Polenta With Blistered Tomatoes, Walnuts & Thyme // plant-based; vegan; gluten-free; sugar-free; soy-free // makes 4 servings //
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes (I used mini San Marzano tomatoes)
- 1 TB + 1 tsp olive oil (I used organic extra virgin)
- Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme (I omitted these due to not having any on hand)
- 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 cup polenta (I used organic polenta)
- pinch nutmeg
- 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (I used 2 TB nutritional yeast)
- 1 TB unsalted butter (I used Earth Balance)
- 1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt (omitted this)
- Optional add-ints I chose to use: roasted corn & zucchini, kalamata olives, basil pesto, sauteed kale
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Place walnuts on a baking tray, and tomatoes tossed with the olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and thyme on another sheet tray or in a baking dish. Toast nuts for 7 minutes, and roast the tomatoes for an additional 13 minutes, or until starting to blister and crack, and turn soft. Allow to cool while you get on with the polenta.
2. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil (the original calls for 3 cups), adding a good pinch of sea salt and the nutmeg once boiling. Slowly whisk in the 1 cup of polenta, turning down the heat as necessary to prevent bubbling over. Whisk until the mixture is thick enough where the polenta will not all sink to the bottom and scorch. Turn the heat down to medium-low, stirring constantly until the mixture bubbles slowly. Place a lid on, set a timer for 30 minutes. After 10 minutes, return to the pot, and give it a good stir. Do the same after 10 minute increments for a full 30 minutes. If desired, cook for 40 minutes for an even softer texture.
3. At the end of the 30, or 40, minutes, stir in the parman (or nutritional yeast), and butter (or earth balance). You can keep the polenta warm for about 20 minutes with the cover on, but you will need to add a splash of water or vegetable stock and give the thickened polenta a good stir over heat to get it to scooping consistency again. Serve, topping with the blistered tomatoes, toasted walnuts, and whatever else you may desire. Enjoy immediately! If you have leftover polenta, spread it out on a lightly grease baking sheet, cover, refrigerate, and enjoy slices topped with leftover toppings the next day!
The fixins’, including the roasted cherry tomatoes and walnuts. I found having all of these toppings ready made for a really fun, easy way to share the polenta! Like a taco bar…but with polenta bowls…
Close up…cause they are super pretty and tasty! The roasting concentrates the tomato flavor and natural sweetness. Don’t forget to get all that juicy, thick tomato goo off the roasting pan! It is like tomato caramel sauce!
Polenta…in a bag…pretty fun stuff! Really, it is! After cooking, it becomes a blank canvas onto which you can top as you please. Perfect for a group!
Scoop cooked polenta into bowls, and top as desired! Enjoy!