Harriet Birrell’s creamy coconut polenta with balsamic vegetable recipe

Sometimes the simplest meals are the best, like this mix of sweet and savoury flavours for a side dish or a main


Leftover creamy coconut polenta is delicious toasted for breakfast the next day topped with comforting baked beans or avocado and sauerkraut. Photograph: Hardie Grant Books

Sometimes you just need something that is ready in a jiffy, fills you up and tastes amazing. Arriving back to the campsite after a big hike or a beach adventure is the perfect time for this dish. It is simple, with a balance of sweet and savoury flavours fusing traditional Mexican and Italian staple ingredients.

You don’t need a whole heap of exotic ingredients and you can always enjoy it as a side dish to complement a salad or pasta. Plus any leftover polenta is absolutely divine toasted for breakfast the next day topped with comforting baked beans or avocado and sauerkraut.

Serves 2

Balsamic vegetables
150g mushrooms, sliced
150g red capsicums (bell peppers), sliced
100g zucchini (courgettes), sliced
60g (½ cup) olives, pitted
45g (¾ cup tightly packed) basil, chopped
60ml (¼ cup) balsamic vinegar
1 tsp garlic powder

150g (1 cup) polenta
250ml (1 cup) coconut milk
500ml (2 cups) water
Zest and juice of 1 lemon

To serve
1 tbsp chopped basil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp lemon zest

Combine the balsamic veggie ingredients in a bowl. Mix well and set aside.

Combine the polenta ingredients in a saucepan. Whisk well to combine. Place over a low heat and cook slowly, stirring every few minutes to avoid clumps.

Add the balsamic veggies to a saucepan and cook on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Once the polenta is cooked, pour it into a nonstick frying pan. Place over medium heat until toasted and warmed through.

Top the polenta with the balsamic veggies and serve with the extra fresh basil, balsamic and lemon zest.

Categories: Food

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