Polenta with Wild Greens is southern Italian comfort food at its finest. Make it as a side dish or enjoy on its own after a rough day. The greens are revitalizing and the polenta adds a creaminess that is pure joy.
This recipe will vary with the seasons. Use whatever greens are available at the time you make it and that you like best. We used Swiss chard and dandelion greens, with some celery, onions, and garlic. Red pepper flakes add a little heat and depth.
The greens add loads of nutritional benefits while the polenta makes it a heartier dish that makes you feel warm and cozy.
Polenta With Wild Greens
- 9 ounces firm polenta sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp Italian dried herb blend
- 1 pound Swiss chard (red or green)
- 1 pound dandelion greens
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil divided into half
- sea salt to taste
- Set a large pot of water to boil. Salt the boiling water and add the greens. Let them cook for 3-5 minutes until stems are soft. Drain and set aside to cool.
- Finely chop the celery, onion and garlic.
- Add extra virgin olive oil to a large frying pan and use a low heat.
- Add the celery, onion, garlic and pepper flakes to the pan with the Italian herbs. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring the ingredients together.
- Add the polenta to the pan and stir the ingredients. Cook for 5 minutes. Turn the polenta over and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Rough chop the cooled greens and add to the frying pan. Add sea salt to taste.
- Stir everything together and cover with a lid. Some of the polenta will break up into smaller pieces at this point. Cook covered for 10-12 minutes depending on the greens being fully cooked and tender.
Yum. This is a delicious easy dish that is going to be made many times in my future.
I made this dish last night with an ingredient substitution because I didn’t have Swiss chard and two method tweaks for my own taste. Rather than chard I used a large bunch of fresh spinach and the end of a head of lettuce. I didn’t blanch the vegetables because I always end up with overcooked mush when I do and I toasted one side of the polenta slices under the broiler before adding to the dish to add another texture. Very good.
I can see these greens being eaten many ways even if there is no polenta on hand, such as with fava or other beans, macaroni or other short stubby pasta, boiled/ steamed potatoes, etc.