Anatomy of a Polenta Bowl

Grain bowls are big in the foodie world. They are essentially the popular burrito bowl, but with nutritionally upgraded ingredients and the less-than-healthy ingredients (sour cream, cheese, etc) removed. The fillings of the grain bowl can be just about anything and I'm seeing more and more restaurants specializing in grain bowls pop up. The restaurant version can be expensive, but they are relatively cheap to make at home. I find myself making them at least once a week. 

There are four main components to grain bowls: grains, greens, veggies, and protein. Quinoa, farro, wild rice, and polenta are all great grain options. The greens, like kale or spinach, can be cooked or used raw. For the veggies, I use whatever is on sale and again, both cooked and raw vegetables taste delicious. The protein is an important vessel for infusing flavor into the bowl. Vegetarian options include beans, marinated tofu, and seitan. Shredded meats and meatballs are superb for meat eaters. 

This week's version included polenta, garlic spinach, tomatoes, and black beans. Polenta is dirt cheap to make, which means it's in heavy rotation in our house. It's made simply from cornmeal and broth and takes less than fifteen minutes to cook. Sounds great right?! Included below are recipes for basic polenta and garlic spinach.

Serves 2

3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup cornmeal
1 Tbsp olive oil

Bring the vegetable broth and olive oil to a boil. Whisk in the cornmeal slowly. Continue cooking the polenta for three to five minutes, stirring constantly to prevent clumping. 

Garlic Spinach
Serves 2

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 bunch spinach, chopped 
Salt to taste

Heat the garlic in olive oil until it becomes fragrant. Stir in the spinach. Cook for three minutes or until the spinach wilts. Season with salt. 

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