Once a week I roast a big pan of vegetables, and then put it to delicious use throughout the week. Perhaps some go on top of pasta one night, or get thrown on a flatbread for a quick pizza another night, or go alongside a simple piece of roast chicken or fish for a third night.
One of my favorite ways to deploy them is to make a “better for you” vegetarian bowl starring the roasted veggies and whatever else is in the refrigerator.
Today I had some cherry tomatoes and a prepared tube of polenta, which is a very handy kitchen trick for quick dinners. There’s no standing over the stove stirring with this timesaver. Some Cacique® Panela cheese added protein and flavor, and a quickly made basil-flavored crema tied it all together for those who like a little sauce on top. But half our family chose to eat this bowl without sauce, and it was still wonderful! Suit yourself.
The crispy polenta, warm vegetables, sweet tomatoes, salty cheese and herbaceous crema provide enough textures and flavors going on that you won’t even miss the meat.
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WHAT YOU NEED
- 12 ounces medley of broccoli florets and mini carrots (or a vegetable medley of your choice)
- 12 mini colored bell peppers, stemmed and cut in half vertically
- 12 Brussels sprouts, stem trimmed and halved vertically
- 1/4 of a red onion, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Big pinch kosher salt
- Ground black pepper, about 10 grinds of the pepper mill
- 1 (1-pound) tube prepared polenta (flavored is fine)
- 1 (10-ounce) package Cacique® Panela cheese, dried with a paper towel and cut into squares, left at room temperature
- 20-24 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
- 1/2 cup Cacique® Crema Mexicana
HOW TO MAKE IT
- Make vegetables: Turn oven on to 375F degrees. In a large bowl, place broccoli and carrots, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts and onion. Drizzle with oil and add the salt and pepper. Using 2 big spoons, toss gently so vegetables are lightly coated with oil. Pour vegetables into a large roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from oven when done.
- Grill polenta: While vegetables are roasting, heat a panini press and lightly brush with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Slice polenta into 12 even rounds, and add to hot panini press. Close the lid and cook 10 minutes.
- Make dressing: Measure basil leaves and roughly chop. Add to a small blender, along with Crema and salt. Whirl until well blended, about 30 seconds. Pour into a small container for serving at the table.
- Assemble bowls: When polenta is grilled, add 3 slices to each wide, shallow bowl (or plate), then top with hot roasted vegetables, cherry tomatoes and chunks of cheese. Offer the Basil Dressing at the table for those who would like to drizzle a bit over their Panela Polenta Bowl.
- Note: You may not use all of the cheese. Use as many chunks of cheese as you like for each bowl, and save the rest for another use.