If you’ve read my blog at all for the past couple of years, you know I love cooking with cauliflower. If you haven’t, here’s a disclaimer: I LOVE COOKING WITH CAULIFLOWER! It’s so so versatile and hearty and good for you, so any time I stumble upon a recipe turning it into something delicious, I’m on it.
When I made the polenta, it was a bit of trial and error, but I think the method I worked out will end up just perfect for ya. The best part is that even though the polenta is a little more work than just “easy”, the roasted veggies are so simple, this entire dish ends up being pretty easy to do anyways.
The fun thing about this is that you could make the cauliflower polenta and top it with pretty much anything… I wanted something with parsnips and this combo with the hint of sweetness from the maple syrup just seemed like the best idea on a chilly winter night.
Let’s get to it!
For the Cauliflower Polenta
- 3 cups riced* cauliflower
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¾ cup corn meal
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp butter (or margarine)
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp black pepper
For the roasted veggies
- 10-12 brussels sprouts cleaned & halved
- 1 large parsnip peeled and cut into 2 inch slices
- 1 medium red onion sliced thick
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp rosemary or thyme (fresh is best, but I used dried)
First things first, let’s get those veggies roasting in the oven. Preheat your oven to 450˚F while you chop away. Toss the vegetables in a bowl with the olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and herb of your choosing. Spread the vegetables on a baking sheet and pop it in your heated oven for about 20 minutes, until they’re nice and browned and softened.
After you pop your veggies in, let’s make the polenta. Add the olive oil and garlic to a pot or large and deep sauce pan. Sauté the garlic for about 30 seconds, don’t let it brown, just soften it. Add your cauliflower rice and frequently stir over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and cornmeal and stir well. Bring to a simmer on medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes. If the liquid absorbs quickly, add a little bit more stock (or water is ok, too). At this point, I took my immersion blender to the polenta to make it even creamier, just pulsed through a bit to break up any stray hunks of cauliflower. Once the liquid cooks down a bit and the mixture is thickened, add the butter, cheese, and black pepper and stir.
Add your polenta to a bowl and top with roasted veggies. You can add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes for a little kick if you like. Enjoy!
Recommended alternative toppings for polenta: Blackened or Old Bay seasoned shrimp; baked salmon filet with garlic and honey soy sauce glaze; sausage & peppers.
*Riced Cauliflower How-To
There are a few ways you can rice cauliflower, but my favorite method is using a food processor. Slice your cauliflower into small pieces (prevents backup) and run through the food processor in smaller batches. Don’t do much more than 3 or 4 chopped-up florets at a time. It really helps to prevent chunks and having to adjust stuff while trying to blend. If you don’t have a food processor, you could even use a cheese grater, and grate the raw cauliflower through that. It’s a bit more time consuming and actually a little dangerous (can be tedious to grate smaller pieces of cauliflower), but will solve the problem for the food processor-less. I was able to get to 3 cups pretty quickly and didn’t even use the entire head of cauliflower, although mine was pretty big.
Cauliflower Polenta inspired by this recipe.