Farm to Table Challenge - Turmeric Polenta and Roasted Vegetables

This week, I am participating in a Farm to Table challenge, hosted by Selva Beat. The rules are to make at least one dish utilizing items only found at the Farmers' Market, excluding oils and spices. You can head over to the challenge's directory page to learn about the challenge, the contributors, and to see fabulous recipes throughout the week. You may also want to read up on How to Shop at the Farmers' Market since I know you'll be inspired to get cooking after reading all of these great recipes!

I count myself very fortunate to have been raised by a woman who spent her Sundays at the local Farmers Market and many of her evenings cooking a delicious, healthy meal for her family. My mother instilled in me a sense of awe and joy in choosing and cooking with fresh produce, and those skills have served me well in my adulthood.

I am also so lucky to live in New York City where there are bountiful Farmers Markets on almost every day of the week! The Union Square Farmers Market is my personal favorite because I can find pretty much anything I want, including quinoa, popcorn, and fresh cut flowers. This week the cornmeal from Oak Grove Mills in New Jersey caught my eye and inspired me to try something new; polenta!

This dish is a great transitional recipe from Summer into Fall as it is warm and hearty but tastes best with a highlight of summer vegetables. Of course, the added turmeric really makes the magic happen here, with its incredible properties as a digestive aid, anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. I am so lucky to be able to find turmeric at my Farmers Market (only on certain days!), but have also been easily able to find it at most grocery stores as a powder in the spice section. This recipe works without the turmeric, of course, but the added golden color and health benefits certainly don’t hurt!

Turmeric Polenta and Roasted Vegetables

Cook time: 45 minutes. Serves about 4 people.

Ingredients for polenta:

  • 1-2 cups cornmeal (coarse ground is best, but you can use any size cornmeal grounds)
  • 4-5 cups water (more water = less thick polenta)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp turmeric

Directions for polenta:

  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Once water is boiling, add salt. Then add cornmeal in a steady, slow stream into the boiling water. Whisk or stir vigorously for about 4 minutes or until you have achieved a relatively smooth consistency. Many people tend to overmix their polenta at this stage, if you have a few lumps and bumps, don’t worry about them, they’ll take care of themselves later!
  3. Put a tightly fitted lid on your polenta, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes. Be sure to stir the polenta every 10 minutes, making sure that nothing is burning or sticking too much to the pot. At about 20 minutes, add 2 tsp of turmeric.
  4. After 40 minutes your polenta should be nice and creamy. You can serve it now or let it sit on the stove for up to 15 more minutes before serving. Once you take it off the heat or store it in your fridge, the polenta will start to firm up. Polenta leftovers are nice and thick and are great for cutting into thick rounds and pan-frying!

Ingredients for roasted vegetables:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 2 small potatoes
  • 4 small beets
  • 4 small carrots
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 medium eggplant (the long, skinny kind work best for this dish)
  • 1 large leek

Directions for roasted vegetables:

  1. Peel garlic, onions, potatoes, beets. Chop all vegetables into similar sizes, I personally prefer a 1-inch chunk.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. In a large bowl, cover chopped veggies with coconut oil, turmeric, salt and pepper. Toss until everything is coated on all sides.
  4. Transfer veggie mixture into a casserole dish or similar pan for the oven. Add water to the pan, cover (with lid or foil) and put in the oven for 30 minutes.
  5. At 30 minutes, check your vegetables. If they are soft all the way through (the potatoes and carrots will be the telling vegetables here as they take longer to cook) you are ready to serve! If they aren’t soft enough to poke with a fork yet, check in on them again in 10 minutes, repeat as needed.
  6. Serve vegetables from a slotted spoon to avoid getting too much liquid.

Serve your roasted vegetables in a bowl atop a bed of golden, steaming polenta and enjoy a hearty, healthy meal!