Marfigs' Munchies

Adventures in vegan eats and feats

Polenta bake with pistachio zucchini crust

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polentacloseup2

These days I have kitten brain, which is where I forget what I’ve said or done quite a lot. Man-thing has to remind me of ideas I’ve spouted all the time, because my tone of finality (i.e. my normal voice) tends to come across as “this is happening”. One such instance is the idea I had to go over to his parents and cook dinner with them yesterday. I’d naturally forgotten about it the next day (because kittens) but once I was reminded my brain quickly went into overdrive. We decided on stir fry for the veg portion of things, but I wanted to include some deliciousness by means of a side-dish so that there wouldn’t be this feeling that “vegetables aren’t food”. I can (and do!) eat about 5 cups minimum of veggies every day, and sometimes double that, but when eating with omnis a bit of a substantial side dish always helps to keep everyone full and content.polentatop

I saw this stunning polenta dish the other day so I’ve had polenta on the brain for a while now. Unfortunately ginger is not loved by all, and I figured I needed something with some shape to hold up the stir fry, so baked polenta was the executive decision. Man-thing loves polenta (although he hates mielie meal/corn porridge – silly man) so I figured this was a good way to spoil him as well. Of course, it’s not much of a hardship on my side to eat this; in fact, Man-thing’s always a handy excuse to make more!

Ingredients: makes one casserole dish/serves 8-10 as a side

  • 2 cups polenta
  • 6 cups boiling water + 1 cube Knorr green onion stock
  • 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 TBSP onion flakes
  • 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar

Topping:

  • 3 TBSP tomato paste
  • 4 dates, soaked
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, measured then shelled + crushed
  • 2 cups grated zucchini (approx 4 small/2 medium) (you can also sub for cabbage)
  • 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 2 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • Optional: 1 TBSP hoisin sauce (note: this is not GF!)
  • Spices to taste (I used lots of paprika!)
  • Nutritional yeast for sprinkling

How-to:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C and spray a casserole dish or a 8″ square baking tin.
  2. Boil your veggie stock water/broth on the stove then add the polenta and stir vigorously over medium heat until combined and smooth.
  3. Add your nutritional yeast and any other spices you’d like.
  4. Lower heat to medium-low and stir occasionally for 3 minutes, then pour out into a sprayed casserole dish.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Steam your grated zucchini for 2 minutes.
  7. In a food processor blend together the rest of your ingredients minus the pistachios until smooth.
  8. Mix together your topping ingredients in a bowl until combined.
  9. Take out your polenta and evenly spread out the topping. Bake for another 25 minutes, then set aside to cool.
  10. Transfer to the fridge to set further, Serve hot or cold with more delicious veggies! 😀

polentacloseup2side' polentaubernomAw yes! This hit the spot on so many levels, not least because the in-laws didn’t have electricity thanks to a silly neighbour, so comfort food was definitely the way to go! Happily they’re apocolypse ready and have a gas stove, a full complement of head-lamps, candles and a gas heater. It was rather fun and a bit like camping, and we had a great time just chilling in the dim candlelight munching away at all the wonderful chow.

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I took home two pieces of leftovers so that Man-thing could munch some tonight for dinner, so he’s getting a mish-mash of left-over polenta bake with some spring onions, brown mushrooms, chickpeas, marrows and crushed pecan nuts fried up in a lovely tomato and black bean sauce. Mmm! He’s busy sending me messages at the moment saying we should celebrate my normal blood tests by going out, so I’m tempted to send him a sneak-preview that should hopefully mollify him and keep him indoors! (Honestly, it’s winter – not the time of year to gallivant out of doors each night!)

polentaplate2polentacloseup2sidefrontOh, and you may be wondering what the cause is of kitten brain? Our newest foster litter! Stunning, amazing black cats! They were dumped in a box so we’re socializing them a bit – they’ve gone from completely ignoring me to swarming me the second I sit down at the computer for attention – as it should be 😉

pablosmysterty friend lookupkitties2 pookigroomingnoir3

What are your favourite ways to use polenta?

Author: Marfigs

Ahoy, I’m Margaux! History teacher and freelance editor; wench to my Man-thing; volunteer at a cat shelter; and handmaiden to our kitsy cats, Gatsby, Freyja and Atlas. This blog is dedicated to vegan food, occasionally overthrown by pictures of foster kittens and other fluffy creatures. I love sharing ideas and recipes, so don't be shy: stop by and say hi!

5 thoughts on “Polenta bake with pistachio zucchini crust

  1. the pistachip zucchini crust is very interesting.
    those kittens. i just want to cuddle them all

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    • Thank you! It’s a real kitten pile when I sit down in front of the computer – they just swarm me and all demand equal attention, and have even learnt how to switch off my laptop, because then I have no choice but to give them cuddles! 😀

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  2. Pingback: WIAYesterday + some thoughts on food restriction + obsession | marfigs

  3. Those kittens are so cute! The dangers of having your delectable food being upstaged, is posting kittie pics. So wonderful that you foster! We just adopted 2 kittens who were in a foster home, so I know what you are going through regarding cute overload! Thank you for your kind comment and your polenta looks devine 🙂

    Zsu @ Zsus’ Vegan Pantry

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    • 😀 I don’t mind upstaging the munch food at all – those kittens are soul food! I’m so glad you adopt kittens and don’t shop for them – it’s so amazing to see kittens go to a forever home, especially after being through a crazy journey. It’s tempting to adopt all the kittens & older cats at the shelter where I volunteer so fostering was the best way to get maximum cat cuddles without actually adopting (our own kitty would be very upset!).

      But yes, I am dying to make your polenta version for my husband & I this weekend – the image has been seared into my mind and is just begging to be eaten – yum! 😀

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