Vegetarian Braised Beets with Creamy Polenta

Want to eat less meat this year but are unsure of how to start? I've got you covered!

New year new me-- and by that, I mean I'm actively making a dish that includes beets. It might come as a surprise to you that I am a bit of a beet hater, which might seem as an odd way to start off a blog post featuring them. All things considered, however, the fact that I am sharing a recipe that features beets as a predominant player is evidence of this recipe's boundary defying deliciousness. But I digress.




Many of us (myself included) start off the new year with a goal to reduce our meat consumption-- for ethical, environmental, or health related reasons. And while that's a noble pursuit, sometimes it can be challenging to know what to make, especially if you get stuck in the cycle of having a protein, a vegetable, and a carb on every plate. Furthermore, these cold January days call for something that is hearty, warming, and filling, and can fill the void animal protein sometimes leaves behind. Enter this braised beets and polenta dish.




Braised beets are common to the french style of cooking, and involve utilizing aromatics and a roux to build a base to finish the beets in. Polenta (otherwise known as grits in areas of the U.S) is corn meal that is cooked with some combination of broth/milk/water and stirred constantly to yield a creamy and porridge like texture. Depending on the ratio of liquid to solid, the viscosity of the polenta will vary from somewhat soupy to firm enough to be cut into squares. Depending on how firm (or loose) you want your polenta to be, you may need to add an additional 1/2 cup of water to this recipe.




Growing up, my family would always make polenta in the wintertime. It was often served with something like a bolognese sauce or coq au vin, but most times I would just fill up my bowl with polenta and nix the meat component. What can I say--I'm a carb girl, through and through. And so, in a way, I guess this recipe is kind of an homage to that time, as well as the fact that as an adult I can now make the exact dishes that I want. HA. (youngest sibling problems).




So let's embrace all the veggies and make this dish together, shall we?


Braised Beets with Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta


Braised Beets-

-1 bunch of beets, peeled, greens removed, and cut into eighths

-1/4 cup red wine

-1/4 cup water

-juice of ½ lemon

-3 tbsp olive oil

-2 cloves garlic, minced

-1 shallot, diced

-2 pieces sage, finely sliced

-1 tbsp whole wheat flour


-3 cups veggie stock

-1.5 cups water

-1 cup yellow polenta

-2 tbsp goat cheese

-1/2 tsp salt


Add olive oil to a large pot set over medium high heat. Let warm for about 1 minute or until the oil is slightly shimmering and add the sage. Stir and let brown for an additional minute before reducing the heat to medium and adding the shallot and garlic. Sauté until the shallots become slightly translucent and add the flour. Stir to coat the vegetables then add the red wine and the water. Add the beets into the pot and coat with the roux mixture. Reduce the heat to a low-simmer, cover, and let cook for 30-40 minutes until the beets are fork tender. Once finished stir in the lemon juice. While the beets are still cooking, add the vegetable stock and water to a (separate) medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the polenta and the salt and reduce the heat to low. Stir the mixture frequently and let the polenta cook for about 25-30 minutes, adding the goat cheese in after 10 minutes. Serve by adding a dollop of polenta to a plate and topping with the braised beets. Optionally add roasted walnuts to top and enjoy!

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