Secrets to Super Simple Meals 


Goat Cheese and Jalapeño Polenta with Black Bean Salad

2 Mins read

This dish started because I wanted to do something with polenta. I turned to , which has recipes from many well-known chefs and restaurants. I saw a recipe for  and another for soft . I had goat cheese in the fridge, and I don’t care for bleu cheese unless it is with something really sweet, so I combined the two ideas.

Then I remembered I had black beans soaking in water already (As my friend Kat noted, of course that would be something I would do, start soaking dried beans one night for no particular reason).

I googled polenta and black beans and saw an idea to put a black bean salad on top of creamy polenta. So that was it, I bought a bell pepper and lime, then made do with everything else I already had.

The result was very satisfying. I loved the flavor of the polenta. The beans and bell pepper offered contrasting texture, and the guacamole was a cool balance to the spice of the jalapeños. I would have liked some fresh cilantro but the store didn’t have it. I used a good amount of ground coriander in the salad, though.

All in all, a tasty dish, and a nice alternative to rice and beans.

Goat Cheese and Jalapeño Polenta with Black Bean Salad

Original recipe with inspiration from the Texas Culinary Academy and Food Fit, makes about 2 servings

For black bean salad

  • 15 oz can black beans (or about 2 cups dried, then cooked)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • white part of 1 green onion, thinly sliced (half a small white or yellow onion works, but green is what I had and it’s milder)
  • juice from half a fresh lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • salt and pepper

In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Allow to rest so flavors can marry. This can be made a day in advanced and refrigerated, but let it sit at room temperature before serving with the hot polenta.

For polenta

  • 1 jalapeño, roasted and diced
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup dry polenta
  • about 2 oz. goat cheese
  • salt

It’s silly to turn on the oven to roast one jalapeño, so cook it over the open stove top flame, rotating until the outsides have all begun to char. Allow to cool, then dice.

In a pot, bring water seasoned with salt to a boil. Whisk in polenta, and turn down heat. Allow to cook, stirring frequently, until water has been absorbed. Mix in jalapeño and crumbled goat cheese. Season with more salt if necessary.

For guacamole

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • small handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, smash garlic thoroughly. Mix in avocado and other ingredients with a fork, to your desired consistency.

Layer all three components and serve.

You may also like

Risotto Three Ways

6 Mins read
Risotto had been on our list of things to make for some time, and a few months ago the slow-motion shots of a Venetian chef flipping risotto on Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations finally compelled us to buy arborio rice. Since then, we’ve had three very successful risotto endeavors. Our first…

Mango Sherbet with Candied Habanero Peppers

2 Mins read
Posted by Mike at Urgaming Mango is such a rich, almost creamy fruit that works incredibly with hot chili peppers. Mango salsa, mango chutney, Trader Joe’s Chili-Spiced Dried Mangoes… I’m a big fan of all of these so pairing mangoes and habaneros in ice cream didn’t seem too crazy.

Spicy Sloppy Joes

1 Mins read
Posts have been slow for the past few weeks, I know. Michael is hiking in the Adirondacks and I recently returned from a trip with my dad to Finland and Sweden. I got back last week and started working as a mentor at a journalism workshop for high schoolers. Helping…