Vegan Friday: Semi-Homemade Italian Basil and Garlic Polenta with Braised Baby Carrots and Red Onions

by ashley

By Ashley Morgan

I think the meatless Monday idea is a great way to encourage the masses to eat healthier and more consciously. It’s also a great way to show omnivores that a meal does not need to revolve around animal protein to be delicious and filling. So along those lines, we’ve decided to startup a “Vegan Friday” campaign, encouraging vegetarians to try eating vegan meals and also some adventurous omnivores who’d like to join in on the fun. Monday was already taken, but even more than that, Friday is a day for celebration. It’s the first day of the weekend and sets a tone to how you’ll spend your days off. What better way than with a healthy, yet indulgent, meal that is not only good for your body, but also good for the world?

 

To kick off our Vegan Friday extravaganza, I made a dish that is a staple in my home: polenta with vegetables. It’s filling, easy (especially when using the short-cut I’ll show you below), and a great dish for easing non-vegans into vegan cuisine. I do make polenta at home normally, but 1) I was lazy this week and 2) I wanted to show busy moms and professionals how to make this dish in a flash.

 

Semi-Homemade Italian Basil and Garlic Polenta with Braised Baby Carrots and Red Onions

1 pkg pre-made Italian Polenta (Basil and Garlic variety)

1 cup organic mushroom broth

1 cup peeled red pearl onions

2 cups rainbow baby carrots (peeled with tops trimmed)

2 tbsp peeled whole garlic cloves

4 tbsp walnut oil (divided)

5 leaves of culantro (different from cilantro, these are long, flat leaves)

Kosher salt to taste

In a large saucepan with a lid, heat two tablespoons of walnut oil over medium heat. Add garlic and red pearl onions, sautéing gently for about 30 seconds. Add one cup of mushroom broth, five culantro leaves, two teaspoons kosher salt (or to taste) and two cups rainbow baby carrots, bring broth to a simmer, lower heat and cover. Allow broth to reduce to half before removing from heat, approximately fifteen minutes.

 

While the broth is reducing, add two tablespoons walnut oil to a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Cut the polenta into ½ inch-thick sections, and once the oil is hot (check by adding a tiny drop of water to see if it sizzles immediately) add the polenta to the pan. Sprinkle with kosher salt to taste. Turn once to brown on both sides.

 

Serves four.

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