Sometimes I struggle with quick-and-easy weeknight dinners that are reasonably balanced, but I was very pleased with how this turned out, mostly using things I had on hand. The recipes below will make enough for two servings.
The spice sprinkle on the polenta is something I do variations on now and then. It’s a nice way to add color, flavor and texture (and some beneficial fats), especially when the fresh herbs you might otherwise use for a tasty garnish are harder to come by and pine nuts are running $30 a pound at the co-op. Use any kind of nut or seed you want, pairing its flavor with herbs and spices of your choosing to complement the dish you’re serving it with.
Roasted Broccoli and Chickpeas
Medium head broccoli, cut into florets
1-1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about one can)
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked if not oil-packed, and chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. fresh lemon zest
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
pinch or more red chili flakes
Toss everything together and bake 15-20 minutes at 400, stirring once, until broccoli is crisp-tender and starts to brown on the ends. While this is baking, make the polenta.
1/4 cup dry polenta
1 cup water
1/8 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly once it starts to simmer (I like to use a whisk to minimize lumping). Polenta is done when thick. Pour directly onto serving plates or onto an oiled pan to cool and cut before serving.
2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds, raw or toasted
1/8 tsp. garlic powder or granulated garlic
1/8 tsp. smoked paprika
Pinch dried whole rosemary
Small pinch fennel seeds
A few grinds of fresh black pepper and/or red chili flakes
Pulse everything in a mini food processor (I use the one that came with my immersion blender, similar to this) until coarsely ground. Make in small batches and use quickly so the flavors and beneficial oils stay fresh.