Sometimes cold weather calls for a comforting chili and other times it’s hearty winter vegetables paired with nutrient dense grains and proteins that will brighten up the long dark days. I’m thankful for the short cut I discovered with homemade polenta so that this roasted vegetable polenta and sea bass is ready in 30 minutes!
I don’t remember when I fell in love with polenta, but it was definitely at a restaurant and not from one of the tubes at the grocery store. Nothing against the pre-cooked tubes either, I’ve made some pretty good polenta fries with those, but the texture of a good homemade polenta is just way more cravable.
For awhile, I was super snobby about the cornmeal I’d use to make my polenta. I get it from Eataly in New York City from a vendor that grows their corn and mills it in Hudson Valley. I’m still a huge fan of the Wild Hive Farm stone ground fine cornmeal and actually enjoy the time I spend preparing it. Except now I am a mom and barely ever prioritize 30 minutes to stand over the stove stirring polenta.
So, the last time I wanted polenta, and was out of my Wild Hive Farm cornmeal (cause I am now a Mom and never make it to Eataly anymore), I headed to our basic local grocery store searching for something similar. I didn’t find local stoneground cornmeal, but I did find a quick cook 3 minute polenta and I’m still excited to know that it exists! I’m sure I am late to the game on this, but if you were in my shoes, you’re welcome.
Now I’m happy to say it’s as easy as boiling the best vegetable broth with some olive oil or butter, adding the polenta, whisking for 3 minutes and pairing with veggies and a protein. In this case, ridiculously good roasted veggies and a hearty white fish.
Preparing Sea Bass
If you’re looking to reduce your meat consumption, but still feeling the “need” for something similar, sea bass is a great option. It’s light and flaky, but also still has a “meaty” texture. It has a mild flavor, not fishy at all, so it takes on the flavors that you pair it with well.
While I would opt for fresh fish, the reality in PA is most of it has been frozen to be transported to our stores anyway, so I’m really not above buying frozen fish. Especially since I don’t like for fresh fish to sit in my fridge for days and also never feel like cooking after I’ve gone through the effort to grocery shop! If you are eating from frozen, just be sure to thaw in a bowl of cool water vs. in the microwave since I feel the latter does impact texture.
Roasted Vegetable Polenta for Fitness
My formula for building a balanced post workout meal is including a starch, high quality protein, cooked vegetable, and healthy fat. This recipe has it all and in the right portions for muscle repair and replenishing energy. The bright antioxidants also provide a recovery boost – always aim for a variety of colors over the course of the day!
Roasted Vegetable Polenta and Sea Bass
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ pound brussels sprouts, halved
- 3 large carrots, diced
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 4 tbsp herbed olive oil divided
- ¼ lemon, juiced
- ½ tsp salt divided
- 1 pound sea bass or other hearty white fish
- 1 quart low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup quick cook polenta
- ¼ tsp dried sage
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- parsley & chives to garnish
- Heat oven to 450°F
- Add diced vegetables, minced garlic, 2 tbsp of olive oil, lemon juice and ¼ tsp salt into a bowl and mix well. Spread over a baking sheet, with brussels sprouts cut side down, and bake for 10 minutes.
- While vegetables are roasting, drizzle ½ tbsp olive oil onto a baking dish. Place the fish, in four 4 ounce pieces onto the dish. Drizzle remainder of oil over the top of the fish and add crushed black pepper as desired.
- Once vegetables have been in the oven for 10 minutes, remove them to stir and add the fish to the baking sheet. Reduce heat to 425 and bake an additional 10-12 minutes, until fish it cooked through at the thickest part.
- While vegetables and fish are baking, bring the quart of vegetable broth to a boil. Add the cup of polenta as well as the remaining tbsp of olive oil, salt, sage and thyme. Whisk vigorously for 3-4 minutes (or according to package directions).
- Plate ¼ of the polenta onto a dish. Top with ¼ of the vegetables and a piece of the fish. Garnish with parsley and/or chives, as well as more lemon juice and some crushed red pepper if desired.