Vegan Polenta with Bacon, Garlic Pepper Havarti and Tomato Jam

Ingredients:
½ cup ground polenta
3 cups vegetable stock (or water in a pinch)
¼ lbs Herbivorous Butcher Bacon, sliced into strips
1 cup Herbivorous Butcher Garlic Pepper Havarti, cubed
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup onion, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons water
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon diced red chili or 1 teaspoon dried chili flake (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Directions:
In a medium sauce pan over medium high heat, bring vegetable stock (or water) to a simmer. Add in polenta and stir. Lower the heat to medium and allow mixture to cook at a light simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the polenta is smooth and creamy.

Add the olive oil to a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until they start to turn translucent. Add in the tomatoes and cook until they start to blister and break down, roughly 3-5 minutes.

Add 2 tablespoons of water and tomato paste to the tomato and onion mixture. Cook until the water fully reduces and the tomato paste coats the vegetables, about 1-2 minutes.

Add in chilies (or chili flakes) and the balsamic vinegar. Cook until the vinegar completely reduces and remove from heat, approximately 2-3 minutes.

Once the polenta is fully cooked, add the Bacon strips and cubed Garlic Pepper Havarti and stir until the cheese is fully melted into the polenta and the bacon is just cooked through, about 1-2 minutes.

To serve, spoon the polenta into a bowl and top with the tomato jam. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and enjoy!

Keane Amdahl writes for Thrillist (click here to read his article about us!), and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram. Below, he shares some thoughts with us on being an omnivore interested in the meatless meat world. Photos are taken by Keane.

Diversity in diet is one of the best things that we can do not only for ourselves, but also the environment. As factory farms continuously pump out chicken, beef, and pork to keep up with our ever increasing appetite for meat, they also kick out all kinds of greenhouse emissions which greatly contribute to climate change. By switching things up, even just a little bit, we can directly impact our overall quality of life in some seriously great ways.

The question then is, what can be done about it? How can we resolve giving up or cutting back on the things that have had such a big impact on our lives? How we can we diversify the foods we eat in a way that doesn’t sacrifice the things we love? Can we work alternative proteins into our diets in a way that let us all hold onto our past?

Of course we can!

In the past, faux meat-like products haven’t really helped to stave off the cravings for the real thing, and eating a plate of just veggies can you leave you feeling a little lackluster, but these days there really are a lot of great options out there.

We need to consider reshaping our paradigm when it comes to how we view alternative proteins. Really, when it comes down to it, they’re just ingredients like anything else. Once you learn the flavor profiles of the ingredients it becomes much easier to use them in more imaginative and flavorful ways that won’t have you missing on the meats and if you can at least make the switch every once in a while, you’ll be doing yourself all kinds of favors.

This recipe lies somewhere in the world between fresh Italian cuisine and southern home-style cooking. The flavors are big, bright, and rich which all help to develop that satisfying feeling in your stomach while letting go of the meat. There will be a few nay-sayers out there who won’t believe me at first, but trust me, this recipe is like a super fulfilling southern style ham and grits.

The Dill Havarti brings a creamy richness to the dish along with some great flavor and the tomato jam helps to cut through some of that elevating the dish and transforming it into something truly special. I promise, once you give it a try, you’ll immediately start to rethink your fear of alt-meat and if you’re someone who’s already made the transition, it’s just one more recipe to toss in with your bag of tricks!

1 comment

By Shirl Lundstrom, on

So delicious looking! Gotta try this. I am easing my husband and I into the plant based life diet. Recipes like this make it easier; thanks!

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