Mediterranean Vegetable Gruel will surely make you love veggies even though you aren’t a vegetarian. This Mediterranean Vegetable Gruel would be an awesome side dish or main dish! They can be served with Parmesan cheese or anything you like, but these are also great by themselves!
Mediterranean Vegetable Polenta Recipe by Tori Avey
This simple cornmeal mush has been present for centuries all over the world. While we typically associate polenta with Italy, it is consume in various regions and preparations. In France, it became popular during the French revolution and was typically served with wild game and cheese or dressed with sauce. 16th century Portuguese brought cornmeal to Africa where it spread along Arab trade routes; it was fed to African slaves during transport because it was cheap and easy to transport. The Pennsylvania Dutch mix it with meat scraps.
Romanians dub it mamaliga, serving it as a porridge or in small cake form. Romanian immigrants brought it with them to New York, where it became a common dish on Jewish deli menus. It Italy it is love both as a porridge and in cake form; it is sometimes mixed with buckwheat in a preparation known as polenta taragna.
This polenta with its topping: flavorful Mediterranean chickpea ragout makes a filling and comforting meal. Things are vegan here, opting to add coconut milk and turmeric to the polenta for a creamy, savoury flavour. Feel free to add parmesan to the mix if you do not worry about keeping things dairy-free. Enjoy!
Mediterranean Vegetable Gruel
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 8 oz mushrooms chopped
- 1 1/2 cups onion diced small (about 1 1/2 onions)
- 1 3/4 tsp Salt divided
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/8 tsp Cinnamon
- pinch black pepper
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas or 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 3/4 cup diced fresh tomatoes or 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
- 4 whole medium squash (yellow and/or zucchini) diced
- 1 large eggplant diced
- 1 whole red bell pepper diced
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
- 3 cup water
- 2 cup unsweetened coconut milk regular or light
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 1 1/4 cup cornmeal fine ground
- For the ragout: Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms, onions and 1/2 tsp of salt. Cook until browned, then stir in the smoked paprika, cumin, crushed red pepper, coriander, cinnamon, black pepper and garlic; cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Stir in the balsamic vinegar, scraping the pan to remove any brown bits. Add the chickpeas and 3/4 cup water to the pan along with diced tomatoes, squash, eggplant, bell pepper and sun-dried tomatoes, stir well to combine. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, 20-30 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste if desired.
- Just before serving, stir in the fresh chopped basil.
- For the polenta: In a medium saucepan combine 3 cups water, coconut milk, 1 tbsp olive oil, turmeric and 1 1/4 tsp salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture is smooth, tender, and creamy, about 15-18 minutes.
- Serve the ragout over the cooked warm polenta. Garnish with additional fresh basil if desired.