Gluten free polenta ‘burger’ recipe

polenta burgers

Tonight’s dinner didn’t start with a recipe. It started with a thought. I knew what flavours I wanted to eat, but I didn’t really know what it was exactly. This is how a lot of my meals start. I’m an emotional eater and also an emotional cook. Have any of you seen Like Water for Chocolate? I love the idea that emotion and love that goes into a meal is felt by the eater. Food is such a sensory journey, and it makes me really sad when I see people eating bad processed food. It makes me even more sad to see kids eating it. Good food is ridiculously simple, and many of our family favourites I would never blog about, because it is literally make a salad and barbeque some meat. Serve. Just as easy as take the packet out of the freezer and cook for 20 mins on one side. Turn piece of factory food over and cook for a further 20 mins. Serve hot, because who knows what will happen once it goes cold!

*climbing down from my soap box*

So tonight, I didn’t want to eat meat, and I really wanted something tasty and filling. I wanted to eat it with a zingy salad too. The polenta burgers are crazy simple. You just need to allow a couple of hours for the mixture to chill in the fridge and set. If you work, you could easily make it the night before and leave it set overnight then cut it when you are ready to serve it. Anyhoo, on with the recipe…

Ingredients:

225g organic polenta (polenta, being a corn based product, should always be eating in organic form. Too much crazy GMO going on in corn-land!)
6 cups water
1 tbs salt
3/4 cup grated parmesan
1 med zucchini, finely grated, juice squeezed out
3-5 cloves garlic crushed

Bring the water to the boil and add the salt. Slowly pour in the polenta stirring continuously. This will stop it from catching on the bottom of the pan.
Keep stirring the polenta until it starts to thicken.
Add the zucchini, garlic and parmesan at this point and stir until combined and the mixture has thickened a bit more. The only way I can think to describe the consistency is thick slop. Not very appealing is it?!
Taste the polenta at this point to see if you need to add any extra seasoning.
You could eat the polenta in this ‘soft’ form, a bit like a mash potato substitute, but for this recipe we are going to set it.
Pour the mix into a tray or container and put in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours. It will firm up once it has cooled.

Once set, take out the tray and either cut triangle shapes or like I did, use a cooker cutter to cut a ‘burger’ shape.
Melt a small knob of butter in a pan and brown the polenta pieces on both sides until lightly golden.
Serve with a mixed salad with an olive oil, lemon and salt dressing. Top with a quarter of an avocado and a dollop of Greek yoghurt.

Serves 6
In anticipation of a few questions, I think you could easily leave out the cheese to make this dairy free, maybe add extra herbs so that the polenta still has that extra flavor. I thought mint, chives or coriander would go nicely in this.
I am quite sure you could bake the pieces to brown them, I just didn’t have time, but I am hoping to make polenta chips with the remainder of the mixture and I’ll be baking those so I’ll confirm later.
Looking back on the photo, the yoghurt looks a bit like a poached egg, which has given me our Friday night meal, polenta chips and poached egg (chips and egg were a favourite of mine growing up!)

I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we did!

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