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.

  • Author: Michele Sidorenkov, RDN
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 entrées 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cook
  • Cuisine: Italian


Units Scale

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

1/3 teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 medium shallot, diced

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1/2 a can of chickpeas (3/4 cup), rinsed and dried


  1. Bring vegetable broth to a boil. Add polenta, 2 tablespoons of sun dried tomatoes, and 1/4 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.


Keywords: vegetarian dinner, easy and healthy polenta recipe