Polenta with Fresh Corn, Quinoa & Marinated Kale

Gluten-Free, Main dishes

Polenta with Fresh Corn, Quinoa & Marinated Kale

I have this habit of checking my calendar to find out what I did on a given day one, two, three + years ago. I find it entertaining to reminisce on where I was and how I felt then compared to today. This day last year, we were discovering Bruges and tasting all the good stuff Belgium offers. We later made our way to Brussels, where J flew home and I stayed an extra week to visit urban agriculture initiatives as part of a government-funded exchange between Quebec and Belgium. I got to visit a cricket farm (with tasting), aquaponic and mushroom growing facilities, rooftop and community gardens and much more. Similar initiatives are also happening in Montreal and in many cities around the world which gives me hope in humanity.

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is my kind of comfort food. For polenta purists out there, abstenez-vous. I took the liberty to adapt the traditional Italian dish into something I’d actually want to eat and the result is excellent if I may say so myself. It’s creamy, yet offers a pleasantly sweet crunch. And the greens, well, they’re a good compromise for all the carbs. But hurry: I found fresh corn at the farmer’s market this weekend though I suspect the harvest is nearly complete.

P.S.: This recipe can easily be made vegan. Substitutions are provided below.

Polenta with Fresh Corn, Quinoa & Marinated Kale

Polenta (inspired by this recipe):

  • 2 ears of fresh corn
  • 1 cup medium cornmeal
  • ¼ cup quinoa
  • 2 ¼ cups water
  • 2 ¼ cups milk (animal or plant)
  • ½ small red onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (or olive oil)
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt

Marinated kale (adapted from this recipe):

  • 4 cups chopped kale leaves (approximately 4-5 large leaves)
  • 2 tbsp flaxseed oil
  • Juice of ½ to 1 lemon, to taste
  • 1-2 tsp honey (or agave nectar), to taste
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes

For serving:

  • Soft boiled eggs (1 per serving)
  • Aged cheddar

Start with the kale. In a large bowl, whisk together the flaxseed oil, lemon juice, honey/agave and red pepper flakes.

Add the chopped kale leaves and toss to coat. Season to taste with a good pinch of coarse salt. Taste and adjust lemon juice and/or honey/agave as needed (you want a nice tang). Set aside to marinate while you prepare the polenta.

For the polenta: Boil the two ears of corn in water for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. When cooled down, cut the kernels off the cobs with a paring knife and set aside.

In a large pot, bring the water and milk to boil. Add the cornmeal, quinoa and salt and whisk to ensure there are no lumps. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 15-20 minutes stirring once in awhile. You may need to add more water as necessary to obtain desired consistency. Once cooked, remove from heat, add the butter (or olive oil), fresh corn kernels and chopped red onions. Stir well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

For serving, shallow bowls are best. Top the polenta with a generous amount of marinated kale, a soft-boiled egg and shaved aged cheddar.

Polenta with Fresh Corn, Quinoa & Marinated Kale

For a vegan version: Use olive oil, plant milk and agave in lieu of butter, animal milk and honey. For serving, simply omit the egg and cheddar.

Polenta with Marinated Kale

Recipe serves 6