This Moroccan Rice Pilaf is like taking a walk through the souks in Marrakesh. Fresh, vibrant, lively flavors, so colorful and warming, just like the people of Morocco! Made with basmati rice, caramelized onions, dried fruit, almonds, orange zest, an…
You’ll love these roasted Cauliflower Chickpea Bowls! Spiced cauliflower and chickpeas served over Moroccan rice with spinach, almonds, and pomegranate seeds. A tasty wholesome dinner bursting with flavor! Vegan-adaptable.
Here is one of our favorite millet recipes! Coconut Millet Bowls with berbere-spiced kabocha squash, chickpeas, shallots, and spinach, drizzled with a coconut lime sauce. Packed full of flavor this vegan, plant-based meal, is wholesome and nourishing…
This creamy vegan Chickpea Soup recipe is like sunshine in a bowl. Made with veggies and rice in a golden turmeric coconut milk broth. A cheery soup for cozy winter days. Gluten-free.
An herb-packed rice salad recipe with peanuts, toasted coconut, and a strong boost of fresh lime. It’s recipe to keep in your back pocket.
This rice salad is for all the herb lovers out there. It’s for those occasions when basil, and mint, and cilantro are booming in your garden, or at the market. And it’s a great way to use leftover rice (or other favorite grain). I’m not shy with the amount of herbs I use in relation to the quantity of rice here. I also load up with a generous amount of toasted coconut and never skimp on the peanuts. A bold boost of lime pulls everything together and keeps it all bright.
Rice Salad: Make it Easy
Aside from the chopping of the herbs, you can prep the components of this salad a couple of days ahead of time. Specifically, the rice, coconut, and peanuts. I like to wait until the day of to chop all the fresh herbs.
Rice Salad Variations
My preference is to make this recipe with brown jasmine rice, but use whatever rice you tend to keep on hand. Short grain brown rice is also great. You can also make a twist on rice salad by using any number of other grains – or a blend! Try farro, or quinoa, or even wheat berries if you come across them. Another favorite variation is adding roasted cherry tomatoes when they’re in season. It really takes everything over the top in a great way. And if I have arugula on hand, you better believe a few handfuls of that is going in here as well.
More Rice Recipes
- A Simple Brown Rice Sushi Bowl
- Super Orange Citrus Rice
- Rainbow Cauliflower Rice Bowl
- Bryant Terry’s Amazing Green Rice
- Kale Rice Bowl
A quinoa power bowl makes the perfect working lunch. The base is simply quinoa and mung bean, and the magic comes from the deeply sautéed and spiced celery. This bowl welcomes as many, or few, toppings as you like – roasted cherry tomatoes, salted dill yogurt, quick pickled red onions, chopped olives.
This quinoa power bowl is the kind of lunch I liked to pull together back in the days we would work in our studio in San Francisco’s Chinatown. It was something I would make regularly because it checks all the boxes — interesting, seasonal, filling, and nutritious. The base is simply mung beans and quinoa topped lots of good stuff. I’d argue, the magic *really* comes from deeply sautéed and spiced celery. The celery brings an incredible amount of flavor and depth to the rest of the dish, and welcomes all sorts of other toppings – roasted cherry tomatoes, salted dill yogurt, quick pickled red onions, chopped olives.
The Key to an Easy Power Bowl
I tend to keep a range of cooked beans and grains on hand, and that is one little trick that makes something like this easy to pull together. So, if you want something like this quinoa power bowl to come together quickly, the key is to make components ahead of time. Do a bit of meal prep. I tend to cook components for the week on the weekends, in big batches, and then keep an amount I think we might eat in the refrigerator. Freeze the the rest after allowing it to cool completely. This way I always have cooked quinoa, barley, brown rice, mung beans, just a quick thaw away.
Keep it Simple or Load it Up!
When it comes to power bowls, you can make things simple, or flared them out with as many toppings as you like (as pictured). This was a late summer version, but I imagine an autumn version with roasted delicata squash, or baked mushrooms, or herb jam would be great later in the year. Or do a homemade labneh in place of the yogurt.
