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
- Cut a little off the puckered ends of the polenta after removing it from the casing, then cut into 12 slices, each about ½ inch thick.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the beans, roasted pepper, and cumin. Stir together and cook over medium heat until well heated through.
- 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.
- To serve, arrange 3 or 4 polenta slices on each plate and spoon the bean mixture evenly over each serving.
Photos: Hannah Kaminsky