach and creamy polenta is not everyday food for us, but it was perfect for a special occasion.

I LOVE my warming drawer! Everything was ready to go for dinner, yet I had a clean kitchen perfect for the party!

This made a lot of sauce! Was great for meals that week as well 🙂

I cooked this down a little further, but it was still so rich and creamy! YUM!

YUM! Polenta Goodness!

Vegan Seitan Piccata
adapted from Candle 79 in NYC
Serves 6
1. Dredge seitan cutlets in flour, shaking off excess.
2. Heat 2 Tbs. olive oil in skillet over high heat. Sauté cutlets in oil 30 seconds per side, or until crisp and golden brown. Remove seitan from skillet, and drain on paper-towel-lined plate.
3. Add remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil to skillet, and return to high heat. Add shallots, onion, capers, and garlic, and sauté 1 to 2 minutes, or until softened, stirring frequently. Whisk in wine and lemon juice, and cook 3 to 5 minutes more.
4. Add broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 1 minute to combine flavors. Whisk in parsley, margarine, salt, and pepper. Pour over seitan cutlets, garnish with large caper berries or lemon slices, and serve.

  • 6 seitan cutlets, rinsed and drained (I used 12 cutlets – Gardein Lightly Seasoned Chick’n Scallopini)
  • Whole-wheat flour for dredging
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 Tbs. drained capers
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine  (I used red instead)
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbs. nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • Large caper berries or lemon slices, for garnish, optional

Vegan Creamed Spinach

  • salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach
  • 3/4 cup soy creamer
  • 3/4 cup plain soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • grated nutmeg
  • fresh pepper

1. Large pot of water with salt – boil
2. Put spinach  for about a minute then drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, then chop spinach
3. Place oil in broad saucepan on medium-low, add flour and cook stirring consistently till golden, then stir in creamer/milk
4. Add spinach and bring to a boil until spinach has absorbed most of liquid and sauce is thick, about 15-25 minutes
5. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper and season to taste

Vegan Creamy Polenta

  • 1 cup vegan creamer
  • 1 cup plain soy milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups coarse cornmeal
  • 4 tablespoons Earth Balance
  • fresh ground black pepper

1. In a medium saucepan bring the creamer, soy milk and the water to a boil.
2. Add the salt and then gradually add the polenta while stirring.
3. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, stirring constantly.
4. The polenta should be smooth and large bubbles will pop on the surface.
5. Cook until very thick but not stiff, about 5 to 7 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and add earth balance and pepper.
7. Enjoy!!

Polenta with Black Beans, Pan-Fried Tofu & Roasted Coconut Tomato Sauce

This was surprisingly easy to make and deelish! Michael and I both loved it so much!! I would say double this recipe as it will go FAST 🙂 This dish is hearty with great flavor. This is definitely a great dish for people transitioning to a vegan diet, meat-eaters you want to impress with how deelish vegan food can be, and of course Vegans will love this too!! So yum!!!

I added my go-to pan-fried tofu to this dish. As far as I know, it is the best way to make tofu that is super tasty! The crust is perfect!! You can always change up the spices to suit any meal 🙂

Before the Sauce

Polenta with Black Beans, Pan-Fried Tofu & Roasted Coconut Tomato Sauce
Adapted from a recipe on http://www.thekitchn.com/

Polenta with Black Beans and Roasted Coconut Tomato Sauce
1 can black beans (15 ounces)
1 can diced tomatoes in juice (28 ounces)
6 large stalks swiss chard or kale
3 large or 6 small garlic cloves, diced
1 package pre-cooked polenta (18 ounces)
1/2 cup light coconut milk
2 tbs. jamaican jerk seasoning
3 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
1 tbs. chopped fresh thyme
1 lb extra firm tofu
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
dash of salt
dash of cayenne
sprinkling of Daiya/Italian – Mozzarella Blend

  1. Preheat oven to 500F. Empty entire can of tomatoes in a ceramic or glass baking dish, add coconut milk, and place in the oven. Bake 35 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbs. olive oil in a saucepan. Add 1-2 cloves diced garlic, 1 tbs. jerk seasoning and cook 2 minutes. Add entire can of black beans and set heat to low, stirring occasionally.
  3. Separate swiss chard stems from leaves. Dice stems very fine and add to a saute pan with 1 tbs. of oil and 2-3 cloves diced garlic. Heat through on medium 2-3 minutes, then add chopped leaves, apple cider vinegar, and 1/3 cup water. Cover with a lid and set heat to low.
  4. Check on the tomato sauce. Stir in fresh thyme and continue to roast.
  5. Drain, blot and press Tofu to release liquid. Slice into 1/2″ cubes.
  6. Heat vegetable oil on medium-high heat in a non-stick pan and add tofu, sprinkling with salt and cayenne. Let tofu sizzle for 6 minutes without stirring until a crust forms. Turn tofu over and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan and train.
  7. In the same pan heat 1 tbs. olive oil on medium heat. Slice polenta in 1/2″ thick slices. Sprinkle one side with remaining 1 tbs. jerk seasoning. Fry polenta, about 3 minutes per side until light brown and crispy.
  8. To serve: spoon about 1/3 cup of beans on a place, 1/3 cup of tofu. Top with a heaping spoonful of greens and a slice of polenta. Top with about 1/4 cup tomato-coconut sauce and a sprinkling of daiya cheese and enjoy!

Slow Cooked Corn Polenta and Chiles

WE LOVE POLENTA! We love grits! Whatever you want to call it, it is deelish and one of my fave comfort foods ever! It is so simple to prepare but even simpler to eat 🙂

Sometimes when I know I have a lot of cooking to do, I love to use the slow cooker so that I can prepare one part of the meal beforehand and it is ready when I am done cooking the rest. Ahh so simple!

Pre-cooked Polenta

Soft Polenta Yummyness

Set Polenta

Polenta Square

Slow cooked Corn Polenta and Chiles

3 cups water (or milk/ or non-dairy milk)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup shredded montery jack cheese (or non-dairy cheese)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (or non-dairy cheese)
1 can diced mild green chiles

  1. In a large saucepan or flame-proof slow cooker liner over medium heat bring water, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper to a boil.  Add polenta, whisking to prevent lumps. Continue whisking until mixture begins to thicken and bubbles, about 5 minutes. Add corn, Jack and Parmesan cheeses and chiles and mix well. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware if you are using a saucepan.
  2. Cover and cook on Low for 2-3 hours. It will then be a soft (deelish) polenta. If you want it to set transfer to a 8×8 glass pan and place in the fridge for a half hour or so.
  3. Serve and enjoy either way!
LOVE POLENTA!3 cups skim milk (water or soy milk)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup coarsley yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
1 cup corn kernals
1 cup shredded montery jack cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 can diced mild green chiles

1. in a large saucepa over medium heat, bring milk, garli, rosemary, salt and pepper to taste to a boil. Gradually add polenta, in a steady stream, whisking to remove all lumps. Continue whisking until mixture begins to thicken and bubbles like lava, about 5 minutes. Add corn, Jack and Parmesan cheeses and chiles and mix well. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
2. Cover and cook on Low for 2 hours, until mixture is firm and just beginning to brown around the edges.

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