A tasty and meatless meal that is perfect for spring! This gluten-free Cheesy Polenta with Spring Vegetables starts with a rich and creamy polenta and is topped with sauteed asparagus and shiitake mushrooms. A generous drizzle of chimichurri sauce adds more flavor and a bit of tanginess to the dish. This is the way I welcome spring.
I love polenta. I enjoy it for breakfast, and it serves as my preferred substitute when I want something different than the typical rice or mashed potatoes to go alongside my main entree. Place just about anything on top, and you have yourself a complete meal. Plus, not only is polenta versatile, but it’s easy to prepare. I use yellow corn grits, and they are ready in just 5 minutes.
A simple blend of asparagus and mushrooms was my choice for this recipe, but feel free to go beyond what I have here. Brocolli, peas, and other leafy greens can be added as well. You can pack this dish with plenty of your favorites.
I also added zesty and tangy chimichurri into the mix because, as with many dishes I create, I like to include something that adds moisture. Just like grits, polenta can become firm as it cools. So I find adding the chimichurri, which has olive oil at its base, allows the polenta to have a little extra liquid to keep it creamy as you enjoy it along with your veggies. I also cook the vegetables in a nice amount of butter to create a nice foundation. And because, well, butter. 🙂
Ingredients you’ll need to make this spring recipe:
- For the polenta, you’ll combine yellow corn grits, chicken stock, heavy whipping cream, parmesan cheese. Gouda cheese and Himalayan pink salt.
- You’ll saute your asparagus and shiitake mushrooms in butter. I don’t add any additional salt to this step but feel free to sprinkle on a little salt and pepper according to your taste. Be sure to remove the ends from the asparagus and slice the remaining spears in half. You’ll want to cut the ends of the spears where the color changes from white to green.
- The chimichurri sauce is a blended mixture of olive oil, fresh parsley, minced garlic, garlic powder, oregano, Himalayan pink salt, ground white pepper, ground cumin, red pepper flakes, and red wine vinegar. You can use white wine vinegar instead of red wine vinegar if you have that on hand. The only difference is the wine varietal used, and the flavor profile is very similar.
How to make polenta with spring vegetables:
- Heat your cooking pot to medium heat and add 3 tbsp of butter and chicken stock. Bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add in your corn grits, stir, and lower the heat to low. Allow the grits to cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
- To the same pot, fold in your heavy whipping. Add 1 tsp. Himalayan pink salt and both kinds of cheese. Continue to stir until smooth and set to the side.
- Cut the ends from the asparagus and cut the remaining spears in half. Set to the side.
- Heat a cooking pan to medium heat and add mushrooms and chopped asparagus. Add 1/4 cup of butter and saute the vegetables for 5 to 7 minutes or until they reach your desired tenderness. Once cooked, the veggies can remain in the pan while you prepare your chimichurri.
- Place all chimichurri ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
- To plate, add a portion of the cheesy polenta to a bowl. Top with cooked vegetables and drizzle on chimichurri sauce.
A few considerations when making this recipe:
- You can easily adapt this recipe to work with any vegetables, so as we move from season to season, this dish can be tweaked to incorporate in-season veggies.
- If you have any leftover chimichurri, it can be placed in a small sealed container in the refrigerator and will be good if used within 5 days.
- After polenta sits for a while, it can thicken. So, you can either prepare your polenta last (after sauteeing your veggies and making the chimichurri), or you can add a little more chicken stock to the polenta before serving.
This fresh and inviting spring dish is perfect for the season! It’s quick, easy, and flavorful and is ready in under 30 minutes.Print