Miss Rachel’s Pantry: I Say Tomato

Here’s a new, hearty vegan recipe for fried green tomatoes with vegetables, marinara and polenta. Polenta is a great starch made from corn meal – you can buy it packaged at just about any grocery store. It’s vacuum-sealed in plastic and sometimes found in the refrigerated section or on the shelf in the “Italian” section where there’s fancy olives or pasta. Speaking of fancy, this eye-catching dish looks like you spent tons of time on it, but it’s really quite simple and quick to make! It’s also very easy to make it kid-friendly (or friendly for grown-ups who aren’t into veggies!). Simply puree the vegetables and tomato sauce before adding the polenta for a smooth, creamy sauce.

Yields 4 servings

For the tomatoes, you’ll need:

– 1 big green tomato (trust me, folks, don’t try this with a ripe red one)

– 1/4 cup wheat flour

– 3 Tbsp water

– 1 pinch salt + pepper

– 1 pinch oregano

– 1 pinch garlic powder

– 1 cup panko bread crumbs

For the rest:

– 1 Tbsp olive oil

– 1/4 cup diced mushrooms (baby bellas would be nice. I used a weird shitake because that’s what I had. meh)

– 1 big handful of broccoli crowns

– 1/4 cup greens, chopped small (bok choy worked well – so would spinach)

– 1 small can tomato paste (6 oz)

– 1 cup water

– 2 tsp sugar

– 2 tsp salt – more to taste

– 1 tsp pepper

– 1 tsp garlic

– 1 1/2 cups polenta, cubed

– 2 tsp your favorite vegan cheese shreds (optional)

What to do:

1. Slice your tomato into 1/4″ slices.

2. In a bowl, combine the flour, water and seasonings.

3. Dip each slice into the flour mixture and then coat in the panko crumbs. Set these aside while you start the sauce.

4. Heat the mushrooms, broccoli and greens in a pot and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 5. Add the tomato paste and water and whisk together quickly so the tomato paste doesn’t clump up.

6. Add the sugar, salt, pepper and garlic.

7. Then drop in the polenta, mix to coat, and simmer for 15 minutes.

8. While the sauce simmers, it’s frying time! I use a deep fryer (so easy. And sad. I’m sorry, belly. And hair that smells like frying). You can heat up approximately 2-3 inches of canola oil in a pot and heat to 360 degrees. Cook tomato slices for 4-5 minutes, until golden brown, remove with a spider (or whatever fun slotted tool you’ve got) and shake the oil off (too much makes the tomatoes soggy when they cool).

9. Plating! Put your polenta mixture on the plate, add the tomatoes and top with vegan cheese. It’s important  that you serve this right away, because cold fried green tomato ain’t too great. Neither is microwaved fried green tomato.

Tomato. TomAHto. Let’s call the whole thing dinner.

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Miss Rachel’s Pantry is a vegan personal chef, meal delivery, and catering company in Philadelphia, Pa, making real-deal homestyle food.  To contact her for more information, her blog is:www.missrachelspantry.blogspot.com and her website is: www.missrachelspantry.com

Editors note: We at friendlysuggestions.com are delighted to have Miss Rachel’s Pantry provide these recipes for all of us!  If you can’t make them yourself, do yourselves a favor, those of you in the Philly area, call her to make something for you, and/or have her provide some healthy food for your next party or event.

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