Friday, April 15, 2011

Grilled Polenta topped with Roasted Root Vegetables and Vodka Sauce

This photo is courtesy Colin's iPhone
It is farmer's market season again! I frequent the farmer's market virtually every weekend, regardless of which town I happen to be in. There is nothing better to me than walking around, chatting with farmers, picking out your own produce, discovering whats in season, feeling good about where your food is coming from AND supporting your local economy. It's warm fuzzies all around.

These past two weeks at the farmer's markets have provided a ton of root veggies and greens (my favorites) as well as lots of apples and pears. So, as I try to cook with what is in season as much as possible, I have been making a lot of root veggie based dishes. Which is A-OK with me because I love sweet potatoes almost as much as I love beets. Actually that's a lie. I love beets more than almost any other food. Also Colin has made German potato salad (vegan style) like 3 times so that has been in our fridge non-stop (for a later blog post).

Sticking with the in-season theme, I decided to make roasted veggies with polenta and an experimental sauce that closely resembles a spicy vodka sauce despite the fact that it doesn't have cream. Or even vodka...

But it was delicious and shockingly filling (thanks starch!). Winter vegetables have a special place in my heart. And stomach.

  • An arrangement of about 6-7 root veggies including (but not limited to): Beets (I used italian because they are so fun looking), carrots (I got purple carrots at the farmer's market - they are my favorite kind of carrot), sweet potatoes, red potatoes and fingerling potatoes (did you know that the scientific name for potato is Solanum tuberosum? Now you do.
  • About 1/2 cup of olive oil (I also used braggs to give the veggies a little more juice)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp curry spices (I cheat and use the Trader Joe's Indian Curry Blend)
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1-2 tsp salt
Preheat the over to 425

Chop all of the veggies so that they are about the same size - not too fine but you should have no pieces larger than an inch in any direction.

Lightly oil a cookie sheet and arrange all of your veggies out so that they are evenly spread over the surface

Brush them down (remember that nifty basting brush from my last post - yeah, use that!) with the olive oil, adjusting with more or less as you see fit

Sprinkle the curry spices over top of the veggies so that they are completely covered - again, add more or less as you need

Drizzle the olive oil over the top with a spoon and then finish off with the salt

Bake at 425 for about 30-40 minutes or until they look slightly shriveled (but not burned)


I totally made this recipe up. Completely. I didn't measure either so I am giving you approximate measurements but the sauce was really really good so I felt a moral obligation to at least do that. For this sauce, you will need approximately:
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes (if you can get the ones already spiced with basil and stuff, even better)
  • 1-2 small/medium heirloom tomatoes (I used like 8 cherry herilooms)
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha (never gets old - ha!)
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • 10 large leaves of fresh basil (or you can used dried - about a tbsp)
  • A quarter can of black beans (gives it a thicker consistency)
  • 1 tbsp vegan sour cream OR 1/4 cup vegan creamer OR 1/2 block of silken tofu
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Combine the tomatoes, Sriracha, garlic, basil, black beans and sour cream and salt in the food processor. Pulse until fully combined but not purified because you don't want this sauce to be too liquidy - you will add in the cider vinegar.

Transfer the ingredients into a medium saucepan over low heat.

Stir in the apple cider vinegar and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Preformed polenta (looks like the photo below) 
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
Cut the polenta into slices that are about a quarter to half inch thick
Bring the oil up to medium temperature and then lightly grill the polenta on both sides until golden (about 2-3 minutes per side)

Then comes the best part! You put the polenta on the plate, followed by the veggies, followed by the vodka sauce (followed by taking pictures when you are really hungry if you are me) and eat it! It's full of delicious vitamins and the flavor combos are just perf.

Another delicious vegan meal to help you live long and prosper.

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