Did you know that improving your health can be as easy as cutting out meat and processed cold cuts one day a week? Doing so can reduce your risk of preventable chronic conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
Enter Meatless Monday. This week's recipe is baked rosemary mushroom polenta. "Traditional polenta is spiced up with a little cayenne pepper and parmesan cheese, then topped with rosemary infused mushrooms," says the Meatless Monday website. They add, "Even the most devout carnivores will be convinced after trying this deceptively simple holiday dish. This recipe comes to us from Trudy of veggie.num.num."
Baked Rosemary Mushroom Polenta
To prepare the polenta:
a little oil or nonstick cooking spray, for preparing the baking dish
a 5 ounce box instant polenta
5 cups low sodium vegetable stock
1 tablespoon butter
½ – 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
To complete the baked rosemary mushroom polenta:
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, diced
12 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup fresh rosemary, chopped
sprigs of fresh rosemary, for garnish
To make the baked polenta:
Prepare a medium sized baking dish with a light layer of oil or nonstick cooking spray.
Bring the stock to boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the stock boils add the polenta in a steady stream and turn heat down to low. Cook the polenta over a low heat for about 10 minutes, or until it reaches a soft and creamy consistency.
Remove the polenta from heat and beat in the butter. Season with salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper to taste.
Pour the polenta into the prepared baking dish and set in the fridge for about an hour, or until firm.
Preheat a grill to medium-high or an oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the polenta from the fridge and top it with the grated Parmesan cheese.
If using a grill, place the polenta onto the grill for about 20 minutes until cheese has melted. If using an oven, place in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. When the polenta has warmed through, remove it from the oven and cut into squares.
To complete the Baked Rosemary Mushroom Polenta:
While the polenta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large heavy based fry pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1-3 minutes, or until the garlic becomes soft and fragrant.
Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft and beautifully brown. After 2 minutes, toss in chopped fresh rosemary and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange the baked polenta squares on a large platter and top with the rosemary infused mushrooms. Decorate with sprigs of fresh rosemary.
Serve immediately while warm and fragrant.
Nutrition info: 158 calories, 6,4 g total fat, 2.4 g saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 8.7 mg cholesterol, 89 mg sodium, 21.1 g total carbs, 2.4 g dietary fiber, 1.2 g sugar and 5.5 g protein.
(Photo: Bill Hogan/Landov)