the taste space

Thyme Lentils over Polenta

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on January 7, 2011

I was apprehensive about making this recipe on a weeknight. However, when I told Rob about my top three options for dinner, he encouraged me to try the Rosemary Lentils over Polenta from Supermarket Vegan.

You see, I have made polenta before – a creamy, smooth, polenta with a roasted red pepper coulis – and it was delicious. However, it took me (well, technically, my brother who was over that day) 45 minutes to get the polenta to the right consistency. I didn’t really feel like stirring polenta over the stovetop after I came home from work. But I decided to forge ahead anyhow…

Low and behold, instead of grabbing the coarse cornmeal, I took out the fine cornmeal.  And if there ever was instant polenta, this would be it! Within minutes, it had firmed up and was ready to set. Granted, this polenta was not nearly as creamy as last time (that recipe had used milk and a smidgen of cheese, but I am sure the coarse cornmeal had something to do with it). But in this case, I didn’t really mind. The firm, garlicky polenta contrasted nicely with the soupy herb-infused lentils. Just like the texture contrast in the Spanish Lentil and Mushroom Stew, the play of textures worked very well together. It wasn’t mush on mush, it was soup on firm. ;)

However, there was one casualty when I cooked mid-week. I thought I was making Rosemary Lentils. A few days later, I realized I had made Thyme Lentils, instead, as I grabbed the wrong herb and my brain didn’t say ‘stop! this isn’t rosemary!’. This also might explain why the flavour was a lot more subtle than I had anticipated. However, it was exactly what I wanted. This was not a flavour explosion; sometimes I need the quiet, too.

This meal is great post-holiday indulgences. The lentils are light and fresh and the polenta is hearty and offers a nice balance.  The leftovers were great with a little zap in the microwave, although the lentil stew was less soupy.


This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything and Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck.

Rosemary Thyme Lentils over Polenta

1.5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped onion
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
4 cups vegetable broth, divided
3 cups water, divided
1 cup dried lentils (green or brown)
1 tbsp fresh rosemary thyme or 1 tsp dried
1/4 tsp salt
1 large bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (omitted)
1 cup polenta (cornmeal)

1. In a medium deep-sided nonstick skillet with a lid, heat 1 tbsp of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until softened, about 3 minutes, Add half the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.

2. Add 2 cups of the broth, 2 cups of the water, lentils, rosemary, 1/4 tsp salt, pepper to taste and bay leaf; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 40 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Uncover and increase the heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is reduced and slightly soupy, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in the parsley (if using) and remove from heat. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Cover and keep warm (mixture will thicken as it cools).

3. Meanwhile, lightly oil an 8-inch square baking dish and set aside (I used a non-stick pan and it didn’t need any oil). Bring the remaining 2 cups broth, 1 cup water, remaining 1/2 tbsp oil, remaining garlic, salt and pepper to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, slowly add in polenta. Immediately reduce the heat to medium; cook, stirring often with a long handled wooden spoon, 15 minutes (or less than 5 minutes if using instant polenta). Immediately spoon the polenta into the prepared baking dish, pressing down with the back of a large spoon to form a smooth surface. Let stand 15 minutes to become firm.

4. To serve, cut the polenta into desired number of squares and transfer to individual serving plates. Spoon equal amounts of the lentil mixture over the polenta and serve at once.

Serves 4.

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15 Responses

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  1. Priya sreeram said, on January 7, 2011 at 7:40 AM

    good one ! loved the writeup !!

  2. Rob said, on January 7, 2011 at 8:13 AM

    Post holiday indulgences? Ah yes, you speak of the Attack of the Cookies. It’s still ongoing, actually. I’m still working on that box your parents gave me :)

    I’m happy your polenta and lentil still turned out well, though :)

  3. Priya said, on January 7, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    Nutritious dish, looks fabulous..

  4. […] what I cook, mainly vegan, with occasional animal products for treats.  I love the look of these Thyme Lentils Over Polenta, as ever beautifully photographed, with talent and skills that I do not […]

  5. Simona said, on January 10, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    I like lentils a lot and the combination with polenta is quite comforting.

  6. The Wind Attack said, on January 11, 2011 at 5:58 PM

    Simple, beautiful, healthy, tasty. Love it!

  7. […] Thyme Lentils over Polenta The Taste Space […]

  8. melly said, on January 30, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    Top shot is gorgeous!

  9. Katie said, on February 7, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    Loved this recipe! I was so excited to try it and I’m so glad I did. =)

  10. Ashley said, on March 16, 2011 at 12:32 AM

    I prefer thyme to rosemary anyway, so your brain did a good thing! How did you get such amazing light for a dinner shot in January?? The photos look great.

    • Saveur said, on March 18, 2011 at 9:47 PM

      A tripod helps a lot! If I get home before sunset, even when it is nearly dark, with a tripod I can snap a photo with a long shutter speed…. and sometimes it works. :)

  11. Katherine Natalia @ Green Thickies said, on February 21, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    This looks like a great healthy weekday meal.
    Thank you for sharing this with Healthy Vegan Fridays. Check back on Friday to see if you were one of the Top 3! We hope to see you again this week. You can submit a post from Friday to end of Tuesday:

    http://www.greenthickies.com/healthy-vegan-friday

  12. Lauren said, on March 8, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    This looks delicious Janet! I’m a huge fan of both lentils and polenta, as they are both foods that agree with my body well. Thanks for sharing! x

  13. karmalife2 said, on March 18, 2014 at 4:17 PM

    I made these last week and am making them again tonight. I cannot believe how delicious lentils can be in such a simple preparation! I soak mine during the day to make them easier to digest (plus they cook more quickly). Thanks so much for the recipe!

  14. Katie (The Muffin Myth) said, on September 28, 2014 at 6:12 AM

    Oooooh, that looks like a bowl of comfort! What a satisfying meal, and so easy and nutritious. Perfect for the changing seasons too. I’ll definitely be making this sometime soon, thanks for a great recipe.


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