Vegan Main Dishes/ Vegan Recipes/ Vegan Soups, Stews, and Chilis

Potage Polenta

Potage polenta with red beans and spinach

This is kind of a cross between cornmeal porridge and a thick soup, enlivened with fresh and dried tomatoes and red beans. Cooked cornmeal makes a delightfully dense soup base. Serve this meal-in-a-bowl with a bountiful salad and crusty bread. Photos by Evan Atlas.

Serves: 6 to 8

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stoneground, coarse or fine
  • 15- to 16-ounce can small red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium-small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 cup diced ripe tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup oil-cured sun-dried tomatoes, plus more for topping, if desired
  • 1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning 
  • 6 to 8 ounces Swiss chard or spinach, well washed, stemmed, and chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Handful of basil leaves, cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella-style nondairy cheese for topping, optional

Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over low heat until golden.

Add 4 cups of the water and bring to a gentle simmer. Pour the cornmeal into the pot in a thin, steady stream, 1/4 cup at a time, whisking constantly. 

Stir in the beans, tomatoes, dried tomatoes, and seasoning. Cover and continue to simmer gently. Uncover to whisk well every 5 minutes or so, for 25 minutes, or until the cornmeal is cooked. Whisk in 1 cup of water with each of the last two stirrings.

Stir in the chard or spinach. Cook for an additional 7 to 10 minutes for the chard and 3 to 5 minutes for the spinach, just until tender but still bright green. Adjust the consistency with more water if needed. The soup should be fairly thick, but thinner than a cornmeal porridge.

Season with salt and pepper and serve. Top each serving with a a few strips of basil, and if desired, a sprinkling of cheese, and a few extra strips of dried tomato.

Nutrition information:
Per serving: 184 calories; 6g fat; 6g protein; 7g fiber; 29g carbs; 235mg sodium

Potage polenta with red beans and spinach recipe

Potage polenta with red beans and spinach

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