So, polenta is probably one of those things I would never have eaten when I was younger. I mean…I don’t even like grits*. So congealed “cornmeal porridge”??? No thank you.
(*Unless served with bacon and a cheese:grit ratio of 1.5:1)
But now that my palate is a bit more refined, I’ve opened my mind (and mouth) to this gluten-free starch alternative. A while back, I made some red beans & rice & served it up with some pan-grilled polenta instead of rice:
Note my less-than-subtle nod to the “Crescent” City…
If you haven’t experimented with polenta, I highly recommend it. Especially since, if you’re busy like me, you can buy these shelf-stable pre-cooked rolls of it in various flavors:
If you get the unflavored kind, it serves the same purpose of rice, noodles, or even mashed potatoes. It has a mild flavor that compliments just about anything. It also has twice the protein of rice. One slice of polenta grilled with a small amount of cooking spray has about 50 calories (comparatively, a 1/2 cup of rice has about 100 calories).
So, this go round, I decided to sauté up some smoked sausage & veggies to go with our grilled polenta. This is a SUPER fast & delicious dinner, ready in about 20 minutes.
Pre-cooked polenta (two 1/2 inch slices per person)
1 lb smoked turkey sausage, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 onion, sliced into strips (NOTE: You could also easily throw some fresh mushrooms in here. T’would be DEELISH. I , alas, did not have any. And yes, I’ve been watching too much Sleepy Hollow.)
1/2 tsp crumbled dried rosemary
salt & pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
Lightly spritz a large frying pan with olive oil using a mister. Heat pan to medium & add the sausage & veggies. Season the veggies with rosemary, salt & pepper to taste. Sauté for 5 minutes & add the garlic & Cajun seasoning. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the veggies are tender.
Transfer the sausage & veggies to a bowl & cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Pan-grill your polenta in the same pan, & lightly season the polenta with the oregano. Let cook for about 2-3 minutes each side, or until lightly browned. (PS—you can also grill polenta outside to get some tasty smoked flavor)
Top the polenta with your sausage & pepper combo & serve warm!
NUTRIFACTS: (Makes 4 servings)
Total Fat 10.1 g
Saturated Fat 3.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 60.0 mg
Sodium 1,001.6 mg
Potassium 102.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 20.9 g
Dietary Fiber 0.9 g
Sugars 3.1 g
Protein 20.7 g