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My husband and I went out to the excellent Cafe Gratitude on the weekend, and my husband ordered a polenta bowl, which was so incredibly delicious. As is our habit, we spent much of the meal trying to deconstruct what we were eating, so I could attempt to duplicate it at home. This is my attempt and I have to say, it is really, really good. It’s hearty-enough for carnivores and a perfect vegan entree.


Serves 4

Cashew Cream

1 1/2 cups raw cashews, cover in water and soak overnight

1 cup water

2tsp lemon juice

1 clove garlic

1/2 tsp sea salt


1 1/2 cups of yellow corn grits or polenta

1 1/2 cups of water

1/2 tsp sea salt


1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 15-ounce can organic diced tomatoes


4 tbsp fresh pesto (you can make your own, but I purchased a tub from Wholefoods). If you want to make your own: Place 2 cups of basil leaves, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 garlic glove, 1/2 cup pine nuts, and 1/2 tsp salt in a high-speed blender until it reaches the desired consistency.

2 cups baby spinach leaves.

A handful of fresh basil leaves


To make the cashew cream. Place the soaked nuts, water, lemon juice, garlic and salt in a high-powered blender. I used my Vitamix. Blend until smooth. It should have the consistency of heavy cream, so add more water if need’s be. Place in a covered bowl and chill.

Place the grits, water and salt in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for about five minutes, stirring continuously. Pour into a square, greased baking dish and allow to cool completely, before cutting into triangles.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan and fry the onions and garlic until soft. Add the tomatoes and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes.

When you are ready to serve. Grease a grill pan with an olive oil spray and grill your polenta triangles until they are slightly browned on both sides.

Meanwhile, wilt your spinach.

Place two triangles in each bowl. Cover with a generous helping of the tomato sauce, followed by a spoon of spinach, and 1 tbsp of pesto and 1 tbsp of cashew cream. Top with a couple of fresh basil leaves.


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    • So glad you loved it. It’s making me hungry thinking about it. So, you can use the cashew cream as a dip—-so good, for pita or chips. You can also use it in place of anything you might use cheese for – so on pasta- even as a topping on pizza. I like to mix it with pesto or marinara sauce for a really creamy vegan pasta sauce.

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