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  • 7th July 2014



    Polenta, what is it? Well it looks like bright yellow sand but tastes nothing like! It is a food that has been used for eons (possibly since the 1700’s!) and one that is cool and tasty to include in our menus today. Known as one of the world’s sexiest carbs, why not find out more about it huh!?  

    Originating in Northern Italy (which I was surprised at as I thought it would have been Southern American?!) by the poorer class, polenta is yellow corn meal or corn maize. Think what almond meal is to almonds, same as corn meal is to corn.

    Due to its simpleness and availability in days gone by, it was generally used during winter when food was scarce. As it is not a wheat product, it is also gluten free, a good option for those of you with sensitivities.  

    Polenta is not nutritionally supreme like a lot of the products I have reviewed lately, however it still does contain trace elements of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium and zinc. It also has small amounts of B, A and E vitamins. 

    Polenta also contains a good amount of fibre, which gives it a low GI. What does this mean? Well the carbohydrates are slow releasing so they keep blood sugars at a stable level, not spiking them like simple sugars do. So, although not a nutritional powerhouse, there is still enough reason to give it a go….plus it’s basically just corn so it’s another good healthy option to keep around.  

    Much like a number of other items I have been blogging about recently, polenta is very versatile. It can be used in deserts, as a side dish, a base in a ‘bake’ dish, in soups, as a breakfast, in casseroles and probably most common, as a bread. It is also super cheap and can be bought in bulk at Nana's Pantry.  

    For anyone who knows me, even if a food is healthy and it is good for me, I am not really going to eat it if it doesn’t taste good! Polenta has an interesting taste and something that I do like to have from time to time. It is a little bland on its own, however when cooked with other things it is yummy! I am still experimenting and trying to get the cooking right, but it is a tasty addition to my menu at home reasonably regularly.  

    For your cooking fun, this week I made a dinner you can try. It was really good and all who tried it liked it so hopefully your crew will too. Give polenta a chance and see what the hype has been about for hundreds of years! Enjoy! 


    Polenta with Rice and Beans 


    Polenta Crust  

    2 cups boiling water Three quarters cup polenta 

    Quarter teaspoon salt 


    The rest… 


    1 cup vege stock 

    1 cup water 

    1 tin diced tomatoes 

    1 small onion 

    1 cup of brown rice 

    1 tsp of chilli powder 

    One tin black beans (you can prepare your own black beans from Nana's if you like or just use a tin of kidney beans if easier) 

    A jar of salsa 


    Lemon juice 


    Polenta crust – Boil the water then whisk in the salt and polenta. Stir constantly for 10-12min until the polenta pulls away from the side of the pot. Once this is done, dump the polenta in a pie or casserole dish and spread out evenly on the bottom. Set aside. 


    The rest – Combine the broth, water, tomatoes, onion, rice and chilli powder in a rice cooker or saucepan. Cook it up for about 45min until all the liquid is gone. Once this mixture is cooked, stir in your beans and spread the mixture on top of the polenta crust. Dollop and spread your salsa on top of the bean mixture, trying to keep it as a separate layer. Whack your oven on 180deg and bake this goodness for about 30min. Once cooked, slice and serve up with your avocado and lemon juice. Yummo! 


    Matt Grills


    Matt Grills

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