Top creamy polenta with lemony raw & roasted beets, and you have a healthy, comforting, delicious dinner. Great for date nights!
We celebrated Valentine’s day early this year with this creamy polenta recipe. We actually celebrate most holidays early around here… at least food-wise. Christmas cookies in October, Thanksgiving food in late August and so on.
I’m not sure what we’re doing for “real” Valentine’s yet – but once I got this recipe just right and the pictures were done, Jack and I sat down to a romantic (albeit reheated) meal for two. The only caveat – Jack doesn’t like beets. He’s not a picky eater but beets are on his short list of foods he usually won’t touch. I originally tried this recipe with other roasted vegetables but the juicy sweetness of the beets went SO well with the creamy polenta. The little heart-like-shaped red beets combined with the pink and white striped Chioggia beets just needed to be here. Also, since I love beets and you love beets (right?), he was outnumbered this time.
Our dinner conversation went like this:
Me: “So I know you don’t prefer beets, but don’t you think they work really well in this case – just a few of them – with the other vegetables and creamy polenta and this lemony dijon dressing kind of covers them up right? I mean, I know how much you love mustard.
Him: “They’re still beets.”
Me: “Remember that one time when I made beets and told you they were turnips and you ate them and you liked them?”
Him: “Yes, but this time I know they are beets and I can’t un-think that”
Me: “But if you didn’t watch me make this and you closed your eyes and ate this, you would probably be ok with this whole combination right? You would probably not even notice the beets.
Him: (as he’s licking his plate clean, btw.) “Ok… of all the way that I’ve had beets, this makes them taste the least beet-y. Plus this polenta is [flipping] awesome.”
So I’ll leave it up to you whether you love or hate beets but let’s talk about the polenta. It’s creamy, made with almond milk instead of plain water or cream. I use olive oil instead of butter which gives it a nice rich flavor.
This recipe is not difficult to make, especially if you start your beets and chickpeas roasting in advance.
The rest of the dish is comprised of roasted red onions and roasted chickpeas, sautéed spinach, and thinly sliced, lightly marinated Chioggia beets… I love the contrasting flavors, textures (and colors) of the raw and roasted beets together.
This polenta recipe serves 2 but can be easily doubled to serve 4.
Creamy Polenta Recipe with Roasted Beets
- 2 cups almond milk
- 1 cup water, more as needed
- ½ cup stone ground polenta corn grits (not instant)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste
- Sea salt
- ½ small red onion, sliced into wedges
- ½ Chioggia beet, sliced paper thin, optional
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup Roasted Chickpeas
- 6 to 8 small Roasted Beets, using this roasting method
- 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Make the polenta: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the almond milk, water and a ½ teaspoon salt to a gentle boil. Add the polenta and whisk to combine. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes. Be careful that the mixture does not start to bubble. This will scorch the polenta and leave a bitter taste. Continue stirring for about 45 minutes or until the polenta has thickened but is still soft and creamy. Stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and more salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and set aside. If it thickens before serving, stir in more water or almond milk to reach your desired consistency.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the onion wedges with a drizzle of olive oil and generous pinches of salt pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until soft.
- Make the Lemon Dijon Dressing: In a small shallow bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Place the raw Chioggia beet slices in the dressing and let them marinate until you’re ready to plate.
- In a medium skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the spinach and a pinch of salt and pepper and toss. When the spinach starts to wilt, reduce the heat and add the garlic and a squeeze of lemon. Toss and remove from heat.
- Assemble plates with a scoop of polenta, the sautéed spinach, roasted onions, roasted chickpeas, roasted beets, raw beets and feta cheese. Drizzle the remaining Lemon Dijon dressing over the vegetables. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.
This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almondmilk.