It doesn’t have to take long to make delicious food and this dish is just that! This fast recipe comes together in under 30 minutes and pairs seasonal crispy asparagus with creamy polenta, protein-packed white beans, spicy kale and baby bella mushrooms for a gorgeous plate of seasonal comfort food.
Asparagus is in season and my bunch from our Siena Farms CSA made this meal extra fresh. Cornmeal sourced from Elmemdorf Baking Supply in Cambridge, MA.
Serves 4 | Vegetarian, Vegan Adaptable, Gluten-free | Less than 30 minutes
- For the polenta
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 4 1/2 cups water
- 1 tbsp butter (or sub vegan)
- 1 tsp salt
- Black pepper
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (omit if vegan or sub vegan cheese)
- For the asparagus
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- For the White Beans
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 tbsp butter (or sub vegan)
- 8 oz baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp thyme
- 1/2 cup cooking sherry or white wine
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1/2 bunch of kale, chopped
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 15.5 oz can northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tsp water
- Optional toppings
- Squeeze of lemon
Cook’s note – I cook the polenta, roast the asparagus and cook the bean mixture at the same time. Multi-tasking helps make this meal fast, but if it seems like too much, simply make each component separately. To use my version, get the polenta on the stove and prep the asparagus while the polenta boils. When polenta is simmering, start sautéing your onion and mushrooms. The polenta should be just about done and the asparagus ready to flip when you add the kale. Add the Parmesan to the polenta and set aside. Asparagus and white beans should be done just about the same time!
For the polenta- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Combine 1 cup of cornmeal with the water, butter, and salt in a large pot over high heat. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes or until slightly thickened, then stir in Parmesan and set aside, keeping it warm (note – when polenta cools, it hardens and takes the shape of the dish it’s in. It is still delicious, but I find the warm, creamy version better for this recipe)
For the asparagus- Spread your asparagus on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and a few cracks of black pepper. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until browned and crispy.
For the white beans – Heat 1/2 tbsp butter over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add the onion, mushrooms, salt, a few cracks of black pepper and the thyme. Cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the sherry, kale, garlic and red pepper flakes and immediately cover for 3 minutes. Remove the cover and stir in the beans and cornstarch. Cook until a bit thickened then turn off the heat.
Place a scoop of polenta on a plate. Top with asparagus on one side of the polenta and the white beans on the other. Sprinkle with thyme and a squeeze of lemon juice.