Bell Pepper-Goat Cheese Polenta with Roasted Veggies

Let's start with the answer to the first question I always get when I order vegetarian food in a restaurant or post a vegetarian recipe here, "Are you a vegetarian?" The simple answer is no.  I was for about five to six years in my twenties. It wasn't a crusade or big decision, it just felt right for me.  When I married a carnivore, and later when I started having kids, I let it go. It was all about creating a family where there was choice in who you wanted to be. 

I was pushed to be someone I wasn't when growing up, so decided I wanted to try to create an environment where they could instead discover who they were. If they were drawn to meatless, I would support that. If they chose to eat meat, I would support that. I wanted them to learn to see both sides of every choice in their life, then really listen to their heart.  I wasn't always good at this backing off thing, in fact I failed the back off many times as a mum, but it was always my goal.

Now that I've answered that question, I can share about a recipe that I'll be making this week. Yes it is vegetarian for me as I still enjoy creative food made without meat. I'll probably have something additional on the side for Glen.  This is another fabulous looking recipe I found on the free Mealime App my daughter uses and encouraged me to try.  If you haven't checked it out yet, I highly suggest you do. The recipes are fairly easy and quick to make. Their write-up always includes a utensils list, a shopping list, and cooking instructions so there are no surprises as you start to cook. 

I didn't grow up with Polenta, but from my first exposure to it, I was in love. However, I don't have many Polenta recipes in my arsenal.  It's time to start exploring the options out there.  Bell Pepper-Goat Cheese Polenta with Roasted Veggies is one my daughter has already tried and given a thumbs up, so that is promising. And I love the beautiful mix of colors and the dish's presentation.  

Be sure and check back for my review, and if you try it, be sure and leave your thoughts!  I do have one other polenta recipe shared in Olio By Marilyn and it really is tasty - Polenta Torte with Ham, Spinach and Cheese. It's made in a springform pan and comes out like a cake which you slice wedges out of.  YUM!

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Bell Pepper-Goat Cheese Polenta with Roasted Veggies

Serves 2

Ingredients - 

1                 Crown broccoli
½                Small pkg. chives
½                Red bell pepper
½                Medium red onion
1 lb.            Dark orange yam
2-1/2 C      Chicken or vegetable broth
2 oz.           Goat cheese (1/2 of a 4 oz. log)
½ C            Polenta (cornmeal)
Black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Instructions -

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper. 

Wash and dry the broccoli, chives, bell pepper, and yam.  Peel and small dice yam; transfer to the baking sheet. Separate broccoli into bite-sized florets and cut stems into smaller pieces; add to the baking sheet. Peel and medium dice onion; add to the baking sheet.

Drizzle 2T olive oil over veggies and season with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Toss to coat, then spread out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake until veggies are fork-tender, 20-25 minutes.

Pour broth into a small saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, trim, seed, and mince bell pepper; add to the pan with the boiling broth. Reduce heat to low and gradually add polenta to the pan in a thin steady stream, while whisking constantly, until the polenta is incorporated into the broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until grains are soft and the texture is creamy, 15-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, crumble goat cheese into a small bowl. Chop chives into small pieces. When the polenta is done, add 1T olive oil, goat cheese, and half of the chives to the pan and stir until smooth.

To serve, divide polenta and veggies between bowls. Top with remaining chives and enjoy!