I am as guilty as the next person when it comes to hawking fall in the form of food. Sweet potatoes! Pumpkin! Brussels Sprouts! These are definitely up there as my favorite. However, fall also has other treasures that don’t often hold the limelight. I can’t really recall the last time I heard someone saying, “I just LOVE rutabagas.” And yet, I might be the one that says that. Rutabagas and parsnips have very unique flavor identities that are great by themselves or tossed with other vegetables. You can use rutabagas and parsnips like you would any other root vegetable: roasted, pureed, or mashed.
There is also another factor at play in this dish: I love polenta. It’s such a great comfort food with flavor all to its’ own. I could whip up a batch of polenta, mix a bit of blue cheese with it and be satisfied to call that a comfort meal. Plus, leftover polenta changes the game since you can grill and roast it.
As mentioned in the notes, I followed The Kitchn’s recipe for making polenta. The main difference from how I normally make polenta is the cook time. My suggestion is to taste and decide the best cooking time for you.
(addition: A couple people have mentioned not liking this combo of root veg and blue cheese. Normally I would rework the recipe, but I really love the combo. I suggest reading through the comments before making and determine what is the flavors for you.)
Creamy Polenta with Roasted Root Vegetables
While I love blue cheese, I understand that it's not for everyone. If you don't like blue cheese, try some shredded havarti or just leave the cheese off.
- 1 parsnip
- 1 rutabaga
- 1-2 red beets
- 1tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup polenta
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 ounce blue cheese (see note)
- 2-3 tablespoons toasted pecan pieces
- Preheat oven to 425˚. Peel and cut the parsnip and rutabaga into 1/4" cubes. Toss with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and spread out into a thin layer in a roasting pan. Then take the beet, peel and cut into 1/4" cubes. Toss with remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and spread out into a thin layer next to the parsnips or in a separate roasting pan. If you aren't worried about all pink veggies, toss the beets, rutabaga, and parsnips together at once. Roast for 20-25 minutes until all vegetables are tender.
- While vegetables roast, bring the 4 cups water to a boil with the 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. In a steady stream, pour the polenta in the water while whisking. Continue to whisk the polenta until thick.
- Once thick, let the polenta cook for 25 minutes*, stirring every five minutes to ensure polenta isn't stuck to the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and stir in butter and parsley.
- Once polenta and vegetables are done, turn on the broiler and divide polenta into two large oven-safe bowls and top with roasted vegetables. Sprinkle with blue cheese and place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, checking every 15 seconds or so, until cheese is melted and lightly browning. Remove from the broiler and serve with a sprinkle of pecans.
by Erin Alderson
* A few commenters mentioned the blue cheese combo didn't work for them. If you're concerned, proceed without the cheese.