More Quinoa Recipes
- how to cook quinoa (+ 20 recipes)
- quinoa salad
- baked quinoa patties
- kale quinoa bites
- warm and nutty cinnamon quinoa
- Heather’s quinoa
If you want to make beautifully creamy polenta on the stovetop, you’re on the right page. The ingredient list is short, and the leftovers deliver meals for days.
Cooking polenta in modern times doesn’t have much in common with the way it was prepared for centuries in the regions that now make up Northern Italy. Polenta was traditionally cooked on a grand scale in copper cauldrons over open fire. There was a lot of stirring, ladling, and creative, resourceful uses of leftovers. Historically it was considered one of the humblest foods and when I came across this line about polenta in Honey From a Weed by Patience Gray (1986), it stuck with me. “The idea of polenta, planted firmly in the north Italian imagination, is the antithesis of modern aspirations. It therefore intrudes on modern life like a vague emotional regret.”
But, polenta is wonderful. And similar to other foods that were cast off in exchange for industrialized, refined counterparts – brown rice, naturally leavened breads, etc. — many people find their way back to the “old ways” eventually.
What is Polenta?
Think of polenta as a cornmeal porridge of sorts. In The Classic Italian Cook Book (1973), Marcella Hazan asserts the importance of polenta by saying, “…to call polenta a cornmeal mush is a most indelicate use of language. In country kitchens, polenta was more than food, it was a rite. It was made daily in an unlined copper kettle, the paiolo, which was always kept hanging at the ready on a hook in the center of the fireplace.” She goes on to describe a wonderful scene where, “…there was a moment of joy as it [polenta] was poured out in a steaming golden circle on the beechwood top of the madia…”
About This Polenta Recipe
Polenta is a regular preparation in my kitchen, and it can be cooked a number of ways. Not just in a cauldron lol. I jump back and forth between stovetop polenta and oven-baked polenta depending on a number of factors. Today I’m going to talk through my technique for making beautifully creamy polenta on the stovetop. We’ll get to the oven-baked version in a future post. That one is great if you just want to combine ingredients in a baking dish, push it into the oven, and forget about it until the timer goes off. But it’s not as creamy. In either case, the ingredient list is short, and most of your attention should be focused on sourcing some great cornmeal / polenta. Beyond that, a bit of patience, and technique is all you need. I love it served topped generously with this mushroom ragù as you’ll see down below.
Which Polenta (a.k.a. cornmeal or grits) Should I Use?
Look for stone-ground, whole grain, whole kernel polenta without any additives – preferably organic. Store-bought, quick-cooking, refined polenta is the starchy endosperm of the corn kernel, and much of the flavor from the bran and germ is stripped out in the milling process. These are a few favorites to look for.
- Hayden Flour Mills Yellow Corn Polenta: My local market carries Hayden and this is the polenta I purchase most often. It is coarse grind, so it takes a bit longer to cook, but the flavor and texture is wonderful. (Pictured above right)
- Bob’s Red Mill Organic Medium Grind Cornmeal: Stone-ground, whole grain. Readily available and a solid choice. If I’m looking for a polenta that will cook a bit faster, this is the one to grab because the corn is medium coarse and a bit finer. (Pictured above left)
- Rancho Gordo Fine Yellow Polenta: If you like a finer grind, this is your choice. Organic, heirloom corn grown & ground by Anson Mills for RG. IYKYK.
Whole polenta is quite perishable. Use it quickly or store it in the freezer.
Do I Have to Stir Polenta with a Wooden Spoon?
If you read through old polenta recipes, many will mandate stirring with a wooden spoon. It’s a good suggestion, but your polenta will be just fine if you use a stainless steel spoon instead. That said, wood spoons are kinder to your pots, less likely to scratch (especially if your pots have any sort of coating). And, some metal spoons (especially very old ones) can react to acidic ingredients resulting in a metallic taste. If you’re making tomato sauce or sourdough, for example.
