Creamy Polenta with Spring Veggies and Gremolata

A simple elegant recipe for Creamy Polenta with Spring Veggies and Gremolata – a flavorful and healthy meal featuring vibrant spring produce that can be made in under 30 minutes. Vegan & Gluten Free!

Prep Time: 10

Cook Time: 20

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Polenta:

  • 2 ½ cups water
  • ½ cup dry polenta or cornmeal
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion powder (or garlic powder )
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper (white pepper is nice )
  • 2–3 tablespoons olive oil ( or butter, or ¼ cup goat cheese)

Spring Veggies:

(4-5 cups veggies – here are suggestions, but feel free to sub other options below)

  • 1 cup morel mushrooms* (brush them clean, don’t wet)
  • 1 cup porcini mushrooms* (brush them clean, don’t wet)
  • 2 cups asparagus , tough ends removed, cut into 1–2 inch slices
  • 1 cup fiddlehead ferns*
  • handful pea shoots
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sherry wine, white wine or water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or tarragon)
  • 2 tablespoons Gremolata – see recipe below
  • *Other mushroom and veggie options: cremini mushrooms, spring peas, snow peas, english peas, edamame, green beans

Instructions:

  1. Bring water to boil in a medium pot. Season with salt, pepper and spices. Once it’s boiling gradually whisk in the corn meal, bring to a simmer, cover and turn heat to low. Mix again in 10 minutes. Then cook for another 10 minutes ( 20-25 minutes total). Stir in the olive oil, butter or goat cheese. Turn heat off.
  2. While the polenta is cooking make the Gremolata. Set aside.
  3. Cook the veggies. Cut veggies into bite sized pieces. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms first, and sauce until just tender, 4-5 minutes. Add shallot and other veggies. Season with salt and pepper and stir often. Lower heat and take your time, cook about 5 minutes until al dente, or just fork tender. Give a splash of wine or water, turn heat up to medium to help cook off the wine. Taste, adjust salt, remembering the gremolata will add a lot of flavor, so keep the veggies simple. If you have very thick asparagus, or larger pieces of veggies, you could cover the pan for a few minutes to lightly steam them, being careful not to overcook or you may lose their lovely color. If using pea shoots as the garnish, make a well in the center of the pan and lightly sauté them (keeping them separate).
  4. Assemble 2 bowls or make one large beautiful platter or bowl and serve it from there.
  5. If polenta has thickened too much, reheat it, whisking in a little splash of water, until loose and creamy again. Re-taste for salt. Pour polenta into bowls, top with a mound of the veggies, then top with optional pea shoots. Spoon the flavorful gremolata around the veggies, over the polenta.

Notes:

For those who need more protein, this would be delicious with simple grilled salmon or chicken, or seared tofu. Feel free to adjust this recipe for the seasons. In summer use grilled zucchini, peppers eggplant, in the fall roasted winter squash and fall mushrooms. Very adaptable.

GREMOLATA

  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (1 cup packed, tender stems OK)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (Meyer Lemon is especially nice)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1/8– 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, more to taste
  • pinch chili flakes – optional

Place chopped parsley, garlic, zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Give a stir. Taste. Add more lemon juice if you like. (You want this salty and lemony.) If you want a looser consistency add a little more oil. Add a pinch of chili flakes for heat.