I don’t remember ever eating polenta growing up. It’s a food that I’ve recently become acquainted with in my kitchen. I’ve been exploring different way of cooking it and this recipe has become one of my favorites.
Polenta is a porridge made of cornmeal and, depending on it’s coarseness, has a creamy consistency. It’s cooked up on the stove top similar to how you would oatmeal. I prefer mine to have a super thick consistency and like it even better the next day when the flavors have mingled and it’s thick enough to cut with a knife.
It’s also relatively nutritious and inexpensive and has historically served as a staple food for the poor. My local grocery store had it in bulk as well as precooked in the refrigerated section but I ended up buying a small prepackaged bag of Golden Pheasant.
The basic ratio for polenta is 4 parts liquid to 1 part polenta. For this recipe I used 3 cups soy milk and 1 cup vegetable broth to 1 cup polenta. Add the liquids to a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil before adding polenta. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook for about 25 minutes, stirring constantly, until desired thickness is reached. Stir in a tablespoon of vegan butter and season with salt and pepper before serving. Nutritional yeast is optional but highly recommended for additional cheesy flavor.
Preheat oven to 400° and cut tomatoes and mushrooms (shiitake and chanterelle both worked nicely) while the polenta is cooking on the stove top. Toss into a bowl with olive oil and Italian seasoning. Spread onto a a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper or a nonstick silicone baking mat and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender.
To serve, add a liberal scoop of polenta to each bowl and top with tomatoes, mushrooms, chopped basil, and red chili flakes for a little heat. Enjoy!
Polenta with Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Mushrooms
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 3 cups non-dairy milk
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 10 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp. vegan butter
- 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- fresh basil, thinly sliced
- red chili flakes
- 1. Preheat oven to 400°
- 2. Toss halved tomatoes and sliced mushrooms with olive oil and Italian seasoning in a large bowl.
- 3. Spread into a single layer on a lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until cherry tomatoes are tender.
- 4. Bring soy milk and veggie broth to a boil, stir in corn meal, and reduce heat to a simmer. Allow to cook for 25 minutes, stirring frequently until polenta thickens to a desired consistency.
- 5. Stir in vegan butter and nutritional yeast, season with salt and pepper.
- 6. Serve by scooping a liberal portion of polenta into each bowl. Top with tomatoes, mushrooms, basil, and red chili flakes.
Adapted from Delish Knowledge
Artisanal Vegan http://www.artisanalvegan.com/
There are a handful of restaurants in Seattle that I keep in my dining rotation. Ba Bar, located in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood, is one of them. It’s not solely vegan nor is it very vegan friendly. There are a several vegetarian options notated on the menu and one of them happens to also be vegan – I know because I asked the staff.
Have you ever had a Vietnamese vermicelli bowl or bun cha? Pho seems to be the most popular Vietnamese dish but I think bun is where it’s at. I believe bun is traditionally served with pork and herbs over noodles and a side of broth or dipping sauce.
Ba Bar has a vegan version on their menu that I highly recommend. It’s topped with tofu, spinach tofu wraps, shiitake mushrooms, and greens. I like to pour my sauce onto the bun and mix everything together. They also have a stellar happy hour menu; this dish goes down nicely with a Moscow mule that comes served in a copper mug.
If you give this restaurant a shot or know of any amazing vegan options in the Seattle area that I should try, let me know by leaving a comment.
I learned how to make potstickers during college from an exchange student from Russian . . . yeah, I don’t know either. I never forgot how to make them and have done so periodically over the years. I don’t recall the original recipe and it’s not really all that important since you can pretty much but anything you want into potstickers. Shiitake mushrooms and tofu make excellent analogs for meat. The mushrooms in particular have a nice chewy consistency to them.
Save time by preparing your ingredients ahead of time. Press tofu with a tofu press if you have one; alternately, wrap it in a dish towel or paper towels and top with some heavy objects to squeeze out the excess water. Add crumbled tofu, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, and ginger in frying pan with olive oil and cook for a few minutes. The mushrooms and vegetables will begin to soften. Add in soy sauce, green onions, and sesame oil and cook a few more minutes.
Find a place to sit down where you can spread out a bit. Place about 1 tbsp. of filling on a gyoza wrapper. Dip finger in water/cornstarch mixture and moisten around the wrapper’s edge. Fold in half and use fingers to seal the potsticker closed. I found a baking sheet came in handy for holding all the completed potstickers.
Place potstickers in a lightly oiled frying pan set to medium-high heat. Add as many as possible without too much overlapping as they tend to stick together. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the undersides begin to brown. Steam the potstickers by adding about 1/4 cup water to the pan. Cover and cook an additional 2 minutes. Continue this process until all the potstickers have been cooked.
Combine all the ingredients for the dipping sauce and serve immediately. I personally find them just as delicious hot or cold. I ate the leftovers from this batch the following day for lunch. Uncooked potstickers can also be stored in the freezer. Freeze flat on a cookie sheet or plate. Once frozen toss into a ziplock bag. I let them defrost slightly before cooking them as mentioned above.
Tofu & Shiitake Mushroom Potstickers
- 1 package of gyoza wrappers
- 1 block of firm or extra firm tofu, pressed and crumbled
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, diced small
- 2 cups napa cabbage, diced small
- 1 medium sized carrot, grated
- 2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. liquid aminos
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp. ginger, minced
- 1 tsp. sesame seed oil
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1/4 cup liquid aminos
- 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup of water
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1-2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp sesame seed oil
- 1. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil to medium-high heat. Add in mushrooms, tofu, cabbage, carrots, garlic, and ginger and cook for about 5 minutes.
- 2. Add green onions, sesame oil, and liquid aminos and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.Remove from heat and transfer into a large bowl.
- 3. Mix 1/2 cup water with cornstarch in a small bowl. This will be used to moisten and seal edges of the wrappers.
- 4. Spoon about 1 tbsp. of filling into center of wrapper. Dip finger into water bowl and moisten around the edge. Fold in half and pinch edges until sealed shut. Continue until all the filling is used. Place finished potstickers on a cookie sheet or cutting board.
- 5. Lightly oil a large frying pan to medium-high heat. Place as many potstickers in the pan as possible without too much overlapping as they tend to stick together. This might require cooking the potstickers in several batches.Pan fry for about 1-2 minutes or until golden brown.
- 6. Pour in about 1/4 cup water, cover, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- 7. Combine all ingredients for the sauce. Serve immediately.
Artisanal Vegan http://www.artisanalvegan.com/