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Polenta and Sauteed Baby Spinach

June 6, 2013

When I became a vegetarian at age 12, my mom supported me in my decision in many ways. She did not pause in her response, and said she would help me. She taught me how to cook to empower me. She explored new dishes outside of her comfort zone to help me create a balanced diet. My mom helped me find articles and books which helped me learn how to eat a balanced diet. She even defended my diet to extended family and friends who might have not understood me 22 years ago. As time progressed, she continues to learn and grow in her understanding of my vegetarian diet, and now my young family’s vegetarian home. I love her for many things, but mostly her endless support with her unique dose of adorable curiosity is definitely up there.

This dish is something I remember my mom making for me in high school. When she tried to find vegetarian food for me, she reached back to her mother and even her grandmother’s cooking. I enjoyed lentils, sturdy greens, white beans, risotto, mushroom ragout — all before they were trendy. My favorite addition to our family menu was the recipe below. Next time you are in the Italian food section, pick up a roll of pre-made polenta. I enjoy making polenta from scratch, but the reality is that this working mom does not have the time to do that often. Polenta rolls are an easy, but healthy convenience food. AAM really loved this dish, and I recommend it from an every day meal to a special occasion.

Thank you mom. I appreciate how you supported my efforts to be true to my beliefs, while also empowering me to grow as a person. You are an amazing mother, role model, and person. Happy Birthday!

Polenta with sauteed garlic baby spinach-

Polenta and Sauteed Baby Spinach

  • 1 Polenta roll, cut into 10 slices, 1 inch each.
  • olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 cups of baby spinach
  • splash of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of warm tomato sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 450. Grease a baking dish with olive oil. Place the polenta in the dish, sprinkle with kosher salt, olive oil, and a generous amount of black pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden.

2. In a sauce pan, heat garlic in 2 tb of olive oil over medium heat. Once the garlic starts to lightly brown, add the baby spinach. Pour a splash of veggie broth on top. Cook until the spinach until it is a bright green and shrunk to a 1/4 the size. Turn off heat, and cover.

3. Serve with spinach on the bottom, polenta, and top with red sauce. Enjoy warm!

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