Polenta With White Beans and Italian Salsa Verde 2.000

(Justin Tsucalas for the Washington Post; food styling by Nichole Bryant for The Washington Post)

Plant-Powered Newsletter Jul 12, 2019

Italian salsa verde couldn’t be more different from the spicier Mexican version. This is a tangy, bright mess of parsley, lemon and capers that takes dishes from pedestrian to outstanding. Here, it tops a bowl of creamy polenta, the Italian equivalent of grits, with white beans and greens. It’s a rib-sticking dish that’s not too hard to put together — elegant and humble at the same time.

Want to extra protein? Saute a bit of pancetta or guanciale before making the bean filling in the same pan.

This recipe is from Week 7 of Voraciously's Plant Powered newsletter. Sign up at wapo.st/plantpoweredguide.

Make Ahead: Make the polenta, white beans and greens, and the Italian salsa verde in advance or refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days. Reheat the polenta on the stove top and add a splash of vegetable broth or water to help it come back to a creamy consistency. Reheat the white beans in a skillet until warmed through.

2 - 3

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Tested size: 2-3 servings

  • For the polenta
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup medium-grind or stone-ground cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish
  • For the beans and greens
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • One 15-ounce can low-sodium white beans, such as cannellini or Great Northern white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (2 ounces) baby spinach leaves or other chopped, dark leafy greens
  • For the salsa verde
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano (may substitute more parsley here)
  • 1 tablespoon capers in brine, drained
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


For the creamy polenta: Bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the cornmeal gradually, whisking constantly, to form a thickened and smooth mixture. Add the salt and reduce the heat to low. Cook over low heat, slowly bubbling, for 20 minutes: The mixture will resemble a thick, yellow paste. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter until it has melted.

Meanwhile, whip up those beans and greens: Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the beans, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and a few grinds of black ground pepper. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until fragrant and warmed through (enjoy that perfume of wafting garlic). Stir in the spinach or other greens and continue cooking for 1 minute until that has wilted. Remove from the heat.

Finally, make the salsa verde: Stir together the parsley, oregano, capers, oil and lemon juice in a medium bowl.

Spoon the warm polenta into bowls. Top with the beans and greens, salsa verde and grated cheese. Serve warm.

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Recipe Source

From Sonja Overhiser and Alex Overhiser, of ACoupleCooks.com.

Tested by Sonja Overhiser and Alex Overhiser.

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