Polenta with vegetables

Polenta is a corn-meal porridge. You can top polenta with anything you like which makes it a delicious options for breakfast, lunch and even dinner.

Polenta is identified as a yellow corn-meal. The way it’s process produces a more whole form of what many know as grits and contains 6 g of fiber. ( The most popular form of grits only have .7 g – yet I believe there is a white corn that can be used to create white polenta “grits” which reserves the whole kernels.

If cooking on the stove-top it takes about 30 minutes. Use 1 cup of polenta to 6 cups of water.

But I prefer the much easier option of using an Instant Pot. This recipe makes 4 – 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 6 cups water or broth

Vegetable Toppings:  (in photo)

  • `1 bell pepper
  • 2 stalks green onion
  • 8 ounces mushrooms
  • 4 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 4 cups spinach
  • Salt, pepper and crushed red pepper (optional)

Directions: (for Instant Pot)

  1. Add polenta, water and sprinkle with a little salt (optional) into Instant Pot and stir.
  2. Cook for 10 minutes (manually set or use ‘Rice’ button).
  3. After time is up, Press ‘Cancel’ to switch to ‘Off’ and allow natural pressure release (usually 10/15 minutes).
  4. Stir to combine water and corn-meal. Using a whisk makes this easier.

Cooking Vegetables:

  1. Heat griddle or pan on stove-top.
  2. Add 1 tsp of oil and/or 2 TBS water to the pan.
  3. Add all vegetables except for spinach and stir-fry (stir-steam) until desired tenderness, sprinkle with seasonings of choice.
  4. Remove vegetables to a plate, turn off heat, add spinach and allow to wilt. (Adding a bit of water to create steam will help spinach wilt.)

Serve by adding polenta to a dish and topping with the vegetables.

Buckwheat and Millet Pancakes

This is my go-to recipe for breakfast (in addition to a morning smoothie which I usually have while cooking pancakes). Notice there aren’t any sweeteners, gums or extra fillers in this gluten-free recipe. Just the basic ingredients and I enjoy them with unsulphured molasses, a touch of maple syrup and cold-pressed flax seed oil (an optional boost of Omega-3’s).

Ingredients:
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup millet flour
2 TBS ground flax seeds (can add up to 4 TBS)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
2 cups nut milk (or water will work just as well)
2 tsp baking powder

Directions:

  1. Heat a hot griddle or skillet over low to medium heat.
  2. Mix all ingredients together well, except for the baking powder
  3. Allow the mix to sit about 2 – 3 minutes for the flax seeds to help bind the mixture. (The ground flax seeds are a plant-based substitution for eggs.)
  4. Add a bit more nut milk or water to attain the consistency needed to pour the pancake batter onto a griddle.
  5. Add baking powder and mix slightly. ( You can add another tablespoon of water to help the powder dissolve easily.)
  6. Add just a touch of oil if needed(I prefer coconut oil when needed) to your griddle or skillet.
  7. Cook the pancakes. (They should be easy to pour from the bowl and form round circles on the cooking surface. If not, you can use a spoon to spread a bit or add more liquid).

Note: I make my own buckwheat and millet flours using a Vitamix grain container that has a specific blade for grinding grains.

Suggestion: Mix all the dry ingredients together and store in an airtight container. To use, add liquid of choice in 1:1 ratio of dry mix. Allow to sit for 1 minute. Then, if using, add lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Cook on hot griddle.

Black Bean Corn Tortilla Tacos (Plant-Based, Vegan)

I usually cook a large batch of beans and freeze whatever I don’t use immediately. So, for this recipe, the only ingredient that I had to make was the “Not-So” Cheese Sauce that I found in the Vitamix recipe book. If you have the opportunity to purchase a Vitamix you should definitely do so. You won’t regret it. I think I’ve owned mine for about 7 years and the only part I have replaced is the rubber top recently because it wasn’t fitting as snugly as it did when I first purchased it (6 years ago).
I pulled these tacos together rather quickly. The corn tortillas are “Tortilla Land” brand that I found in the local grocery store. They are uncooked and I prepare them on the griddle that I keep on the left side of my stove-top mostly for this purpose (and cooking pancakes just as often).
Ingredients:
  • Tortilla Land corn tortillas (or make your own using masa flour, or chickpea flour or cassava flour) Update: Here is a chickpea flour tortilla recipe. I truly enjoy making my own tortillas these days.
  • black beans (red beans or pinto beans would also be good, canned is fine – just rinse them)
  • fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • green onions
  • brown rice (or quinoa)
  • avocado (or guacamole – see recipe below)
  • Not-So Cheese Sauce (this recipe uses potato starch to create a thicker version) or Forks Over Knives No Cheese Sauce   (a bit simpler, much less cashews). My latest favorite is “Cheeze” Sauce Upgraded (really easy).

Vegan Cheese Sauce Comparisons:

Cheese Sauces Compared

Other possible toppings: salsa, cilantro, pico de gallo, your favorite vegetables, etc
Directions:
  1. Cook tortillas according to package directions
  2. Warm the beans on the stovetop – using a bit of water to prevent them from burning
  3. Add your toppings

Guacamole Recipe

Add all of the following ingredients to a food processor and give it a whirl!

  • 2 avocados
  • 1/2 lemon or lime, juiced
  • 1 green onion stalk (Low FODMAP and I like them because they are milder.)
  • 1/2 – 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 of jalapeno (I usually remove most of the seeds for a milder version.)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of “tightly packed” cilantro

Oatmeal Options

Oatmeal is my preferred breakfast food.

Note for quite some time, it was not part of my diet because it caused stomach upsets [update 10-30-2020].  BUT, now I can eat oatmeal and I have it almost daily!
It’s fast and easy to prepare and can be flavored any way you like.  I add 1/2  to 3/4 cup of rolled oats (gluten-free) and 1/8 tsp salt to 1 cup of water and allow to cook just until it starts to boil.  (You can easily double this recipe.)
Then I turn off the heat and with a little stirring, it’s done.  Oatmeal cooked in this manner will be creamy, but if you want more cream you can add almond milk.  I haven’t purchased almond milk in the store for over 5 years, I didn’t buy it often, but I don’t remember it being as creamy as the one I make on my own. You should try some homemade almond milk.
So, sometimes I have oatmeal with almond milk, raisins, and cinnamon.
Then if I want a more “fruity” version.  I add fruit (like strawberries or blueberries). Other days I put dates/raisins a little water (or almond milk), and sometimes cashews into the Vitamix and mix until smooth and creamy.

BlueberryOatmeal
Oatmeal with Blueberry Sauce

My goal is to use fresh natural sugars to sweeten my oatmeal. My daughter who likes oatmeal and totally loves blueberries thinks it’s the best-flavored oatmeal she’s ever had (much better tasting and surely better for us than any boxed version).

This basic oatmeal recipe can easily be doubled. Also, make sure to cook over low heat so it doesn’t burn.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/8 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 cup of water
Instructions:
  1. Add all ingredients to a pot over low heat for creamy oatmeal or wait for the water to boil to keep oats separate.
  2. Stir frequently
  3. Enjoy with some recipe add-ins.

Steel Cut Oatmeal
Steel Cut Oats

These days, I also enjoy steel cut oats to switch things up even more. Note, steel cut oats take more time to cook, but they cook up quickly and easily in the InstantPot [5-minute manual setting and 3 cups of water to 1 cup of oats].

Another add-in idea:

Oatmeal and Bananas
Pumpkin seeds, cranberries, cinnamon, and a banana

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