Most of the time, life necessitates that I make quick meals. But once in a while, I have a few hours to try something that takes some time. I saw this recipe in Forks Over Knives magazine, an offshoot of the documentary of the same name.
When I saw the photo of these little polenta cakes, I knew I had to try them, although I was a bit apprehensive when I read the subhead, “Ready in 2 hours and 15 minutes.” But as I read the recipe I realized that much of that time is inactive, for example, waiting an hour while the polenta chills and sets, and 30 minutes while it bakes. I could easily do other things during chilling and baking time.
This recipe made enough for several meals for my partner and me. I baked all the polenta cakes on the day I made them and then reheated them in my countertop convection oven the next day, for 7 minutes at 350 degrees.
I added a green salad with a homemade lime-cumin dressing (recipe below) to the meal. You can, of course, use homemade salsa and/or guacamole on the cakes, but substituting fresh store-bought condiments works too.
Meatless Monday: Polenta-Black Bean Medallions
- 4-1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
- 1/2 cup chopped leek, white part only
- 1-1/2 tsp. ground oregano
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup polenta
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- sea salt to taste
- tomato salsa
- In a large saucepan combine 1/2 cup of the broth and the next six ingredients (through the pepper). Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer covered 2 to 3 minutes or until leek is tender. Add the remaining 4 cups broth. Return to boiling.
- Slowly add polenta to boiling broth mixture, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until mixture returns to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, 30 minutes or until all of the broth is absorbed, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Gently stir in beans and lemon juice and season with salt. Cook 5 minutes more.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread polenta on one of the prepared baking sheets until 1/2-inch thick. Cool. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a 2-1/2-inch cookie cutter (I used the can that the beans came in), cut polenta into 9 or 10 rounds; place on the remaining prepared baking sheet. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until heated through and golden, turning once. Serve with salsa and guacamole.
Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette (adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- grated zest of 2 limes
- 2 to 3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 2 tbsp. finely chopped green onion
- 1/2 jalapeño chili
- 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
- Combine the garlic, lime zest and juice, onion and chili in a jar.
- Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a frying pay until fragrant, then immediate remove them to a plate to cool. Grind to a powder in a spice mill, then add to the juice mixture.
- Add the oil, put a lid on your jar, and shake vigorously.
- Let the dressing sit for at least 15 minutes and add the cilantro just before serving.