Archive for June, 2007

Sicilian-Style Greens over Lentils and Polenta

Most of this recipe appeared in the May 2006 issue of Cooking Light, however, I’ve made some modifications. The biggest change is the addition of lentils because I wanted more protein in the meal. Also, the original recipe called for Belgian endive, kale, and turnip greens. I used kale, but I used two types of Asian greens for the others, tatsoi, and another the woman at the farmer’s market could remember the long name of, but it looked like it was in the chard family. What’s important is to have different kinds of greens so that you get slightly different flavors and textures in every bite.

Other than that, I’ve halved the recipe and rearranged the cooking order.

This recipe takes a while, but it’s well worth it. However, because it is so labor intensive, you might want to double it back to its original size so that you get more bites for effort. I like this recipe because there are so many different textures and flavors in it, greens are very good for you, and it’s surprisingly filling.

greens and polenta

Servings: 2-3

Cooking time: 1 hr 30 min


  • 1/4 cup dry lentils
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, divided
  • 6 cups greens (about 6 oz), preferably two cups each of three different kinds (see note above)
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins (I could only find sultana, which worked ok)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used 1%, original recipe says fat-free, but that’s because it’s Cooking Light)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated “Parmesan cheese” (any hard salty cheese will due)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/8 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp pine nuts
  1. Grate the cheese and thinly slice the garlic. In a small skillet (or, to reduce the number of pans you need to wash, in a larger one in which you will later cook the greens), heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook it until golden, stirring frequently. Add in the breadcrumbs and stir frequently until golden. Remove mixture from the stove and empty into a small bowl. Stir in half the cheese and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the lentils, onion powder and 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes, or until soft. (Best to use a back burner on the lentils since you pretty much don’t mess with them after this.) Turn off the heat if they finish before everything else.
  3. Wash the greens thoroughly. Chop or tear them into smallish pieces. If you have any particularly thick stalks, (over 3/8 inch), remove them. If your greens cook at different rates, make sure to keep them separate.
  4. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the greens, one type at a time depending on how long they take to cook. (For instance, I added the kale first, the chard-looking one a minute later, and the tatsoi a minute after that.) After greens have started to wilt well, stir in the raisins and salt. Reduce the heat to low and cover for about six minutes, or until the stalks are tender. If the greens finish cooking before the polenta is done (likely), remove them from the heat and keep them partially covered.
  5. In a medium saucepan (2 qts), heat the cornmeal and 1/8 tsp red pepper over medium heat. Slowly whisk in broth and milk. Bring mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce heat. Simmer for about ten minutes until very thick, stirring frequently. Turn off heat and stir in cheese. During a break from stirring, toast the pine nuts.
  6. Layer as follows: polenta, lentils, greens, breadcrumbs, pine nuts. Dig in!

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