I love this meal. Polenta has such an inviting texture, while the subtly sweet flavor can complement roasted vegetables. I love to call this the “everything but the kitchen sink” meal because it’s a great chance to clean out your fridge and use your veggies up.
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And sometimes I call it the “Farmers Market Meal” because, alternatively to the kitchen sink meal, it can be fun to go to the farmers market or grocery store and get everything that’s in season and beautiful. Then, having this recipe handy, you know you can make your haul into something delicious without much thought. It’s an especially great meal for when you’re craving a bunch of veggies but want something comforting, too.
A few notes to get you started:
Polenta. You could easily make this meal vegan if you wanted to sub out the real butter for a vegan alternative, and the parmesan for nutritional yeast. You could absolutely add extra virgin olive oil, but I would start with half and add up from there. The nutty olive-y flavor may overwhelm.
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Roasted Veg. I say use whatever you can! This is a great way to explore vegetables no matter what that looks like. Just be sure to cut them in a way that promotes even cooking, as you can see in my pictures. I recommend always adding some sort of onion (like spring onion), a root veg. (like carrots and turnips), and something soft or juicy (like mushrooms or tomatoes). This is an imperfect science though, just a guideline for those of you who prefer one.
Poached Eggs. Feel free to use tempeh, grilled chicken or shrimp, or seared sausages if that speaks to you and what you have on hand. If you’re not into poached eggs or fear the technique (which you really shouldn’t, I promise!), fried or soft-boiled eggs work great, too!
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- 4 cups chopped mixed vegetables (I used spring onion, oyster mushrooms, carrots, turnips, and tomatoes
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tsp salt
- 9 cups water
- 2 cups polenta
- 8 tbsp butter (1 stick)
- 1 cups parmesan
- 0.5 tsp white pepper
- 4 eggs (use between 2-4 depending how many people are eating)
- 1 tbsp vinegar, per egg
- 1 small bunch fresh dill
- Preheat oven to 420 degrees. Arrange washed and chopped vegetables on a sheet tray. Drizzle with olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until veggies are tender.
- In a large Rondeau pan or wide bottom pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil, reserving the last cup for later. Mix in 2 teaspoons of salt and pour in the polenta. Lower the heat to medium-low and stir to incorporate. Frequently over the next 20 minutes, stir the polenta. Be careful, very hot steam gets trapped and can bubble out while you mix.
- Add the remaining cup of water, mix until it begins to bubble again, and add the parmesan and white pepper. Mix to combine. Add the butter and mix until it is fully melted. Cover the polenta, going back to stir a few times, for 10 minutes while you prepare the poached eggs.
- In a small saucepot, fill about halfway with water and bring it a boil. Crack your eggs one at a time into a small bowl that is easy to pour from (but without a spout). Turn the heat to low, and add the vinegar.
- Once the water is no longer boiling but is at a nice simmer, use a wooden spoon to swirl the water in one direction. Gently pour the cracked egg into the water. Gently swirl the water a few more times while it cooks for 3 minutes.
- Note: If you are skilled at poaching eggs, feel free to cook them together, without swirling the water. If you are not skilled, I recommend repeating step 4 with each egg, refreshing the water and vinegar each time.
- Once each component is ready, assemble each plate with a heaping portion of polenta, veggies, and 1 or 2 poached eggs. Top generously with dill, and garnish with freshly cracked salt and pepper.