There is something magical about a quick dish that is loaded with bold, craveable flavors and is around 500 calories. Oh, and it's meatless! What makes this dish so delicious? My guess is the Parmesan polenta with tiny sun dried tomato flavor bombs. Or maybe it's the savory thyme mushrooms with a 'meaty' sauce. Actually, it's probably the crispy chickpeas giving this dish the perfect crunch. Let's face it, after making this dish a few times, every element of this dish is my favorite!
Psst - this dish is so good, even a meat lover would swoon. Pass it on!
This easy entrée is broken into three parts - but don't worry, everything is super simple. The Parmesan polenta can be made in about 5 minutes with minimal attention and set aside until the other elements are complete. Then, a quick sauté of the shallots, mushrooms, and thyme then using the same pan, crisp the chickpeas. Voila! Dinner ready in 25 minutes.
If you want a little more info on exactly how this recipe is made, I put together my first recipe video ever (!!) which I added to my recipe card below.
Dietitian's Note: Protein is made up of different amino acids, with differing amounts and types depending on the food. Our bodies need complete proteins, which are found in food items with all nine amino acids present. Soy and animal proteins have all nine amino acids and are considered complete proteins. Vegetarian ingredients on the other hand have different amino acid amounts, which never have all nine amino acids your body needs. (source)
An easy way to solve this vegetarian protein problem is by combining different foods with different amino acids into one meal. After adding up all the sides, ingredients, and toppings, you may have all nine amino acids on your plate! Nifty trick, huh? You will have to do some meal planning research beforehand and I have found this website to be extremely helpful when calculating which amino acids are in which foods. The good news is that this recipe has all nine amino acids and is a compete protein meal! So, no need to research for this dish, I've got you covered.
SHOP My Recipe Ingredients
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Sun Dried Tomato and Parmesan Polenta with Crispy Chickpeas
This vegetarian Sun Dried Tomato and Parmesan Polenta with Crispy Chickpeas entrée hits on all levels - an easy and healthy dinner dish that is a little creamy, a little zingy, and a little crunchy. This date night dinner is easy to prepare, from stove top to dinner table in 25 minutes.
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 2 entrées 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Cook
- Cuisine: Italian
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup polenta (also seen as corn grits in the grocery store)
3 tablespoons finely chopped oil packed sun dried tomatoes, divided
⅓ teaspoon salt, divided
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium shallot, diced
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
½ a can of chickpeas (¾ cup), rinsed and dried
- Bring vegetable broth to a boil. Add polenta, 2 tablespoons of sun dried tomatoes, and ¼ teaspoon salt, and cook according to the polenta package instructions (note 1). When the polenta is done, take off the heat and stir in parmesan until it has been completely incorporated. Cover to keep warm and set aside.
- In a sauté pan on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté shallots until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add mushrooms, remaining salt, and thyme to the pan and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and tender, stirring occasionally. When the mushrooms are ready, transfer the mushrooms and any pan juices to a bowl, then cover, set aside, and keep warm (note 2).
- Wipe the same sauté pan clean with a paper towel. Increase the heat to medium high and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. When the pan has heated up, add the chickpeas and give the pan a shake to make sure all the chickpeas are in contact with the pan, not stacked on top of each other. When letting the chickpeas crisp up, do not toss the pan or stir until they have browned, about 2-4 minutes each side (note 3). After crisping the chickpeas, stir in the remaining sun dried tomatoes during the last minute of cooking. If the chickpeas have browned but don't seem very crispy, take them out of the pan to cool will help solidify the crunch.
- Assemble your plate - add polenta to your plate, spreading it out with the back of your spoon. Next spoon the mushrooms over your polenta base, drizzling any remaining mushroom juice over the polenta. Lastly, sprinkle the crispy chickpeas over the top and enjoy!
Note 1: Basic instructions for cooking polenta - In a pot, bring your liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to low and stir in polenta. Let cook uncovered for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then take off the heat, cover, and let sit for a few more minutes to allow the polenta to absorb the remaining moisture.
Note 2: I usually put my mushrooms in the microwave to stay warm. The small, closed space keeps the dish warm and protects from any cooling from drafts.
Note 3: When the chickpeas get hot, they may start popping! I had a few shoot across my kitchen, so if you have some kind of mesh splatter guard I would add it for this step. I wouldn't use a lid for this step because that will keep moisture in, preventing the chickpeas from crisping and browning. I personally don't have a mesh platter guard, so I just added the escaped chickpeas back into the pans.
Note 4: I recommend pairing this recipe with a French Pinot Gris.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 536
- Sugar: 7 g
- Sodium: 1368 mg
- Fat: 21.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 7 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 13 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 62 g
- Fiber: 7 g
- Protein: 25 g
- Cholesterol: 24 mg
Keywords: vegetarian dinner, easy and healthy polenta recipe