Hearty Polenta and Sautéed Chard: for breakfast

Hearty Polenta with Sautéed Chard

I searched all over Pinterest this morning for something new to cook for breakfast. The search ended in a huge pile of “breakfast hash” recipes and not a whole lot of “others.” The inspiration for this post did originate here, notice the breakfast hash? But, instead of the topping, I was actually drawn to the foundation of the whole meal: grits.

Growing up in the south, I was raised on grits and cheese. Grits with cheddar. Grits with processed cheese. Plain grits. Grits with butter. Bacon flavored grits. Always with salt. Notice a pattern? If I still ate like that, I’d weigh 500 lbs. and die slowly of a heart attack, or so that’s my fear.

Being a vegan, I don’t eat processed cheese or imitation flavoring or a whole lot of other things that I used to consider nourishment. But, being from the south, there are times when I still tend to my roots. This morning was one of those times.

Side note: I don’t know the connection between Italians and Southerners, but they do bear a resemblance of their love of cornmeal. It’s a cheap food item. Really versatile. It can be coarsely ground (or even stone ground) to make grits or medium ground to make Polenta.

…And, on to the recipe!

Polenta

– Adapted from Williams Sonoma Weeknight Fresh + Fast Cookbook –

1/4 cup diced onion + 2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
4 cups water
1 cup medium ground cornmeal (or polenta “grits”)
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard (can also substitute 1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard OR 1/8 teaspoon ground mustard seeds)
1 teaspoon tahini (optional)
2 and 1/2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon ground chia seeds
3 cloves roasted garlic, smashed (super EASY recipe – using already peeled garlic cloves – here)
3/4 teaspoons salt
pepper to taste
pesto (optional)
Sautéed Swiss Chard (recipe below – but also optional)

Directions: Put diced onion and 2 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan. Turn heat to medium high and cover, stirring occasionally until onion is clear. Uncover, add coconut oil, and saute until onion is slightly brown. Turn heat down to medium and add 3 cups water and cornmeal and S-T-I-R until there are no lumps. Hopefully you are ambidextrous, otherwise think: Bodybuilder and Huge Bicep.

Add nutritional yeast, salt, ground chia seeds, tahini, mustard, garlic and pepper. Stir in final cup of water and bring mixture to a slow boil (I increased the temperature to medium high at this point). Set a timer for 18 minutes and continue to stir AND slowly boil until the timer goes off. It will seem like a long time, but it’s so00 worth it. You will know it’s ready when it becomes dough-like. When the timer goes off, remove from heat and pour into a glass dish to cool (I used a small oval gratin dish measuring 12″ x 9″).

Spread with a thin layer of pesto and add Sautéed Swiss Chard topping.

Hearty Polenta with Sauteed Swiss Chard

Sauteed Swiss Chard

4-5 large swiss chard leaves – Chopped (can also substitute other green leafy things – Think: Collard Greens, Spinach, Arugula)
1/4 cup diced onion + 2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Directions: Put diced onion and 2 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan. Turn heat to medium high and cover, stirring occasionally until onion is clear. Uncover, add coconut oil, and saute until onion is slightly brown. Add chopped swiss chard and immediately season with salt and pepper. Stir and saute until cooked through – around 1 or 2 minutes. Serve with Roasted Garlic and Sautéed Onion Polenta.

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