Knowing how to make a great pot of polenta sets you up with a foundation to keep it simple and straight-forward (like the creamy polenta recipe below), or to add your own twists and flavors. Here are a few ways you can switch things up.
- Use broth: Instead of water as the base liquid in your polenta experiment with broths, teas, or other infusions. I often make mine with a favorite mushroom tea (topping the polenta with these baked mushrooms.
- Make it herby: Polenta has a real affinity for certain herbs. My favorite is chives. Double down with a couple handfuls of snipped chives folded in along with some chive compound butter.
What to Do with Leftover Polenta
There are many things to do with leftover polenta. Patience Gray includes this wonderful paragraph (Honey From A Weed, 1986) that exemplifies the cycle of a pot of polenta, “…made one day to serve hot, what is left is sliced and fried in hot oil till golden (polenta fritta), or brushed with oil and grilled (polenta ai ferri), to eat the next day. If chopped salame, parmesan cheese, butter and egg yolks are added to the polenta once it is stiff, and, when it has cooled, the beaten egg whites are folded in, and the preparation put into an oiled oven dish, what emerges after 45 minutes in a hot oven is a torta di polenta.”
Here are a couple other ideas:
- Baked Polenta: Slice into strips, brush with olive oil and pan-fry or bake at 350°F into golden, tasty slabs. Serve topped with mushroom ragù.
- Polenta in Sourdough: A favorite – crumble polenta into sourdough prior to baking. I tend to do this after my second set of folds. Or, fold into quick bread batters.
More Polenta Recipes
More Italian Recipes
This Roasted Cauliflower Salad recipe is incredibly flavorful. Cauliflower is roasted until tender-crisp, then tossed with farro, lacinato kale, scallions, raisins, and toasty almonds in a savory-sweet turmeric dressing. Vegan.
A quick lunchtime brown rice bowl with kale, capers, salted yogurt, za’atar, toasted sesame seeds – and a poached egg for good measure.
My lunch, at least a few days a week, is some sort of rice bowl or grain bowl. I love a feel-good lunch, and using rice as the foundation, I can usually grab other components from the refrigerator to make something quick and satisfying. This Kale Rice Bowl, for example, is worth a shout out. You have grains plus greens, dollops of creamy salted yogurt, blistered capers, and plenty of homemade za’atar. So good!
Kale Rice Bowl: Make Ahead Plan
Most of the components here can be made ahead. They’re also good travelers – work lunches, picnics, etc. So you could meal prep on a Sunday for meals through out the week. For that approach here’s the plan.
- Cook the rice. Then allow it to cool and then refrigerate until you’re ready to eat. At that point you can either heat it, or allow it enough time to come up to room temperature.
- Cook some eggs. If you like an egg on top of your rice bowls, make a few hard-boiled eggs or fried eggs and refrigerate those as well.
- Choose your spices: I use za’atar as my seasoning here, but if you have another favorite spice blend, no problem. Have that at the ready.
I typically fry up the capers and salt the yogurt at the last minute, but you could also do that in the morning if you’re packing a lunch for later.
You can certainly take a rice bowl like this one in many different directions. I mentioned exploring a spice or seasoning swap up above. On the grain front, you see brown rice here, but farro would be nice, or a quinoa / rice blend. When it comes to the kale, my original intent was to bake the shredded kale (massaged with olive oil and za’atar), so it had more of a crispy texture (kale chips), but didn’t want to wait for the oven to heat. I ended up sautéing the kale instead. This is a long way of saying, play around!
More Rice Bowl Recipes
- A Simple Brown Rice Sushi Bowl
- Sesame Coconut Rice
- Instant Pot Brown Rice Bowl
- Super Orange Citrus Rice
- Rainbow Cauliflower Rice Bowl
- Bryant Terry’s Amazing Green Rice
This Baked Oatmeal recipe is easy and adaptable! With only 15 minutes of hands-on time, this wholesome, delicious breakfast is made with oats, nuts, and seasonal fruit. Vegan and gluten-free adaptable.