Polenta Cakes with Sauteed Vegetables

I made this for our Meatless Monday dinner last week. I love the idea of a dedicated meatless dinner day. My husband needs more convincing. So I try to get extra creative with my vegetarian dinners to show him that losing the meat doesn’t mean it’s not a meal. Then again, I grew up in a home with a kitchen run by a vegetarian, so I genuinely don’t need to have meat to feel fed. Meatless Monday is great. The basic idea behind the “movement” was to reduce meat consumption globally. For me, though, it’s also a great reset. Weekends are usually more loosey-goosey in terms of schedule, routine, attention to healthy choices… Committing to a Meatless Monday is a built-in way to get yourself back on track for the week. It’s cleanse-like, at least in my own mental game it is. But anyway, back to business. As I was saying, to pull it off for my family, I really have to reach down to my creative core and pull off something convincing. This is one great option. It’s really pretty simple, and can easily be modified to fit your/your family’s veggie preferences. Here you go…

* pre-cooked polenta roll or tube
* grated parmesan cheese
* ~1lb brussels sprouts, halved
* 1 red pepper, sliced
* ~5oz sliced mushrooms
* ~1C frozen sweet peas
* salt and pepper, to taste
* garlic powder, to taste
* shaved parmesan for garnish

Preheat your oven to 375F. Then cut your polenta roll into equally thick slices, probably about 1/4-in thick. Lay your slices out on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray, and then sprinkle each with the grated parmesan (note: cheese sprinkling is a great task to assign to your mini sous chef!). Bake for 20min at 375F.

While those bake, slice your veggies and then heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. I used pre-sliced mushrooms, a red pepper, and brussels sprouts (and later frozen peas), but really – whatever veggies strike your fancy, or if you have a drawer of produce you have to use or lose, go with those.

Add your “hardest” veggies to the pan first (in this case the brussels), and let them cook down a bit and begin to soften. Then add the other sliced vegetables and sautee until softened and starting to brown slightly.

When your polenta has about 5 minutes left, add the frozen peas and mix through, allowing them to thaw, warm up, and brighten in the pan with the rest of the vegetables.

Season your vegetables with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder to your liking. Then remove the pan from the heat.

To serve, place three or four of your polenta cakes on a plate, top with veggies, and then garnish with some shaved parmesan. Serve hot – delish!

Now doesn’t that look like a complete meal?! Dinner is served. Meat not required.

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