Spinach Pesto Polenta with Smoky Chickpeas

Hello! You've landed on an older recipe. Sometimes the older recipes aren't written as clearly as they should be or something might need to be clarified. If something seems confusing or a question arises, send me an email and I'll help!

Spinach Pesto Polenta with Smoky Chickpeas | @naturallyella

When it comes to cooking, I strive to be a minimalist in the amount of dishes I use. If I can get by with one dirty bowl, instead of 3, but cutting a couple corners, I go for it. Sure, I don't always follow recipes then but rarely does something not work out because I didn't use two bowls.

I like to take a similar approach to cooking. If I can get by with making one sauce and use it for more than one meal, I do it. If you follow along with this site regularly, this pesto will probably look familiar given I just posted about it on Saturday with this noodle bowl. It's the exact same minus the chili paste. What I normally do is make the pesto and then when I'm ready to make the noodle bowl recipe, I stir a dab of chili paste into the mix. This pesto recipe is also great tossed with other grains and pasta- it's multi-use! As for the chickpeas, I would normally just toss a few plain ones on top but the time it takes to whip up these smoky chickpeas is so small, that it's become a regular habit for me.


Spinach Pesto Polenta with Smoky Chickpeas

  • Author: Erin Alderson
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 3 to 4 servings 1x


  • Polenta
  • 1 cup dry polenta
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pesto
  • 3/4 cup spinach
  • 1/4 cup basil
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • Pinch Salt
  • Pinch Black Pepper
  • Chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed if using canned
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Bring water to a boil, add polenta and salt. Lower heat and continue to stir polenta as it thickens. On the lowest heat possible, continue to stir occasionally and let polenta cook for about 20 minutes (longer if you want the flavor to develop more).
  2. While the polenta cooks, combine the ingredients for the pesto in a blender or food processor, running until everything is well combined. Set aside.
  3. To make chickpeas, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the chickpeas, paprika, chili powder, and sea salt. Cook until chickpeas are hot, 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. To serve, fold in 3 to 4 tablespoons of the pesto into the polenta, top with cooked chickpeas, and serve any extra pesto on the side.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

16 comments on “Spinach Pesto Polenta with Smoky Chickpeas”

  1. Love seeing this post! (Probably because I did a similar thing earlier this week but used spinach puree...)

    1. This was so simple to make, which I love, because cooking is not always my favorite thing to do. But more importantly, it was a very refreshing and delicious change of pace from the typical rice or pasta based dish for vegans/vegetarians. I think it was even better (more flavorful) on day two! Thanks for a great new go-to recipe 🙂

  2. I'm exactly the same... to a ridiculous extent sometimes, since I don't have a dishwasher, and doing dishes sucks. 😛

    I love the look of your smoky chickpeas. Anything with smoked paprika is my fav.. and I think the soft polenta mixed with the sauteed chickpeas would be delicious!

  3. I just found an easy way to make polenta: Dice a packaged precooked polenta "log" that you can get at the supermarket, heat the pieces in broth, smash it up, and voilà!

    Your chickpeas sound marvelous (will cook some up tonight), and what's great about your idea is that any chickpea leftovers will make a terrific hummus. Thanks for your great ideas, as always.

  4. This came out wonderfully, even my meat loving spouse approved. Simple, tasty

  5. This was a perfect weeknight meal - loved it! I used a hot chili powder and sprinkled some feta on top - so lovely.


Welcome to my little internet nook. On this site you'll find over a thousand vegetarian recipes, pantry knowledge, and more. I'm ever obsessed with food from gardening, cooking, and preserving. I hope you'll find endless inspiration on these pages and visit often. 

Virtual hugs, Erin (aka: e.l.l.a.)

a few good grain recipes

Do away with ads, get access to the back issues of casual, be the first to know about upcoming events, and more.
become a member

beans. beans. beans.

Have a nerdy food question, need a recipe recommendation, or just want to share something exciting you've made?
magnifiercross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram