Mexican-Inspired Meal

This meal may not have been the prettiest color, but it had plenty of good flavor.  I received four beautiful jalapeno peppers in one of my CSA deliveries, and I thought to myself, “What can I possibly do with four jalapenos?”.  I decided that roasting them and pairing them with polenta would be good, and the rest of the meal developed from there.  I was going to make just the polenta and slaw, but while I was at the Mexican market I came across some prepared nopales, and I had to have them.

You can roast jalapeno peppers just like you would roast a red bell pepper.  There are various methods, but since I don’t have a gas stove I usually broil the peppers in the oven until they are blackened on all sides, then put them in a bag or covered bowl to let the skin loosen.  It was difficult to get the skin off and seed them, but not too daunting.

Polenta with Roasted Jalapenos and Black Beans

Roasting and seeding the jalapenos gets rid of most of the heat.  What little heat is left effectively spreads through this whole dish.

1 cup polenta or coarse ground cornmeal
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
3 roasted jalapeno peppers, halved, seeded and sliced
1 15.5-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4-1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese (optional)
sea salt to taste

1. Place the polenta, broth and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally.
2. Reduce the heat to medium low.  As the polenta starts to thicken, add the remaining ingredients and whisk frequently.
3. The polenta is ready to serve when it is thick and difficult to whisk.  Serve hot.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 338.13
Calories From Fat (2%) 8.08
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0.91g 1%
Saturated Fat 0.1g <1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 154.75mg 6%
Potassium 252.14mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 69.83g 23%
Fiber 12.89g 52%
Sugar 0.36g
Protein 11.84g 24%

Fennel Slaw with Salsa Vinaigrette

1 bulb fennel, sliced thinly, fronds chopped
1/2 medium head green cabbage, shredded
large carrot, shredded
Dressing:
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup cilantro
juice of 1 lime
1 scallion, green & white parts, chopped
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp sea salt

1. Place the fennel, cabbage and carrot in a large bowl and toss to combine.
2. Place all dressing ingredients (tomato through salt) in a blender, and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
3. Pour most of the dressing over the slaw and stir to coat.  Add the rest of the dressing if needed.  Serve at room temperature.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 104.85
Calories From Fat (32%) 33.83
% Daily Value
Total Fat 3.85g 6%
Saturated Fat 0.54g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 423.92mg 18%
Potassium 719.31mg 21%
Total Carbohydrates 17.16g 6%
Fiber 6.39g 26%
Sugar 6.67g
Protein 3.27g 7%

Nopales are really kind of awesome.  I had never seen or heard of them until I moved to California and started noticing them in Mexican groceries.  They’re literally a cactus pad.  You can buy the whole, prickly pad and prepare it yourself, but I prefer to buy them already cleaned and diced.  To see how they’re prepared, check out this site or this video.  Somehow I don’t think it’s as easy as the guy in the video makes it look!  Nopales taste and feel kind of similar to green beans, albeit a little slimy, and they’re pretty good for you.

Spice-Roasted Nopales

4 cups prepared diced nopales
1 tsp mild chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
dash of cayenne
small amount of oil, just to coat
pinch of salt

I didn’t take procedure notes for this recipe, but my best guess is that I combined the ingredients and roasted at 425F for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

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1 Comment »

  1. jessy said

    your polenta with jalapenos and black beans looks like something dan would absolutely loooove! he loves anything spicy with peppers, and i love polenta sooooo much. totally gonna have to try this out, Erin – and your fennel slaw, too. the whole plate looks delicious!

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