Italian White Bean Stew and Polenta

I looked in the fridge to find the following veggies screaming at me to be eaten:  yellow squash, spinach, and yellow onion.  At first I thought maybe it would be good over some pasta, but we had just eaten pasta a few days earlier, and I was “pasta-ed out.”  Instead, I whipped up this super easy, super low-cal, and chock full of veggies stew and served it over polenta.  Honestly, I can’t believe I haven’t done something like this before because it was so easy and so good for me.  One serving has about 250 calories, but with all the vegetables and fiber, it is extremely filling.  I’ve been eating it for lunch all week, and the leftovers have not dissapointed.

Italian White Bean Stew  (Makes 4 servings)

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 15 oz. can Italian diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed (cannelini or great northern work)
  • 1 yellow squash, diced
  • 1 bag of baby spinach (about 10 oz.)

Saute garlic and yellow onion in a small amount of olive oil until onions are translucent.  Add squash and continue to cook until squash is almost tender.  Add the can of tomatoes and drained and rinsed beans, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until a lot of the liquid is reduced.  Meanwhile, cook the polenta (see below).  When the vegetables have cooked down, add the spinach and wilt.  Serve over polenta.

Polenta

  • 1 c polenta (also called grits, I bought mine in the bulk food section at Whole Foods)
  • 4 c water or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c Parmesan cheese

Bring the water or broth to a boil.  Slowly stir in the polenta, and reduce heat to simmer.  Continually stir the polenta to avoid clumping.  Cook for about 20 minutes until polenta is smooth.  At the end, add Parmesan cheese, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

For a more labor-intensive, but delicious polenta result, pour polenta into an 8×8 baking pan lined with plastic wrap.  Cool in refrigerator.  When you’re ready to use it, cut into squares and fry or grill polenta until the outside is crispy.

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