Don't you love it when one of your vegan meals accidentally becomes a new favorite? That's what happened when I made what I'm calling Vegan Mexican Fiesta Smothered Polenta.
This is a very delicious, fun, and balanced dish both in taste and nutrition.
Hubby Jeff rated this with not only 5 out of 5 stars, but a good ol' "Whoooo-dawgies" ala Jed Klampet from the Beverly Hillbillies. I had to agree. Give it a go and see what you think.
This yummiest of vegan meals started out with me trying to figure out what to do with some pre-cooked black beans I had sitting in the fridge. I also had some homemade vegan salsa (you can find my Salsa Asada recipe here) and some vegan sour cream which I don't usually have on hand so it was a special treat I wanted to use as well.
You will notice I use veggie broth to sauté the veggies in instead of olive oil. For the past 6 months (or more?) I have been experimenting with no-oil cooking, and am amazed at how EASY it has been. Very, very rarely do I find myself having to use any oil in my cooking whatsoever, something I have always wanted to strive toward. (If you want to also cook without oil, click here to learn which pans I use to get the job done.)
Also, I used asparagus here because that is what I had on hand, but I believe any veggie would work nicely such as broccoli or spinach. You can also vary the bean such as using red beans or pinto beans instead of black beans.
Finally, I used pre-packaged polenta because it is what I had on hand - it is made by Food Merchants and comes in an 18-once tube which I get at Whole Foods. If you can make your own polenta, more power to you - I'm sure it would work beautifully.
Here's how it all came together...
Vegan Mexican Fiesta Smothered Polenta
Have ready: Sassy's Salsa Asada (or your favorite)
Pre-cooked black beans (about 2 cups)
Pinch crushed red pepper
Pinch ground chipotle pepper
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup veggie broth (or swipe pan with olive oil)
1/4 cup red pepper, chopped or sliced
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped or sliced
3 large asparagus, chopped or sliced
1/4 cup red onion, chopped or sliced
1/4 cup tomato (I used heirloom), chopped
1/2 cup fresh organic corn kernels (or use thawed frozen corn in a pinch)
2 red pepper stuffed green olives, sliced
Drizzle of Agave Nectar or pure maple syrup
Squeeze fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoons chocolate chips, or to taste
Organic polenta, cut into six (1/2") slices -- always buy organic corn products
Vegan sour cream* (optional)
Step 1: In a small dry pan, toast the spice mix over medium heat until fragrant, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and set aside.
Step 2: Heat veggie broth in a large pan. Add red pepper, green pepper, asparagus, red onion, tomato, and corn. Heat, stirring occasionally, until veggies are slightly tender. Add green olives, agave nectar or maple syrup, lime juice, chocolate chips, and reserved spice mix. Stir until chocolate chips are melted. Season with salt, to taste.
Step 3: Arrange 3 slices of polenta per person in the center of your plate. Spoon half of the bean/veggie mix (although I always give Jeff more) over the polenta. Top with a spoonful of salsa, a dollop of sour cream (optional), some chopped avocado, and a sprinkling of chives.
Serve with a crisp green salad.
Note: An asterisk (*) denotes a "fun food" and should be used sparingly. Not recommended as part of a healthy everyday vegan diet.