A Healthy Pause: Roasted Broccolini over Spinach Parmesan Polenta

October 28, 2009

roasted broccoli

Photo: Food Network

No matter how hard I try to be good, Halloween week ends up being a bloodbath. (Is it just me?!) I do my best to keep it healthy, lower sugar, and all homemade, but the bottom line is that it’s sweets week! (And that’s fun, damn it!) One of the ways that I keep myself—and my family—in check is by serving lighter meals heavy on the veggies in between all the Halloween fun.

This meal was inspired by my to-die-for Polenta “Creamed” Spinach. I simplified this quick polenta side to make an even healthier vegetarian main. Now, if you’ve been reading ChowMama for a while, you know how vegetarian dinners usually go over in my house. If you haven’t been reading for a while, not well is the point. But this meal was a winner! Like pasta, this Spinach Parmesan Polenta is hearty enough to fill the boys’ bellies, especially topped with garlicky Roasted Broccolini. (No daydreaming of meatballs this time!)

This is a great meal for families with eaters of all ages. Polenta is the perfect consistency for children who haven’t yet mastered big chunks, and it doesn’t leave us adults feeling like we’re eating baby food (because we’re not)! This is just seriously good, straight-up family food.

And—quick tip!—skip the broccolini and make this polenta for a warm and hearty 15-minute lunch.

Roasted Broccolini over Spinach Parmesan Polenta
serves 4
(can be adapted for kids 8+ mos*)

For the Roasted Broccolini
2 heads organic broccolini, cleaned & cut into florets
3 cloves organic garlic, finely chopped
organic olive oil
salt and pepper

For the Spinach Parmesan Polenta
4 c organic chicken or veggie broth
2 c chopped, fresh organic spinach*
1 1/3 c organic polenta
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp organic butter
1/3 c organic grated parmesan

1. Roast Broccolini: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the meantime, toss broccolini with chopped garlic and enough olive oil to coat well. Spread florets in a single layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 18-20 minutes, until cooked through. Set aside.

2. Bring broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add spinach and lower heat to medium. Bring broth back to a boil.

3. Add salt and polenta, pouring in a thin, steady stream, whisking all the while. Allow to cook for another minute, continuing to whisk, until thick. Turn off heat.

4. Immediately stir in butter, grated parmesan and black pepper. Taste—you may want to add some more salt to older kid and adult portions.

5. Plate polenta and top with roasted broccolini. Drizzle with olive oil and some more grated parmesan. (You may also want to offer tomato sauce on top—that’s how my ChowBaby likes it.)

*Note: For young eaters, be sure to either puree the broccolini or cut it up into age-appropriate bites and mix in well with the polenta. Also, spinach is recommended for children 10+ mos. If you’d like to serve this to children 8- or 9-months old, mix the broccolini in with plain parmesan polenta.

9 Responses

  1. Megan says:

    This whole recipe sounds wonderful, especially the roasting part! We’re big broccoli fans, so I expect us to like it, though I’ve never served polenta. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. christie says:

    somehow mine looks like Polenta soup. there was nothing remotely thick about it… i really don’t know where i went wrong! is it because i refrigerated my polenta?

  3. stacie says:

    hi christie, i can’t imagine that refrigerating poletna would make the difference here. there are several kinds of polenta–different grain sizes. i’m sorry that i wasn’t more specific in my recipe! my guess is that we used different grain sizes and the amt of liquid needed for my polenta is different that what was needed for yours. my guess is that the solve is simple–use the amt of liquid recommended in the cooking instruction on your polenta’s package. let me know how it turns out if you venture to make this again.

  4. shannon says:

    What a great recipe! I used chopped frozen spinach in the polenta as a shortcut, and it turned out wonderfully. I don’t think I’ve ever had broccolini, but we happened to have an enormous amount of broccoli from the farmer’s market, which worked great. I love roasted broccoli in any dish.

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  6. […] Roasted Broccoli Over Spinach Parmesean Polenta – Recommended for kids under 10+ months […]

  7. Geneve says:

    This is a great, easy recipe! Very healthy and delicious. I used whole baby spinach leaves (not chopped) and doubled the amount of them. The polenta turns out just fine even with all the leaves crowding the pot. I’ve also made this with a half recipe (everything just halved) and it turned out perfect as well. For extra deliciousness add a big pinch (or small fistful!) of shredded mozzarella to the top of the spinach polenta on each plate before topping with hot broccolini. Fantastic. Thank you!

  8. […] with Chickpeas. I use Parmesan to make breading on chicken or pork cutlets. I grate Parmesan over roasted veggies and stir it into veggie purees and mashes. When the boys were little, Parmesan was my go-to flavor […]

  9. […] with Chickpeas. I use Parmesan to make breading on chicken or pork cutlets. I grate Parmesan over roasted veggies and stir it into veggie purees and mashes. When the boys were little, Parmesan was my go-to […]

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