I am a polenta fiend lately. Polenta puttanesca is still heavily a part of our regular rotation because it’s ridiculously fast and easy, but it’s good to change it up a little bit. Adding mashed root/tap root vegetables is such an easy and healthful way to spruce up polenta and other grains (another example: parsnip risotto) and give them more depth of flavor.
Brussels sprouts? I don’t have any commentary about how this Brussels sprouts recipe totally changed my opinion of them or anything like that, because I have been a B-sprouts lover all my life. Even the gross boiled ones of your nightmares. Fortuitously, in my college dining hall they would occasionally serve stewed Brussels sprouts and for the most part I got them all to myself… I’m Eastern European, so I guess maybe a love of members of the cabbage family is in my blood! But I’m at least able to recognize that boiled Brussels sprouts is not something I should be feeding to other people if I want them to like vegetables. Roasted or pan-fried is definitely the way to go.
This is a whole foods chimichurri sauce made with pureed green olives – Whole Foods 365 brand canned green olives are very reasonably priced and fine quality. The olive flavor is not forward in this sauce so I don’t think splurging on the fancy olives is necessary. And as I have been tending to do lately, I used a ton of fresh herbs – parsley and cilantro – to keep it bright and flavorful. Here are some nice instructions for freezing fresh herbs in your ice cube tray to save what isn’t used up right away. Fresh herbs can cost a premium during the winter so we try not to let them go to waste! The sweet potato polenta is just my regular polenta with a sweet potato added – it’s super easy to make.
Sweet Potato Polenta with Chimichurri Brussels Sprouts
- 1 lb . Brussels sprouts (1 regular-sized bag)
- About 1 tsp. olive oil
For the polenta:
- 1 and 1/2 c. water
- 1 and 1/2 c. plain , unsweetened almond milk
- 1/4 tsp . salt
- 1 c . cornmeal / corn grits
- 1 cooked medium sweet potato , mashed, skin removed
- 2 tsp . white balsamic vinegar (substitute white vinegar or cider vinegar)
- 1/4 tsp . freshly ground black pepper , and more salt to taste
- (optional) chili flakes
For the chimichurri sauce:
- 4 cloves garlic , roughly chopped
- 2/3 c . pitted green olives
- 1/4 c . cooked white beans
- 2 c . loosely packed fresh parsley
- 1 c . loosely packed fresh cilantro
- 3 tb red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- salt & freshly ground black pepper , to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone pan liner.
Cut off the stem part of each Brussels sprout, and then cut in half lengthwise, discarding any outer leaves that fall off.
Toss the sprouts with just a small drizzle of olive oil (optional - I can vouch that they will turn out when made without oil) and spread them out on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cook for 25-30 minutes (approximate, and will vary with the size of the Brussels sprouts), until tender inside and browned on the cut side.
Make the chimichurri sauce:
Add the green olives, garlic and white beans to a blender or food processor, and combine until smooth.
Add the fresh herbs and combine until the herbs are mostly chopped up (but don't completely puree).
Transfer to a bowl and add the red wine vinegar, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.
When the Brussels sprouts are finished cooking, add them to the bowl and toss to combine.
Make the polenta:
Bring the water and almond milk to a boil. Add the cornmeal, salt, sweet potato, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper, and stir.
Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 3-5 more minutes. You'll know the polenta is done when you start to see giant bubbles forming and the cornmeal is soft and fluffy.
Add more salt and pepper to taste, and set aside for a few minutes before eating.
Serve a dollop of polenta with a generous scoop of chimichurri Brussels sprouts.
TGIF, and happy last day of February! I have a feeling that March is gonna be a good month =]