Summer Succotash over Grilled Jalapeno Polenta
A quick and easy summer succotash made from corn, fava beans, red pepper and zucchini. Served atop crisp, grilled jalapeno polenta squares with a fresh tomato puree. The perfect vegetarian meal for summer entertaining! Vegan & Gluten Free.
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We're in full-on summer mode over here: the garden is brimming with veggies, the patio furniture is out, and we've been enjoying plenty of outdoor meals with family and friends. Dinners recently have been all about advanced prep and limited on-the-spot 'kitchen action' – because when everyone is chilling on our patio, the last place I want to be is cooking indoors.
At the same time, cooking for others comes with slightly added pressure now. The food blog is no secret amongst our friends and I definitely don’t want to let people down. The challenge is to constantly come up with new, impressive meals that can satisfy our not-so-vegetarian friends and family… all while making it as easy as possible for the cook (ahem, me). The last situation I want on my hands is four kitchen burners going and me sweating up a storm, while trying to play hostess at the same time. Nope, not gonna happen.
This summer succotash and grilled jalapeno polenta is exactly the type of recipe I want when entertaining. It features an abundance of summer veggies in a bright succotash made from corn, fava beans, red peppers and zucchini. And since many of our friends are skeptical of "sad vegan salads", the succotash is piled atop grilled jalapeno polenta. The polenta adds more heft to the meal, and the grilling it incorporates that barbecue magic we all crave in the summer months (without the meat or the stereotypical veggie burger). I also like to serve this dish with a quick and easy tomato sauce, because it adds a great touch of acid to brighten the whole plate up. Plus who ever said no to a great sauce?! It's like a grown up version of ketchup, but so much better.
Besides tasting delicious, this dish is extremely practical when it comes to entertaining. Although there are three components, almost everything can be prepared in advance. The polenta and tomato sauce can be made a day or two before – so that all you need to do on the day of is reheat them. The succotash is simple enough to cook on the spot. I recommend prepping and cutting all the veggies beforehand, so that it takes you less than 15 minutes to sauté everything before serving. Honestly, how much easier does it get?
There are two steps to making grilled polenta. First, you'll need to cook the polenta on the stovetop. And then, once cooked, you'll transfer the thickened polenta into a baking pan to cool. The second step is slicing up the polenta, giving it a quick brush of oil on both sides, and then throwing it on the grill for a quick char. If you don't feel like using the barbeque or a grill pan, you could use a cast iron skillet instead. Polenta keeps quite well in the fridge, up to 3-4 days. So, it's totally legit to make your polenta in advance and let it chill out in the fridge until you need it. Then just grill it up to serve.
And while this recipe makes for a great dish to serve a crowd, it's also a yummy dinner that keeps on giving throughout the week. There's been more than one occasion when we packed up the extras and gobbled them down for lunch the next day. So good!