Charred Vegetables over Parmesan Polenta with Parsley-Pistachio Pesto

I love lightly charred oven roasted vegetables in the winter time. They are so easy to do and are such a satisfying way to eat more vegetables. Plus the roasting really intensifies their flavor!  Serving them on a bed of creamy, cheesy polenta makes the dish all that more warming and comforting on a cold winter’s day. The parsley-pistachio pesto adds a refreshing texture and the creamy tahini-yogurt dressing adds a cooling appeal. All in all this is my kind of meal!!

First decide what vegetables you want to roast. You can choose just one type or do a mixture like I did here.

I chose;  carrots (save the tops), yams, butternut squash, red onions, brussel sprouts, baby yukon potatoes, and shallots.

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Cut them up into pieces of a variety of shapes and sizes. I like to cut the carrots lengthwise, as well as the shallots to give some long thin shapes to my platter.  Place the cut vegetables on non stick cookie sheets and drizzle with olive oil & a little honey and then add salt & fresh ground pepper.  Set aside while you make the pesto.

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For the Parsley-Pistachio-Carrot Top Pesto:

  • 1/3 cup fresh Italian parsley (finely minced)
  • 1/4 cup carrot tops (chopped finely)
  • 1/4 cup pistachios (toasted & chopped)
  • 2 TB. Sesame seeds (toasted)
  • 1 garlic clove (peeled & minced)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Lemon juice & zest
  • Salt & fresh ground pepper

* Mince the greens, garlic & nuts by hand or put into a food processor and pulse quickly to keep it coarse. Put into a small bowl and add the oil, lemon and sesame seeds & seasoning.  Set aside and make the Yogurt-Tahini Dressing.

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For the Tahini Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of tahini
  • 1 TB. of honey
  • salt to taste
  • (add a few TB. of milk of it needs thinning out (it should be able to pour)
  • * In a small bowl blend these ingredients together well until smooth and creamy and and set aside

Now place your cookie sheets of cut vegetables in a hot 425 degree oven.  They should roast for 15 – 20 minutes until fork tender and lightly charred at the ends. (You may need to switch racks halfway through, or take out some vegetables sooner than others if they are browning too much).

For the Polenta:

  • 2 cups of vegetable broth (or water)
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of polenta
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup of grated parmesan ( like freshly grated Parmiggiano Reggiano)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 TB. of butter or olive oil (optional)
  • Bring the liquids to a simmer and slowly add the cup of polenta stirring as you do.  Stir for 5 – 8 minutes until thick and creramy.  Spread on your platter with a spatula making a bed for the roasted vegetables.

Now arrange the roasted vegetables on top of the polenta. When you have a nice arrangement, spoon some of the pesto on top, and then dribble the tahini sauce over that.

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Now serve warm and pass the extra pesto and tahini sauce. This dish goes great alongside any meat dish and will make even non vegetable lovers enjoy them!




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