Crispy Polenta with Toasted Walnuts and Fresh Peaches

Sometimes I get into a rut making the same foods, especially when it comes to breakfast. I was perusing the grocery store shelves, pondering new breakfast ideas when I remembered a yummy breakfast my brother-in-law made one time while I was visiting. I decided to try making something similar. It’s really simple to make and is a tasty alternative to the usual breakfast foods.

This dish features polenta, a tasty porridge made of cornmeal. I bought pre-made Polenta at Trader Joes for this, but you can make it yourself at home pretty easily. I was aiming for a quick breakfast this morning, so that’s why I used premade. Making polenta yourself isn’t hard, but it does take a little time and a decent amount of stirring. The blog theKitchn has pretty good instructions and info about how to make your own polenta. She uses butter in hers, but you can easily veganize it by using vegan butter instead. If you make it yourself, try to make it on the firmer side or let it sit overnight to firm up in the fridge.

A quick note about the “recipe”. This isn’t really a set in stone recipe so much as an idea you can customize. If you don’t like walnuts, leave them out or use almonds, pecans, etc. instead. The same goes for the brown sugar…you could use maple syrup, agave, etc. And of course the peaches are optional too. You could also use berries, jam, apple butter, or any other topping you like! This dish is sweet, but if you’re looking for a more savory polenta breakfast dish I posted the recipe for a Polenta Breakfast Casserole about a year and a half ago. It’s really, really good, so check it out if you missed it!

Crispy Polenta With Toasted Walnuts and Fresh Peaches

Ingredients: (Makes enough for 2-3 people)

18 ounce package of Polenta (or a batch of homemade polenta)
vegan butter
about a 1/2 cup of walnuts
2 – 3 Tbsp of brown sugar (about 1 Tbsp per serving)
1 fresh peach

Directions:

  • Slice the polenta into 1/2 inch thick slices. Pan fry the slices in a little bit of vegan butter. Let them get crispy around the edges. Gently flip the polenta slices. They’ll fall apart if you’re too rough with them, but if you’re gentle they should hold together.
  • Toast the walnuts in a pan over medium heat, stirring them often so they don’t burn.
  • Wash and slice your peach.
  • Place the crispy polenta on a plate. Sprinkle the toasted walnuts on top, and then sprinkle on some brown sugar. Place the sliced peach on top and enjoy your simple, yummy breakfast!
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Polenta Breakfast Casserole

This Polenta Breakfast Casserole in some ways is the vegan equivalent of a quiche without the crust. It takes a little bit of time to prepare, but is the perfect dish if you’re having guests for brunch or just to treat yourself on a lazy Sunday like I did today. This recipe is based on a recipe by Alicia Silverstone called Polenta Casserole with Seitan. I modified her recipe slightly, which is what I’m posting here.

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups polenta or cornmeal
5 cups of water
1 medium size head of cauliflower cut in large pieces
2 pinches of sea salt
1 package of Gimme Lean vegan breakfast sausage
1 shallot
1 small yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup of frozen corn
6 asparagus spears
1/3 cup of soy milk
1 1/2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 green onions
olive oil

Directions:

  • Bring water, polenta, and salt to a boil in a large pot and then reduce heat. Simmer the polenta for 30 minutes stirring frequently. If you don’t stir it, it will stick and get lumpy. In a separate pot steam the cauliflower until soft. It will get mashed into the polenta later so it should be a mash-able consistency.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil an 8×8 casserole dish with a little olive oil.
  • Prep your veggies. Chop the onion and shallots, asparagus, and parsley. Press or mince the garlic.
  • Saute the onion, shallots, and garlic. Then crumble up the sausage and saute it until the edges get a little crispy.
  • Layer the vegan sausage in the casserole dish. Then put the corn, asparagus, onions, garlic, and shallots in an even layer on top.
  • Remove the polenta mixture from the heat after the 30 minutes. Add soy milk, and soy sauce. Mash the cauliflower and polenta together until there are no large cauliflower chunks. Add the chopped parsley and shallots and mix well. Taste to see if you need more salt or want to add other seasonings. Next time I make this I may add in some garlic powder and other seasonings to spice up the polenta a little.
  • Spoon the polenta mixture into the casserole dish as the top layer. Smooth the top with a spatula, poke a few holes in the surface, and pour a little soy sauce on top.
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, then let it cool 15 minutes before serving.