Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Polenta with Sausage

This supper is easy as can be, since it starts with tube polenta. I recommend Food Merchants polenta, only because the company's FAQ specifies that the product is vegan. Almost all tube polenta has beta carotene added for color, and while beta carotene itself is vegan, it is often suspended in gelatin in order to isolate it. So check with any brand before you buy, if you're unsure.

  • 1 (16-ounce) tube polenta
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 (4-ounce) Field Roast Italian sausages
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) drained cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded Daiya mozzarella
1. Cut the polenta into 1/4-inch thick slices, and arrange the slices in an 11x7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes, turning over halfway through.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.  Break the sausage into crumbles and add to the pan, along with the bell pepper and fennel seeds; cook for 5 minutes.

Note: I find it clever when vegan meat companies mimic their meat-based counterparts in more than just taste. Field roast sausages come in links similar to a chain of meat sausages, right down to the plastic "casings" that slip off. These types of products are great for mixed vegan/omnivore households, or if you're currently transitioning to vegan foods.

3. Add the Italian seasoning and tomatoes to the skillet; cook for a final 2 minutes.

4. Spoon the sausage mixture over the polenta, and sprinkle with the mozzarella.  Bake for a final 3 minutes.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 and 1/2 cups), Calories 327 

Tasting Notes:
A great savory sausage topping, very similar, in fact, to the topping from my Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Pizza, though the notable difference here was the wonderful anise flavor from the fennel seeds.  Unfortunately the polenta underneath was very plain, and so perhaps not the best base for the delicious sausage mixture. You might try tossing it with pasta instead.  But still, high marks for this dish since the topping was so good.


I made this again with one change that made all the difference: flavored polenta.  The basil and garlic tube polenta from Food Merchants gave the bottom layer of this dish enough flavor to stand up to the topping.

The second time around, I also opted to use 3 Tofurky Italian sausages instead. Just slightly milder than the Field Roast version, it tamed the spices and was more to my liking.

Finally, in place of assertive Daiya mozzarella, I grated the vegan mozzarella block from Vegan Gourmet. This cheese is creamy and very soft, and also helped the overall flavors in the dish blend together better.

It all added up to one yummy dinner, closer to a "5" than the original.

No comments:

Post a Comment