Crispy polenta with red wine, tomato herb sauce, sauteed greens and black beluga lentils

This is a colorful and simple recipe with a lot of contrasting flavors and textures. The polenta in this dish provides a crispy outside with a soft and creamy middle.


1 1/2 cups of boiling water
1/2t of coarse sea salt
1/2 cup of yellow cornmeal
2T of unsweetened soy milk
2T of olive oil
1T of garlic, minced
1/4t of dried ground turmeric
1T of nutritional yeast
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

1T of cooking oil
1T of dried basil
1/2t of dried thyme
1/2t of dried oregano
2t of garlic, minced
1/2t of sugar
2T of red wine
1/2 cup of passata (use tomato puree or sauce if that’s what you have)

1 cup of packed kale, chopped
1T of cooking oil
1/4t of coarse sea salt
2t of lemon juice
2T of nutritional yeast
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 cup of cooked black lentils
1t of olive oil
Sea salt to taste

Make the polenta first, followed by the sauce and the greens, unless you don’t have black lentils on hand, in which case, make those first.

Bring the water and sea salt to a soft boil in a pan with a lid.
Add the corn meal slowly, stirring as you go.
Reduce heat to low and cook for roughly 40 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking.
The polenta will be done when it’s quite thick and pulling away from the sides of the pan.
Add the nutritional yeast, garlic, turmeric, soy milk and any additional seasonings.
Stir thoroughly to combine.
Let stand five minutes to cool.
Spoon the polenta into a lightly oiled (or nonstick) 3″x9″ baking dish, and smooth the top with a spoon.
Let cool for about 30 minutes uncovered in the refrigerator to setup.
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Carefully turn out the polenta, cut in half width-wise (for two portions).
Lightly oil a cookie sheet and sprinkle with a little corn meal.
Add the polenta and bake until until starting to lightly brown and the outside is lightly crisp (about 20-25 minutes, but use the texture and colour as a guide).

While the polenta bakes, make the sauce.
Bring the oil and sea salt to heat on medium high.
Add the garlic and herbs and saute for 2-3 minutes until the pan starts to lightly brown.
Add the red wine and deglaze.
Add the passata and return to a low simmer.
Reduce by about 1/4.
Remove from heat, and set aside.

Bring the oil and sea salt to heat on medium high.
Add the kale and saute until wilted and the pan starts to brown lightly (maybe 5-8 minutes).
Add the lemon juice and deglaze the pan.
And the nutritional yeast and stir to combine.
Season with additional sea salt to taste.

Toss the black lentils with sea salt and oil to combine.

This dish is all about contrast, and the plating emphasizes that contrast with a black plate, but a white plate will work just as well.

Add the rectangle of polenta to the plate.
Spoon the tomato sauce over the top of the polenta.
Carefully compress the greens with tongs and add to the polenta on top of the sauce.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup of lentils over the top of each serving.