Back to the basics: How to make a roasted veggie and polenta bowl
Ready for another year of cooking? The post-holiday season is a natural time to think about what we want to carry over from last year and what new habits, ideas, activities or even recipes we want to explore in the coming months.
If cooking is something that has frustrated you in the past, finding just one or two basic techniques that you can adapt every week can really help. We’ll be featuring those kinds of “back to basics” dishes as our recipes of the week in January.
To get started, here is a straightforward roasted vegetable bowl that “Meals That Heal” author Carolyn Williams pairs with cheesy polenta. She uses a sheet pan to roast zucchini, broccoli, red onions and tomatoes, but practically any vegetable in the produce aisle would work. You could even do something like sweet potatoes and greens, but the greens wouldn’t go in the pan until the very end.
One week, you could serve these veggies with polenta, but another week, it might be rice, couscous or pasta. If you’re looking to add meat to the meal, throw a few sausage links on the sheet pan before roasting. You could also roast marinated chicken breasts or a pork tenderloin at the same time, but use a separate pan. Lining the pans with aluminum foil will make cleanup easier.
Roasted Veggie-Polenta Bowl
Homemade lemon pepper — just a quick mix of freshly ground black pepper and lemon zest — gives the roasted vegetables a savory, tangy kick that complements the creamy polenta. To make this vegan, substitute unsweetened nondairy milk (such as almond or soy) for the 1% milk and omit the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle each serving with 1/2 tablespoon toasted pine nuts.
— Carolyn Williams
1 pound zucchini (about 2 medium), halved lengthwise and cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes
5 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 cups stone-ground yellow cornmeal
2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
3 cups (1%) milk
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1/2 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/3 cup)
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Combine the zucchini, broccoli, onion, tomatoes, oil, garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl; toss to combine. Arrange in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet, and roast until the vegetables are tender and browned and the tomatoes have burst, 15 to 20 minutes. Whisk together the lemon zest and pepper in a small bowl; sprinkle over the vegetables.
Meanwhile, combine the cornmeal, broth, milk and thyme in a microwavable 2-quart baking dish or large glass measuring cup and whisk until blended. Microwave on high in 5-minute intervals, whisking after each interval, until the polenta is creamy and tender, about 15 minutes. Gently whisk the polenta until smooth. Add the Parmesan and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and whisk well. Spoon the polenta into 4 bowls and top with the roasted vegetables. Serves 4.
— From “Meals That Heal: 100+ Everyday Anti-Inflammatory Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less” by Carolyn Williams (Tiller Press, $22.99)