Have you ever tried polenta? If you’ve seen a tube of polenta on the grocery store shelves and breezed right by it, I don’t blame you. The package is kind of strange looking, but polenta is really good! Polenta is basically cornmeal mush that is often served hot with a thick, porridge-like consistency. When it cools, polenta can be shaped into a solid loaf that you can slice and bake or grill. It’s a fun way to switch up the base of a meal if you’re used to eating rice, pasta, or quinoa. This recipe for Creamy White Beans and Tomatoes Over Vegan Polenta is a great introduction to cooking with polenta and makes a delicious first course or light lunch!
There’s a little bit of multitasking involved in making this recipe, but each of the components is very simple. The polenta will take the longest to cook, so I recommend starting there. Remove the wrapper from the tube of polenta and slice the loaf into ½-inch rounds; you should get about 12. Coat the bottom of a non-stick pan with olive oil (don’t use a cast iron skillet – the polenta will stick!) and cook for about 10 minutes on each side.
While you have the polenta going, start the tomatoes. I love blistering cherry tomatoes because it brings out such a delicious sweet flavor. As the tomatoes burst, you can lightly press down on a few to help them release their juices into the pan.
Finally, make the creamy white beans. A bit of sautéed garlic (yum), a can of white beans, vegetable broth, and a package of our Garlic & Herb Cheeze Spread are all you need for a deliciously creamy topping for those crispy polenta patties. I finished off each plate with a few pieces of arugula for fresh flavor. Your lunch guests are going to be SO impressed with this meal! I hope you love it as much as I do.
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Serves 3 to 4
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1 tube of polenta, sliced into ½-inch rounds
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- Pinch of salt and black pepper
- 1 package Plant Perks Garlic & Herb Cheeze Spread
- Arugula, for serving
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. When the oil glides smoothly across the pan, add the polenta in a single layer. You might need to work in batches depending on the size of your skillet.
- Cook the polenta until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes on each side. Set the polenta aside to cool and carefully wipe the skillet clean.
- Meanwhile, heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a cast iron skillet over low heat. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until blistered, stirring occasionally. Be careful, the tomatoes might sputter as they burst! Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
- Finally, make the creamy white beans. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in the skillet you used to cook the polenta. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the white beans and vegetable broth and season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for 5 minutes, until the beans have softened. Turn off the heat and stir in the Garlic & Herb Cheeze Spread.
- To serve, place three or four polenta rounds on each plate. Top with a spoonful of creamy white beans and some blistered tomatoes. Garnish with fresh arugula and enjoy warm.