Vegan Main Dishes/ Vegan Recipes

Polenta with Black Beans and Spinach

Polenta with black beans & Spinach

Prepared polenta that comes in a tube provides an easy way to add variety to the dinner repertoire. In a simple combination, polenta topped with black beans and spinach can be a hearty warm appetizer or the main dish as part of a simple dinner. Look for this kind of polenta in natural foods stores or the Italian or gluten-free foods sections of supermarkets. Adapted from Vegan Express by Nava Atlas. See a complete simple dinner, with shopping list, featuring this recipe.

Serves: 3 to 4 as an entrée; more as an appetizer.

  • 1 (18 oz) tube polenta
  • olive oil for the pan, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 2–3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15–16 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper (from a jar), drained and cut into short strips
  • 1 tsp ground cumin, or to taste
  • 5–6 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Cut a little off the puckered ends of the polenta after removing it from the casing, then cut into 12 slices, each about 1/2 inch thick.
  2. Heat a wide nonstick skillet or griddle that’s been lightly coated with olive oil. Arrange the polenta slices in a single layer. Cook both sides over medium-high heat until golden and crisp, about 8 minutes per side.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the additional olive oil in a smaller skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the garlic and sauté over low heat for a minute or so, until golden.Polenta with black beans
  4. Add the beans, roasted pepper, and cumin. Stir together and cook over medium heat until well heated through.
  5. Add the spinach, cover, and cook just until it wilts, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir the mixture together, season with pepper, and remove from the heat.
  6. To serve, arrange 3 or 4 polenta slices on each plate and spoon the bean mixture evenly over each serving.

Photos: Hannah Kaminsky

Polenta with black beans & spinach appetizer

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  • Reply
    Barbara Pollak
    April 29, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Ooh, yum, always looking for new ways to serve polenta, though I can’t convince hubby to love it. Maybe this will do it – he loves black beans and baby spinach is one of our go-to veggies. I assume reconsituted dried tomatoes would work?

  • Reply
    April 30, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Sure thing … reconstituted or any kind of dried tomato. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Barbara Pollak
    May 18, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    So I give this one 5 stars. Hubby loved it, the vegetarians and their spouses loved it, it was easy and flavorful. Served it as an appetizer and it was so pretty!

  • Reply
    March 24, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Love this recipe! I will encourage folks to soak your own beans they are tastier and healthier. Canned beans are lacking in flavor and nutrition. Pass on the non-stick cookware, too. Cast iron is affordable and “non-stick” enough for this recipe. No Cooking Spray required.
    Thanks again for this.

    • Reply
      March 24, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      Good tips, Scottro. I always mean to cook my own beans, and was going to get a slow cooker for that very purpose, but forgot to do so. Though I totally agree with you on all points, I’d rather people use canned beans than no beans, but if they are to do so, to choose organic beans in BPA-free cans. Thanks for your input!

  • Reply
    March 25, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Thanks for posting my comments and for all that you do. 🙂 I am making this recipe tonight, been thinking about it all day.

  • Reply
    March 26, 2014 at 1:00 am

    Turned out great. Thanks again for sharing, Nava!

  • Reply
    July 19, 2014 at 9:23 am

    It’s easy to cook beans in the oven – 90 minutes and NO soaking! Place beans in a large oven-safe pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add enough water to cover beans by 2 inches or so. Add salt (1/2 Tbsp) if desired. Bring to a boil. Place in preheated 250F oven for 75 minutes. Check midway to ensure that there’s enough water. Enjoy! Beans can be cooked and frozen. Some bean varieties will take less time.

    • Reply
      July 19, 2014 at 9:25 am

      Brenda, that’s a fantastic tip, thank you! I’ve never tried this and will surely do so.

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