Some of my favorite kitchen experiments happen when we’re feeling the rush of a hunger pang – dinner now! What’s quick? I run through the pantry items in my head, taking the fresh, but should-be-used produce into account, and try to remember the recipes I had in mind while I was shopping. Our kitchen tends to lack logic – why have recipes in mind when shopping, but not make them? I know. But keep reading, it all works out. We’re good!
Last night’s under pressure! (read: under pressha!) creation became a mix of what we had on hand for protein, and the frozen chopped spinach & polenta’s originally fate (stuffing for bell peppers). And alas, the kitchen delivered:
Vegetable Polenta Hash + Falafel
1 1/2 – 2 cups cooked polenta*
1 roasted red pepper, sliced
3/4 cup frozen spinach
1/4 cup water
1 tsp olive oil
*Yup, the stuff in that tube.
**See photos below. Once I master the homemade edition, I’ll let you know. For now, these work just fine.
Heat olive oil over medium in a saucepan. Chop polenta into small pieces; add to oil with roasted red pepper slices. Stir frequently. Add water 1 tbsp at a time, until it becomes a smooth mixture (you will have to “smash” the polenta a little bit). Add frozen spinach and black pepper, continue to stir frequently to prevent burning or sticking. Total cook time, ~8-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a deep sauté pan, pour in ~1/2 inch oil – yup, we’re frying these guys! Trust me on this one – falafel does not react well to baking. Heat oil over medium for 2-3 minutes; toss in falafel balls and fry for ~2 minutes on each side.
I’m not usually one to fall for a pre-made, packaged product of something I could presumably make at home (key word: presumably. These little guys haven’t yet been mastered). But, then I looked at that ingredient list – ALL things I could have in my pantry? Done. Come home, have dinner with me!
Once the falafel goodness is done, dish out your hash and plop them on top!
This dinner took 20 minutes, at the most, and was not only satisfying but also met all taste bud expectations. It’s colorful (i.e. full of veggies), simple and balanced with carbs, protein + healthy fat. Win!
Any successful dinner creations you’ve made on the fly lately?