The American Cancer Society recommends moving toward a plant based diet and I have discovered a new favorite food that fits right in. It’s called “Polenta.” Polenta dates back to the 1700’s when it was made popular in Italy. It was considered a peasant food because it was plentiful and cheap. Polenta is corn meal and is considered one of the best foods to supply long-lasting energy. Polenta can be prepared in various ways making it very versatile. It is also gluten free.
Polenta is a low carbohydrate food rich in vitamin A and C and a good source of carotenoids. The carotenoids give it potential benefits for cancer prevention. Other cancer fighting foods in this recipe include spinach, garlic, red peppers and marinara sauce. Another great benefit of this dish is that it fits in great as a low carbohydrate-protein rich food for those who want something that is truly satisfying and lower calorie. This dish also freezes great. Enjoy!
Polenta and Garden Vegetable Bake
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion
1 red pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 zucchini, finely diced
Salt and pepper
8-10 ounces baby spinach
1 ½ cup prepared marinara sauce
½ cup chopped basil
16 ounces prepared polenta, sliced lengthwise into thin slices
1 ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, red pepper, zucchini, garlic, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Add spinach; cook until wilted, stirring once, about 3 minutes.
- Stir marinara sauce into the vegetables and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in basil.
- Slice polenta, and place polenta slices in a single layer in the prepared dish.
- Sprinkle with ¾ cup cheese, top with the zucchini/spinach mixture and sprinkle with the remaining ¾ cup cheese.
- Bake until bubbling and the cheese has just melted, 12 to 15 minutes. Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
Yield: 8 servings, Nutritional information per serving:
Calories: 215, Fat: 8 gm, Carbohydrate: 27 gm, Protein: 9 gm