We used to eat vegetarian every other day. It was a good way to ensure that we were getting our grains and legumes in while reducing our animal protein intake. All the things one is told to do to prevent heart disease. That worked out well. Pfft!
Now we have vegetarian lunches, on occasion, but find that my husband’s blood pressure is better regulated with a combination of animal protein and dark leafy greens. He basically eats baby kale or baby spinach with every meal. I’m proud of how hard he has tried in this area over the last year. He’s really grown to love his greens and knows they make him feel better, more energized. This creamy lunch treat, a treat because we had intended to be eating gluten free at this time, made him smile. He did enjoy the strawberry salad the day before, but this one was handed to him free of the green stuff. Well, with the exception of the basil garnish.
I planned this for another family that I cook for but decided at the last minute to increase the amount so we’d have a healthy lunch ready around the noon hour. Lunch was late, but at least we had something to eat. I baked one batch of the polenta with parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top. The other I left creamy in the pot like grits without cheese. The tomatoes were so flavorful with fresh organic oregano and basil that we didn’t miss the cheese.
2 c. yellow cornmeal polenta
6 c. water
1 tsp. Himalayan pink salt
Salt to taste
2 c. grated parmesan cheese, optional. Reserve 1/2 c. for sprinkling over the top for baked polenta.
2 T butter, optional
2 cans organic whole tomatoes
1 tsp. salt (to taste)
2 T fresh oregano, minced
2 tsp. fresh basil, minced
1/2 to 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the cornmeal to prevent the formation of lumps. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover. Cook, stirring frequently, for 7 to 10 minutes.
Add cheese and butter (if using) and salt to taste.
Serve or spread into a baking dish. If baking, chill polenta to firm. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake until cheese is melted and polenta is heated through, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cut into squares and serve.
To make the stewed tomatoes, pour the cans of whole tomatoes into a large container.
Crush them with a potato masher to break them up. Watch your eyes. Those things can squirt far! 😉
Strain them through a colander, reserving the juice for other dishes.
Pour the drained tomatoes into a medium saucepan.
Add the salt, pepper, and herbs. Simmer for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Season to taste. Serve over polenta.
I wanted a burger. I REALLY wanted a burger. A cheese one. Burgers are a bad idea. You have to get the fries…the coke…the ketchup, mayo, salt, gluten… Potatoes are a better idea.
These made a fabulous little lunch. I sauteed onions and garlic in extra virgin olive oil and Himalayan salt. Then I added the mushrooms and cooked them with the onions, the same way I’d make a mushroom and onion Swiss burger. I cheated and microwaved the potatoes. Did I mention it was a very quick lunch?
When everything was done, I split the hot potato open and added the flavorful onions and mushrooms. Then I melted a little Swiss over each one to top them off. Yum!
Yes, I know this isn’t really a recipe but these were darn good enough to be the subject of a blog post all on their own. I think I’ll do this again sometime…soon.