Some days you just crave savory, southern, comfort food. You know the kind we’re talking about? It just makes you feel like home and reminds you of childhood. At least for L. Now, we know polenta is an Italian dish; however, creamy polenta really reminds L of mashed potatoes. So, to her, that’s southern cooking.
If we’re being honest, L’s idea of southern cooking is probably a little skewed. I mean, born and raised Florida, we’re not the south; though we are one of the southernmost states. Little confusing, but whatever I get it. Florida has its areas where you’d think “Okay, yeah. I’m in the south.” But realistically, we’re a beach state…which we’re not complaining about.
So, L has been craving mashed potatoes for quite some time but wanted to put a spin on it–what’s new? Realizing she hadn’t eaten polenta in a while (or hardly ever, for that matter) she decided to satisfy her craving with that. Just creamy polenta alone isn’t nutritious, though. You gotta at least TRY to add some healthy things; and with healthy ingredients, comes color! Eat the rainbow, right? We don’t know about you, but we looove when our dishes incorporate a variety of colorful ingredients. Aesthetically pleasing, while scrumptiously pleasing. Eye Nomz, tummy Nomz.
The lentils add protein, while the spinach, tomatoes, & carrots provide various vitamins, magnesium, potassium, folate, antioxidants, and more! Mmm get in my belly.
This Belgian style amber ale is a perfect addition to our meal. Taste toasted malts, sweet caramel, & subtle earthy hops on the palette. It creates a divine balance with the polenta, lentils, & veggies. New Belgium is one of our favorite breweries. If you ever find yourself in Fort Collins, CO or Asheville, NC, definitely do yourself a favor and tour the brewery. Taste delicious beers (possibly even an unreleased selection!), learn about their history & mission, and end the tour with a spiral slide! Each veteran employee has their own New Belgium bike to ride to work to help cut car emissions. They also partnered up with Colorado State University to create a Fermentation Science and Technology (aka beer scientology) major. How cool is that?! We 100% support this brewery.
For the Lentils:
1 ½ cup lentils (cooked following package directions)
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp black pepper
Pinch of sea salt
For the Polenta:
18 oz pre-cooked polenta (we used basil & garlic flavored)
2/3 cup unflavored nondairy milk + more until desired consistency
3-4 tbsp vegan butter
1/3 cup nooch
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp paprika
For the Veggies:
3 medium carrots, peeled & washed
1 pint grape tomatoes, washed
3-4 cups spinach
Sea salt & pepper
Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large, shallow pot over medium heat and a medium pan over medium heat with about 1 tbsp olive oil. Cut polenta into 1-inch cubes. Add to pot with butter and add 1/3 cup milk. Mash polenta, stir, add remaining butter and 1/3 cup milk, and continue to stir until mashed potato-like consistency, adding extra milk by the tablespoon as needed.
While polenta is warming, add whole grape tomatoes to medium pan. Sprinkle generously with s & p. Let cook, shaking occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
Now, create carrot ribbons using your peeler. Stat at one end, press down firmly, and glide peeler to opposite end of carrot.
Once tomatoes are blistered, set aside and add spinach to pan. Cook for 5-6 minutes, folding every now and then.
When everything is cooked, plate your dish with creamy polenta, lentils, blistered tomatoes, spinach, and carrot ribbons! Enjoy the savory Nomz.