Are you craving comfort food but you don’t want to derail your healthy habits? I’ve got a decadent and delicious (healthier) twist on shrimp and grits for you! This recipe for vegan creamy polenta with garlicky kale and roasted chickpeas is equally satisfying as it is layered with flavor. Plus, it is absolutely stunning on the plate!
Have you ever noticed how your cravings change as the seasons evolve? When the cold weather hits, our bodies tend to crave heartier “stick-to-your-bones” kind of foods. Usually this means chili, soups and stews, but today, I’ve got something a little different for you.
I’ve been eating grits ever since I can remember. Sunday dinners usually meant breakfast, which involved grits and eggs 99 percent of the time. I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself “southern”, but boy do I crave a bowl of creamy grits! It automatically transports me back to memories of making omelets in our special “omelet maker” and dinners around the table.
Unless you’re a part of my family, there’s probably a greater chance that when you think of “grits”, the infamous southern dish (shrimp and grits) comes to mind.
The traditional versions of this southern classic is usually loaded with butter, cream and cheese to give it a decadent sensation. However, I’m here to prove that you don’t need all of these ingredients to enjoy the comfortable familiarity and richness of shrimp and grits.
So what makes this vegan creamy polenta with garlicky kale and roasted chickpeas so nutritious?
Instead of shrimp, this dish utilizes roasted chickpeas, which are a fantastic source of plant-based protein and are full of fiber to help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation in the body
Nutritional yeast is used to achieve the “cheesy” flavor, which packs a big nutritional punch for a small amount (high in protein and B vitamins!)
Instead of bacon in the tomato gravy, this recipe calls for smoked paprika to add depth of flavor and smokiness to the plate
And of course, kale, which is a great source of phytochemicals (nutrients found from plant sources) to help promote longevity, increase energy and a healthy weight! It is also a fantastic source of calcium.
While it might seem like there are a lot of ingredients and steps to this recipe, I promise, it’s actually quite simple to make. The key is to read the recipe thoroughly before starting, have your ingredients out and ready to use and utilize your time wisely.
This recipe for creamy polenta with garlicky greens and roasted chickpeas was featured in a recent cooking class of mine and everyone was amazed by the simplicity of the recipe, but complex and stunning flavors!
This dish would be delicious on its own, served with these roasted cauliflower steaks (sans white bean puree), or as a side to a delicious roasted piece of salmon.
If you make this recipe for vegan creamy polenta with garlicky kale and roasted chickpeas or any other FitLiving Eats recipe, be sure to leave a comment below and tag #fitlivingeats on the ‘gram!
2 Tablespoons flour (can be any kind except coconut flour)
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the roasted turmeric chickpeas:
1 14.5 oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the garlicky greens:
1 bunch Tuscan kale (about 8 cups), chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
To make the polenta, pour the almond milk into a medium saucepan and bring to a low boil. Add the polenta and salt, whisking constantly until there are no lumps. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking often until polenta starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, whisking every 5 minutes. If the mixture gets too thick, use a wooden spoon to stir or add more almond milk a tablespoon at a time. The polenta is done when it is creamy and the grains are tender. When finished cooking, add the butter, nutritional yeast freshly cracked pepper and more salt if needed to taste.
To make the roasted chickpeas, add the garbanzo beans to a parchment-lined baking sheet. (you can pinch off the outer skin to make them even crispier!) Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, cumin, turmeric and cayenne. Roll the beans in the spices to coat evenly. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until crispy, shaking the pan every so often.
For the tomato gravy, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and flour, whisk continuously for 1 minute, making sure there are no clumps in the flour. Add the diced tomatoes, almond milk, smoked paprika and salt. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Add more salt if needed to taste.
To make the garlicky greens, heat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the oil and sliced garlic. Gently cook the garlic for about 3 minutes until slightly golden, being careful not to burn the garlic. Turn the heat up to medium, add the kale and toss until beginning to wilt. Add 1/4 cup water to the pan and cover to steam and wilt the kale even more.
To serve, ladle about 1 cup of the polenta on a plate. Spoon the tomato gravy on top, then add the garlicky greens. Garnish with the roasted chickpeas. Enjoy!