Mediterranean Chickpea Stew with Polenta - even sounds a little exotic doesn't it?
This terrific stew is especially good when paired with slices of golden polenta.
Polenta is made from ground yellow or white corn that has had the germ removed. It is a staple in many Mediterranean countries though probably not as well known as some other staples from that region. Polenta is very versatile. You can bake it, fry it, boil it or even grill it. The taste is somewhat bland as might be expected with a corn product. But in this case that's a good thing because you can pair it with so many different things to make a great dish. And it really isn't bad as a stand-alone side, especially fried!
Polenta is a complex carbohydrate so it is relatively low on the glycemic index. It doesn't have a lot of protein although there is some but it is amazingly rich in vitamins and minerals and it is gluten free!
This Chickpea stew puts the polenta to good use serving as a satisfying and filling base on which to top the stew. The whole dish has an amazing flavor in the end and is a great example of healthy Mediterranean style cooking!
Mediterranean Chickpea Stew with Polenta
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups diced eggplant
2 cups diced zucchini
1 cup chopped onions
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground paprika
1/8 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
1 can (28-oz.) plum tomatoes (with no added salt)
2 Tbsp. tomato paste (with no added salt)
1 can (15-oz.) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tube (17-oz.) prepared polenta, cut into 8 slices
1 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
How we make it
In small Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over
medium-high heat. Add eggplant, zucchini, onions and
bell pepper. Cover, reduce heat and cook until vegetables
soften, 8 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, paprika and red
pepper flakes. Holding a knife vertically, work it up and
down in the can of tomatoes to chop coarsely. Add the
tomatoes with liquid to vegetables. Mix in tomato paste
and chickpeas. Cook until vegetables are soft but still
hold their shape, 10 minutes. Season stew to taste with
salt and pepper. The stew can be made up to 2 days ahead
Meanwhile, brush polenta on both sides with oil. Heat a
griddle or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add polenta
slices, in one layer, and cook until they begin to brown on
bottom, 5 minutes. Turn and brown on second side, 4-5 minutes.
To serve, divide polenta among 4 wide, shallow bowls. Top each
with one-fourth of the stew, garnish with parsley and serve
Makes 4 servings
Per serving: 390 calories, 12 g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat),
61 g carbohydrate, 11 g protein, 11 g dietary fiber, 500 mg sodium.
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