Exciting things going on here today, and they all start off with this late summer vegetable Bolognese with creamy polenta.
Yep, three very exiting things to share today.
Exciting thing number one! Today is little (or maybe not so little anymore) Miss Asher’s 9th birthday! For everyone who may be wondering, Asher is not my daughter. Nope, she is just my little sister, who I am whole heartedly obsessed with. To celebrate her big day my mom and I are surprising her with a girl’s shopping trip. Today is a testing day for her, so she only has to go in to school for 30 minutes, once she’s done we’re heading down to Denver. Asher has suspected nothing yet, so I’m excited to see her face. She already had a party when my family was in Cleveland, so I don’t think she’s expecting much today. I love surprising her! Follow along on Instagram stories.
Exciting thing number two! We have a very fun post up on the blog today involving the Half Baked Harvest Cookbook and an all expenses paid trip out to visit my little Barn in Colorado for a HBH retreat weekend this September. If you have yet to see the post, you can find all the info here. And guys, I would be sure to check it out, it’s a pretty big giveaway and will be an incredibly fun weekend trip too! Umm, hello to a dinner cooked by me, cheese board making, and so much more.
Exciting thing number three! Umm, duh, this yummy vegetarian Bolognese served over creamy corn polenta!
Now do you see where I am coming from? So many things to be excited about today!! Loving today already!
OKAY. Since I can’t ramble on about Asher’s birthday all day (although I probably could…), and the retreat has its very own post (go check it out!), let’s talk about today’s recipe, which is just as exciting to me because I love this healthy Bolognese SO much.
I have been working on this recipe for a while now. At first it started out as a beef Bolognese, but for some reason I was just never overly happy with the recipe. I took a break from it for a week and then picked it back up again last week, but with a new approach. Instead of making a meaty Bolognese sauce, I decided to opt out of the meat all together and just use up all the summer produce in my fridge.
And you know what happened? I ending up loving the recipe.
If you read the blog regularly, then you know I love veggies, but you also know my family loves meat. Sometimes it’s hard to find a compromise, but with this recipe, I found the comprise, just make the veggies taste so good that no one misses the meat (okay, okay and disguise them really well in a red sauce).
Oh, and then serve it over a pile of polenta for extra goodness.
This recipe fooled pretty much everyone. I sent all the leftovers over to my parent’s house. I got a text later that night asking what kind of meat I had used in the sauce. My dad was shocked when I told him it was all veggies. He said he would have never guessed because there was so much flavor and texture. Both he, my mom, and my siblings that were home at the time (hey, hey to Brendan and Lyndsie) loved the sauce.
YES! I love when I can trick the family into eating a completely plant-based meal.
The sauce is made up of some of my favorite vegetables: carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and tomatoes. The carrots and peppers add really nice texture, while the mushrooms give the sauce that meaty flavor. The bonus part of this recipe is that you can really used any mix of vegetables that you love or have on hand. Shredded brussels sprout, cauliflower, and broccoli would all be awesome. You could even stir in some spinach or kale.
I also added in some chopped walnuts, which might seem odd, but they bulk up sauce and add a really nice heartiness. For some extra flavor, I added in a splash…or two, of white wine, plus some crushed red pepper for spice.
You can of course serve this up over pasta as well, but I love the polenta, it’s different and totally delicious.
And finally? Finish the dish off with a healthy dusting of really good parmesan cheese.
Late Summer Vegetable Bolognese with Creamy Polenta
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small sweet onion, diced
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 2 cups cremini mushrooms, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- kosher salt and pepper
- 1 (28 ounce) can san marzano tomatoes
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts, chopped
- 1 handful fresh basil
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup instant polenta
- 2 ears corn, kernels removed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- kosher salt and pepper
1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat.
2. When the oil shimmers, add the onions and carrots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, garlic, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the veggies are tender.
3. Stir in all of the tomatoes, wine, and 1/2 cup water. Stir in the walnuts. Shimmer the sauce for 20 minutes or until it has thickened and the tomatoes have burst. Season with salt and pepper and then stir in the basil.
4. Meanwhile, make the polenta. In a medium saucepan bring 2 cups of water and the milk to a boil over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the polenta, stirring, until the polenta is soft and thick, about 5 minutes. Stir in the corn and butter until melted. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Ladle the bolognese over the polenta. Enjoy!
I mean, obviously.