February 20, 2014

Polenta with Roasted Broccoli & Coconut Bacon

Have you tried coconut bacon? Cause you should. No, I won't try to convince you that it's exactly like bacon, but whether you eat meat or not, I think you'll love it. We've been putting it on lots of things, but I think this is my new favorite way to use it (aside from eating it by itself!). My second favorite thing to put it on is potato soup.
Tuesday was National Wine Day. Did you know? So of course we had to celebrate. :-)
This meal came together in about 40 minutes, most of which was time spent letting the polenta cook & the broccoli roast. A perfect weeknight meal for a winter night, it was warming & comforting. We paired it with a green salad to add some extra veggies.
I hope you try it! We'll definitely be having it again soon.
Polenta with Roasted Broccoli & Coconut Bacon
Serves 4-6
6 c water
1½ c polenta
1½ tsp sea salt (divided)
3 small heads of broccoli
2 c large unsweetened flaked coconut (I used this: Bob's Red Mill Flaked Coconut Unsweetened)
1½ T Braggs liquid aminos (or soy sauce, coconut aminos, or tamari)
1 T honey (or maple syrup to make this vegan)
½ T liquid smoke
½ tsp smoked paprika
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray and set aside.
Bring 6 cups of water and 1 teaspoon sea salt to a boil in a large pot on the stovetop. Make sure the pot is deep enough that when you cook the polenta, it doesn't bubble over.
While the water is coming to a boil, chop the broccoli stems & florets into small pieces. Spread pieces onto one of the prepared baking sheets, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, and   place in hot oven to roast.
Once the water comes to a boil, add the polenta slowly, stirring to combine it with the water. It should get thick pretty quickly, at which point you can let it cook, just stirring it periodically to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Keep the heat at about medium to allow it to simmer for 30 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine the Braggs liquid aminos, honey, liquid smoke, and smoked paprika. Add the coconut flakes to the mixture and stir to coat. Spread coconut evenly on the remaining prepared baking sheet. Place in oven with the broccoli and bake for 5 minutes. Stir, return to oven, and bake another 5 minutes before stirring again. (Don't forget to stir the polenta once in awhile!)
The second time you take out the coconut to stir it, also stir the broccoli to promote even roasting. Return both the coconut and broccoli to the oven. Set a timer for the broccoli for 10 minutes, at which point it should be done. Watch the coconut closely, checking it every 2-3 minutes, until it is browned & feels slightly crispy. Once the coconut is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool, at which time it will continue to crisp to a nice crunchy texture.
Once the polenta and broccoli are also done, put a few spoonfuls of polenta on a plate. Top with roasted broccoli and a handful of coconut bacon. Enjoy!
NOTE: Coconut bacon can be made in advance. Store it in a sealed container so that it stays crunchy.
Coconut bacon recipe adapted from Eating Bird Food


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