Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Creamy Hummus-Infused BBQ Black Beans with Sweet Potato Polenta

Tonight I went a bit loony while making dinner. You see, dinner prep is a pretty high-stress operation around here, as my husband does not get home until after the kids need to start eating, so I become quite the juggler of pots and pans, babies and bath-time, dropping more balls on some nights than on others.  On this particular evening, the kids wanted to plant a flower they had begged for at the nursery earlier in the day. I thought, "Surely we can dig a hole in the ground, plop a flower in it, and still leave me enough time to make dinner while the baby is napping." Surely. But then the winter covering was still over the spigot, so they had to come inside to fill their watering pots. Then there was a lake in the middle of my hardwood floors. Then the baby woke up after 10 minutes and wouldn't go back to sleep. Maybe if I cried harder than Emie while mopping up the torrent, she would feel bested and relent. No such luck.  After much delirium and prayer, the dinner still gets made every night, but I wonder how it is that I still love to cook. Who knows--maybe the final product wouldn't be so enjoyable if it weren't such a  miracle!

If your situation is anything like mine, then easy meals are much appreciated. Here is a pretty simple week-night meal I came up with when I had left-over creamy cilantro pesto to use up. It got high marks, once certain parties got over their new food phobia.

Sweet Potato Polenta:
2 cups water
1 cup plain non-dairy milk
2 medium sweet potatoes, roasted and skins removed (about 2 cups)*
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
1 cup polenta corn grits (or I have even used plain old cornmeal to make polenta before!)
2 Tbsp. coconut cream (skimmed from the top of an unshaken can of coconut milk)

Creamy Hummus-Infused Black Beans:
1 1/2 cups black beans, drained and rinsed, if canned
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup hummus
1 tsp. dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
2 Tbsp. sunflower seed butter

1. For the polenta, heat the water to boiling in a large cooking pot. Puree the remaining ingredients in a food processor. Once the water is boiling, slowly stir in the sweet potato-polenta mixture. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. If you have trouble getting it really thick after about 15 mins., then turn off the heat and let it cool, and it will thicken right up.

2. For the black beans, combine all of the ingredients in a medium pot and simmer over medium heat for 10-15 mins. until heated through. Serve over polenta, topped with creamy cilantro pesto.

*To roast your sweet potatoes, preheat your oven to 400, line a baking pan with parchment paper, scrub the potatoes, and place them on the pan in the oven for about an hour. The cooked potatoes will be very soft and easily pierced with a fork and have golden juices bubbling from it. Do not try to steam or microwave your potatoes instead; to bring out the best flavor, they must be roasted.

Here is a good distraction tool when you need a few moments to get something done in the kitchen: window crayons!

This recipe is linked to Allergy-Free Wednesday Gluten-Free Wednesday Wellness Weekend Healthy Vegan Fridays.