Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Polenta Pie - and the versatile blogger award!

Polenta- I only have one other recipe that I regularly use it in, but I really like it. And this little 'ole pie? Well, it's being welcomed into my favorite easy delicious dishes. Minimal prep, chock full of fresh herbs, healthy, and ready to eat in less than 45 minutes. Sounds like an easy week-night dinner (and leftovers!) to me! And who doesn't want pie for dinner, right?!

This dish was inspired by some recipes my sister in law printed out for me for Christmas (recipes make a great gift!). I pretty much loosely took the idea of putting polenta in a pie and went from there...

  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, plus extra leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil plus 1 tsp (divided)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 3-4 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley
  • 24 ounce package of polenta (I used about 3/4 of a 24 oz package)
  • 1/2 cup almond or soy milk
  • ~1/4 cup marinara sauce (or make your own, such the red sauce from this recipe)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: bread crumbs to sprinkle on top
Pretty simple list, right?!
Black bean-parsley mix and homemade pesto
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Make your own pesto! Place the walnuts in a food processor and grind until fine. Coarsely chop the basil and place it and the garlic in a food processor with the ground walnuts; process, and then add 1 Tbsp of the olive oil. This won't be as thin as a usual pesto sauce, but more of a paste. Scoop out the (sort of) pesto and place it in a separate bowl.
  3. Next, drain and rinse the can of black beans, and place them in the food processor (don't worry about cleaning it, any leftover herbs will work well in the bean mix). Add in about 2-3 Tbsp of the parsley and process until blended. The beans don't need to be completely smooth. Scoop this out of the processor and set aside in a bowl.
  4. Slice your package of polenta. I added all but about 3-4 thick slices of polenta to the processor (about 3/4 of the package). Blend well, adding in the milk to help it get creamy and smooth. Mix in about 1 Tbsp of each of basil and parsley, plus 1 tsp olive oil if desired. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Prepare the pie: lightly spray a pie dish with non-stick spray. Spread in the polenta mix, followed by the pesto, and then the beans. Top with marinara sauce, and sprinkle with bread crumbs if desired.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving, and garnish with fresh chopped basil.
Just add sauce!


And now, for something completely different....

Last week the wonderful and totally awesome Heather from Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes tagged me for the Versatile Blogger award. Cool beans! And thanks! I am always completely grateful to find out when anyone enjoys stopping by, especially since I feel totally unworthy compared to all the amazing food blogs out there. But, I have fun blogging and sharing what I can when I can, and that's what it's all about right?

So here are the rules for the VBA:
1. Thank who nominated you.
2. Share 7 things about yourself that readers don't already know.
3. Choose 5,10, or 15 bloggers to pass the award on to.
4. Tell them you nominated them in a comment!

First and foremost, thanks to Heather!  Her blog is ridiculously awesome and I'm convinced I'd love this girl if I ever met her in person. I'd also love to raid her kitchen, eat her recipes 24/7, take photos as good as she does....etc....etc... ;-)

So, on to the next: seven things about me that you might not know:
  1. I'm an epidemiologist, and study risk factors for autism. I think I'm driven by wanting to answer questions -really, I want to answer parents' questions, since they give so much to these kids. 
  2. I love mango. Oh wait, you might have already known that. But I'm like the coo-coo for coco puffs guy around mango.
  3. I need 3 pillows to sleep comfortably. I love to take up as much room in the bed as possible.
  4. I love going to concerts, especially outdoor ones. There's nothing like hearing your favorite song of the moment, getting completely wrapped up in music. Generally, just being outside on a beautiful day makes me pretty happy though!
  5. I'm not trying to brag or anything,  but I can do some pretty killer impressions of E.T. taking reese's pieces, Smeagol from Lord of the Rings, Eric Cartman from South Park, and a velociraptor. Yes, I am that versatile ;-)
  6. Along those lines...I frequently quote movies. I used to know ALL the words to the Little Mermaid, and could reliably quote large chunks of Sixteen Candles, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, and Say Anything- these were "sister movies" growing up. I think my sister and I watched Sixteen Candles over a hundred times.
  7. Speaking of my sister, I love her a ton but don't get to see her enough. She's the one who always calls me "little K." Hence, K.
But enough of me, more of you! Here is who I am passing this on to:
  1. That's So Vegan- love her recipes, and am completely impressed by the fact that she does all this in a college kitchen. I don't know how she does it!
  2. Pickles & Honey- Maybe I'm biased because she's a fellow Boston lover, but her blog and writing style are awesome.
  3. Pursuit of Hippiness- Another college blogger! Hello, she made vegan Cadbury Creme eggs, and candy corn, among (many) other things. Need I say more?!
  4. The Tolerant Vegan- I realize I'm late in the game in realizing her awesomeness, but what can I say, I'm a fairly recent vegan, and fairly recent to the blog-o-world. She had me at hello. Love her writing style and recipes. For example: bourbon caramel popcorn?! Ummm, yes please.
  5. The Happy Go Lucky Vegan- In addition to her recipes- which are delicious and doable- I love the Style Sundays. Inspiring food and clothes!
There are many blogs I love...I tag a lot of them on my Pinterest. There is a never-ending supply of awesome food bloggers and vegan bloggers out there- whenever someone thinks vegan eating is restricted/limited, I want to just drag them over to my computer and wait for their mouth to start watering! Right?!

Hope you enjoy these little tidbits, and the polenta pie!


  1. That pie looks really good - and all that hidden healthy ingredients to boot! that's pretty much a complete meal in one dish right there!

  2. Thanks for passing it along to me, it put a big smile on my face! I love your blog as well, and will check out the others!

  3. P.S. - your polenta pie looks amazing. :)

    1. thanks! and thanks for stopping by too!

  4. I've made a pizza using polenta as a base and I loved it...since then I keep meaning to make more things with polenta but I never seem to get around to it...this pie sounds really tasty though! ps. I would love to hear those impressions, I'm sure they'd be hilarious!

    1. I saw that pizza and thought it looked great! need to try that....

  5. I definitely do not cook with polenta as much as I should - and really I have no idea why I don't, this pie looks so so good, I love the black bean spread.

    I can't wait to check out the otehr nominated Blogs - I also LOVE that's so vegan :)

    1. yeah I never really used to like polenta much but this dish and the other one I've posted on from Choosing Raw completely changed my mind!

  6. Aaw thank you so much for your sweet words! I am so honored, you brightened my day :)

    Also, this polenta pie looks absolutely delicious. I have to confess- I have never personally cooked with polenta. This recipe has convinced me!

    1. you are very welcome! so glad you stopped by!


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