Flavorful Fall Side Dish: Cheesy Pumpkin Polenta Recipe with Spinach, Pecan and Craisin Topping

November 16, 2009 in Gluten Free, Healthy Fare, Side Dishes, Vegetarian Entrees

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Pumpkin Polenta with Spinach, Pecan and Craisin Topping

Pumpkin Polenta with Spinach, Pecan and Craisin Topping

There is something so comforting about polenta – smooth, soft and creamy. I decided to make a polenta that just screams “FALL FLAVOR!” and so adding pumpkin to the polenta seemed like a natural. It turned out great – with a fall-flavors topping of spinach, pecans and craisins.

Polenta is a great item so handy to have on hand. Lydia of  The Perfect Pantry recommends storing polenta in the fridge to keep its freshness. Polenta can be used in endless recipe creations, including her Polenta Squash and Cheese loaf.

This is a fun festive Thanksgiving side recipe – more flavorful than mashed potatoes, but still comfort-y and so, so easy on that busy day!

PUMPKIN POLENTA with SPINACH, PECAN AND CRAISIN TOPPING

4 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 cups polenta (coarsely ground cornmeal)
1 can (16 ounces) pumpkin (or 1 1/2 cups fresh mashed pumpkin)
1 cup hard flavorful cheese (like Parmesan, Asiago or Gruyere), grated
1 tablespoon butter
1 bunch spinach leaves, about 4 cups chopped
4 ounces pecans, diced
1 cup Craisins (sweetened dried cranberries)
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring the broth, paprika and polenta to a simmer and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently until smooth and thick.

Turn off heat and stir in pumpkin and cheese, adding salt and pepper to taste.

In a small skillet, saute spinach in butter over medium high heat until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in pecans and craisins, season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Serve by spreading polenta on a serving plate and sprinkle polenta with spinach topping.

Other intriguing polenta adventures by food bloggers:
Polenta without Fear
, Mark Bittman’s Bitten Bites
Polenta Fries, 101 Cookbooks
Polenta Casserole, Simply Recipes
Polenta with Broccoli Rabe, Serious Eats
Polenta with Chorizo, Yum Sugar

– posted by Donna

Thanks for sharing!