The Clean Plates Cookbook by Jared Koch (Running Press, 2013) spells out exactly what “clean eating” means and why it matters. The book introduces the idea of eating as a bio-individual—that there is more than one right way to eat and that each person should find the “diet” that’s right for their personal needs—and includes recipes contributed from “healthy” chefs, covering everything from breakfast and beverages to entrees and sides. This recipe for Roasted Eggplant and Peppers with Paremsan Polenta comes from chapter 9: The Recipes.
Polenta is a nice change of pace from other starches, such as grains, pasta, or rice, and here it’s topped with a colorful and tasty mix of roasted vegetables plus whole cloves of roasted garlic. Serve with a simple spinach salad or cooked Italian sausages.
Servings: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
• 1 medium-size red onion
• 3 medium-size bell peppers (red, yellow, green, or a combination), cored and cut into 1/2-inch strips
• 24 garlic cloves
• 3 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• 3 medium-size Asian-style eggplants (about 12 ounces), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
• About 4 cups organic reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
• 1 1/3 cups organic polenta
• 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
• Freshly ground black pepper to taste
• Fine sea salt to taste
• 2 medium-size tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, oregano, or a combination
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Arrange a rack in the upper half of the oven and another in the lower half.
2. Keeping the root end intact, cut the onion into twelve wedges (so that each wedge has a bit of root holding it together). In a large bowl, combine the onion, bell peppers, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Divide the mixture between two large, rimmed baking sheets, spreading it out in an even layer. Roast for 15 minutes.
3. In the same large bowl, toss the eggplant with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Divide the eggplant between the baking sheets, toss the vegetables, and switch the position of the sheets. Roast until the vegetables are tender and browned at edges, about 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan or small stockpot over high heat, bring 4 cups of stock to a boil. Gradually add the polenta, whisking constantly. Return to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook, stirring frequently. Add more stock a few tablespoons at a time if the polenta is too thick and cook until the polenta is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 3/4 cup of the cheese and salt and black pepper to taste.
5. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and divide the tomatoes between them, tossing to combine. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
6. Arrange the polenta in bowls and top with the roasted vegetables. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese and the herbs and serve hot.
You can find polenta at most major supermarkets, often in the same section as the cornmeal. For this recipe, avoid the precooked polenta that comes in a large tube, usually found in the prepared foods section.
To make this recipe vegan and dairy-free, omit the cheese.
Recipe reprinted with permission from THE CLEAN PLATES COOKBOOK © 2012 by Jared Koch with Jill Silverman Hough, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.
Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!LEARN MORE