Soft Polenta With Roasted Smoky Chickpeas, Grape Tomatoes, Chard and Creamy Basil Sauce

Serves 4.

Note: From “Great Bowls of Food,” by Robin Asbell.

• 1 1/2 c. medium-grind cornmeal

• 1 tsp. salt, divided

• 3 c. water

• 1 c. milk

• 1 tbsp. butter

• 1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese

• 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

• 1 1/2 c. cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained

• 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

• 1 c. fresh basil

• 1 garlic clove

• 2 oz. chèvre (goat cheese)

• 1/2 c. plain yogurt (not Greek)

• 1 large bunch chard, washed, stemmed and dried

• 1 c. grape tomatoes, halved


In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the cornmeal and 1/2 teaspoon salt, then gradually whisk in the water and milk. Over medium heat, whisk while it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to keep it just bubbling, and scrape the bottom of the pan as you stir every 5 minutes for about 20 to 30 minutes. When it reaches the desired thickness, stir in butter and Parmesan. Keep warm.

In large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add drained chickpeas and shake in the pan, rolling them around until they start to pop and crackle. Cook for about 5 minutes until slightly browned. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and 1/4 teaspoon salt, then transfer to a bowl.

In a food processor, mince the basil and garlic. Add the chèvre and yogurt and 1 tablespoon olive oil, and process until smooth.

In large sauté pan, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and sauté chard until wilted and dark green. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Prepare 4 bowls, with layer of polenta on bottom, topped with chard and chickpeas, and then grape tomatoes. Drizzle 3 tablespoons basil sauce per bowl.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 540 Fat 24 g Sodium 1,070 mg Saturated fat 9 g

Carbohydrates 62 g Total sugars 11 g

Protein 22 g Cholesterol 30 mg Dietary fiber 10 g

Exchanges per serving: 3 starch, 1 carb, 2 medium-fat protein, 3 fat.