Creamy Polenta with Artichoke Pesto. This comforting meal is incredibly vegan and gluten free but you’d never guess it- I can’t get enough of this cheesy deliciousness.
I love my weekends. There is nothing like having a cup of coffee, sitting at the dining room table with my laptop, and watching my cat roll around on the window seat. It’s been raining for days it seems, and it’s definitely appropriate to eat something comforting on days like today.
This meal is made from polenta, and if you’ve never had it, well, it’s similar to grits and popular in Italian and European cuisine. It’s made out of corn- cornmeal to be exact-and it’s very versatile.
I’ve made polenta lasagna, polenta cakes, or just top it with some type of yummy sauce. This polenta recipe is reminiscent of risotto, and has a very similar taste and texture. It’s also incredibly cheesy, which is interesting since it contains no cheese! I used nutritional yeast (or “nooch” as vegans like to call it) and it’s definitely a must have for this recipe, if you’re planning to go dairy-free. Otherwise, add some cheese and it’s just as good.
How to make this creamy polenta Pesto recipe:
To start, get a large deep pan and bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Add the polenta and stir with a whisk. Be very careful! It will start to pop and boil immediately. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, stirring constantly for 10-15 minutes or until the polenta is thick.
Note: It’s best to keep stirring as much as possible. If you leave it boiling for any amount of time, you’ll find a mess when you get back to your oven (speaking from experience here).
When the polenta is thick, add the nutritional yeast and salt; stir. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice; stir.
Next, in a food processor, add the artichokes, basil, arugula, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, black pepper and nutritional yeast. Process until combined.
Finally, stir the pesto into the polenta until combined thoroughly.
This filling and creamy polenta is a great vegan dinner for 4 (or leftovers in my situation) or you can even double the recipe and bring it as a side dish for a potluck!
If you try this Creamy Polenta with Artichoke Pesto please let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your photo with #veggie__chick on Instagram. We love to see our recipes being made in YOUR kitchen!
Creamy Polenta with Artichoke PestoPin Rate
- Food Processor
- Large skillet
- 4 cups (32 ounces) low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts – drained
- 1 cup packed fresh basil
- 2 cups packed baby arugula
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts – + more for garnish, if desired
- 3 garlic cloves – minced
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil – (omit if oil-free)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast – divided
- 1 cup polenta – medium grain yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper – optional, but recommended
- In a food processor, add the artichoke hearts, basil, arugula, pine nuts, minced garlic, olive oil, black pepper and 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast. Process until combined. Set aside.
- In a large, deep skillet/pan, bring the vegetable broth to a simmer over medium high heat (it will take about 5 minutes). Add the polenta and stir with a long spoon. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, until the polenta has started to thicken. Note: the mixture will pop and spatter a lot while cooking. Keep a large lid nearby. After a few minutes, cover the polenta and stir every 2-3 minutes until the polenta is thick, about 15 minutes, being careful not to burn.
- When the polenta is thick, remove from heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir until combined.
- Finally, stir the artichoke pesto into the polenta and stir until blended. Serve. Add additional salt, pepper, or toasted pine nuts on top, if desired. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. This recipes makes 4 cups, or 6 (2/3 cup) servings.