Creamy Polenta with Spring Veggies + Health Benefits of Asparagus

By March 7, 2018 Diabetic Friendly, Gluten-Free, Lunch and Dinner, Recipe Box, Spring, Vegetarian

Do you like asparagus? I can’t keep my hands off the stuff. Especially since it’s been on sale for the past 2 weeks. It’s usually pretty pricey so during most of the year I only cook it once a month or so. But since it’s starting to feel a bit more like Spring here in Charleston and the asparagus has likely started to shoot up, there’s a lot to go around so prices are low (I’m assuming). My Dad grows asparagus in his garden and it’s such a neat vegetable the way it grows. They grow straight up outta the ground and you just snap them off at whatever size you want. Once you snap it off, it continues to shoot back up all throughout the season. You get about 3-4 rounds out of them before they stop producing until the next year.  Here’s a picture of the harvest I collected one night for dinner. Aren’t they beautiful?!

This veggie has a distinct yet amazing flavor that I think is best experienced by lightly sauteeing it with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. It’s best sauteed just for a few minutes, otherwise, it turns dark green and starts to get soft and mushy if cooked longer than 5 minutes. If you’ve tried asparagus before and you didn’t like it, I encourage you to try it cooking it in a different way until you find a way you DO like it. You can probably get away with never eating asparagus and leading a normal healthy life, but look at all the stuff you’d miss out on:

  • It’s a good source of chromium, a mineral that enhances the activity of insulin and allows blood sugar to be cleared from your bloodstream a little better. If you’ve been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes, try incorporating more asparagus and broccoli into your diet as these are both rich in chromium.

  • It’s loaded with glutathione, an antioxidant that breaks down and removes cancer-causing substances found in the body. Steaming and microwaving asparagus can actually increase the total antioxidant activity in asparagus compared to boiling it, which significantly reduces its antioxidant activity.

  • It’s rich in folate, a B-vitamin that helps prevent anemia, aids in the healthy development of the fetus in utero and prevents birth defects, and works with Vitamin B12 to lower homocysteine levels which are indicators for heart disease.

Ready to give it another try? Try it in this recipe…

Creamy Polenta with Spring Veggies & A Poached Egg

It’s starting to feel like Spring in Charleston so I’m celebrating with all the spring veggies. Use what you like but don’t change the asparagus – it’s too good to leave out. And while this egg was poached, you could pan fry it, scramble it, or boil it instead. Enjoy!

Serves 2
Total Cook Time: 30 minutes

For step-by-step cooking video:

What You Need

1 bunch radishes
1 leek stalk
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP dijon mustard
1 cup polenta or grits
4 cups veggie or chicken stock
1/2 TBS butter
1/4 cup milk/non-dairy milk
1 bunch asparagus
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 eggs
salt and pepper

What To Do

1. Preheat oven to 425. Chop radishes in quarters and slice leeks. Place sliced leeks in large bowl of water and separate rings to clean thoroughly (dirt will fall to bottom). Toss veggies with olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper, and roast for 15-20 minutes.

2. Bring stock to a boil, pour in polenta and cook for about 10 minutes. Stir polenta periodically while cooking to prevent lumps. Add butter when done.

3. Slice asparagus into 1-inch spears and saute with peas in a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper just until slightly soft on the outside.

4. Bring small pot of water to a simmer and crack egg into small bowl. Spin a fork around in the water to create a vortex which will keep egg together while cooking. Once vortex is created, gently slide egg into water. Continue swirling water if necessary and cook for 4 minutes.

5. Ladle polenta in bowl and top with veggies and egg. Enjoy!

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