April 27, 2015 68

Creamy Polenta with Crispy Beets + Dill Pistachio Pesto

Vegan Dill Pistachio Pesto | @withfoodandlove

Today is all about Erin, the creative genius behind Naturalla Ella, a seasonally inspired vegetarian blog that I’ve been following for years. And, if you love easy veggie eats there’s a real good chance you already love her blog too. First up! Let’s talk about Erin’s beautifully thought out new book, The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen. I really love the way this book is organized. It’s so intentional in every way and I so appreciate that. It contains 50 classic vegetarian recipes, all accompanied with four seasonal variations – I know, so smart! The book is in stores now so go snag it or jump down to the bottom of this post and enter to win a copy!

Polenta is a dish every home cook should master. To keep in his or her back pocket for when breakfast/lunch/dinner feels uninspired. It is so versatile – seriously, it can be eaten so many ways. I really enjoy it creamy, I blogged about this creamy coconut polenta with red curry roasted spring onions last year and it continues to be a standby in my home. Basically, it’s just comfort in a bowl. Today I’m bringing you {a slightly modified} version of Erin’s creamy polenta with crispy beets recipe. In the book, the recipe is made with dairy and I’m sure it’s mad delicious that way, but for now I’m going light on the stuff and polenta can be pretty creamy and tasty without it. So I went with a dill pesto topping instead. I really can’t get enough of fresh dill in the spring. So if you’re into it too you might want to double up on the pesto recipe, it’ll stay good all week in an airtight container and it’s great on roasted vegetables, grain bowls, eggs, pastas – really, it’s awesome on everything.

Creamy Polenta with Crispy Beets + Dill Pistachio Pesto | @withfoodandlove


And, also! Erin’s having a little babe and it’s due out in the world VERY soon!! So today myself and a bunch of sweet bloggers who adore Erin too are throwing her a little virtual gathering of sorts. Below is a list of the party people, you should for sure check them out. A big special thanks to Ashley, Sonja, Alex + Melissa for organizing!

The Fauxmartha | A Pasta Dish for Busy Hands
A Couple Cooks | Breakfast Parfait with Roasted Strawberries
Edible Perspective | Avocado Pesto Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
Eat This Poem | Penne with Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula
Cookie and Kate | Brussels Sprouts Pizza
FoodieCrush | Beet, Avocado and Fried Goat Cheese Salad
The Bojon Gourmet | Tempeh BLTs with Avocado + Chipotle Mayonnaise
Girl Versus Dough | Spiced Lentils with Poached Eggs
Dolly and Oatmeal | Chickpea Bean Bowl with Toasted Bread Crumbs and Dill Tahini
Food Loves Writing | Erin’s Veggie Burgers
London Bakes | Ricotta Gnocchi with Wild Garlic and Pistachio Pesto
Flourishing Foodie | Glazed Tofu with Ramen
This Homemade Life | Chickpea Greek Salad
My Name is Yeh | Creamed Spinach
Brooklyn Supper | One-Pot Pasta Primavera

Oh, one more thing! I’m giving away a copy of The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen! To enter drop me a comment below and tell me what your all-time favorite cookbook is. Contest is open until noon CT on May 6, 2015; the winner will be notified via email and the book can be shipped to any US postal address.

And lastly, this post is sponsored by Winona Pure – a brand I support and trust. Winona Pure is a non-GMO cooking spray line that is free of chemical propellants, artificial additives, alcohol, silicone and soy. And unlike most sprays Winona Pure products are safe to spray directly onto your food. We’ve been working collaboratively with each other for a little while now. You can check out my previous Winona Pure posts here and here and here.

Creamy Polenta with Crispy Beets + Dill Pistachio Pesto | @withfoodandlove

Crispy Golden Beet Chips | @withfoodandlove

Creamy Polenta with Crispy Beets + Dill Pistachio Pesto | @withfoodandlove

Creamy Polenta with Crispy Beets {print me!}

Adapted from Erin Alderson’s new book, The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen

Notes: polenta cooking times may vary depending on the type and brand you are using, check the package and cook accordingly. Polenta is practically foolproof if it is too thick, add in more water and vice versa. This dish takes about 25 minutes to put together and will feed about 4 people.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely minced
  • 2 cups polenta
  • 6 cups water
  • sea salt + pepper, to taste
  • 2 medium sized golden beets {red or chioggia would also work}
  • olive spray, I prefer Winona Pure {or a tablespoon to toss}

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line {2} baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a very large saute pan heat the olive oil and shallots over low heat and cook until translucent, about 3 – 5 minutes.

Add in the water and bring to a boil. Then slowly add in your polenta, while continuously stirring. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cover. Cook until the polenta is creamy. If you prefer a looser polenta, continue to add in more water until your desired texture is reached.

While your polenta is cooking scrub or peel your beets. Slice them into extra thin medallions either with a sharp knife or mandolin. Spray the parchment with olive oil lay your beets out and then give them another spray and a pinch of sea salt and pepper. If you aren’t using spray lightly toss your beets in olive oil before laying them on the parchment. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Watch your beets carefully, they go from golden brown to burnt very quickly! Remove them from the oven and let cool and to crispy further.

Plate your polenta with a scoop of pesto, crispy beets and microgreens – oh and goat cheese would also be a fine addition.

Dill Pistachio Pesto


  • 1/3 cup packed fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 – 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

{{this giveaway is closed}}

Thanks to the folks at Fair Winds for gifting me an advance copy of The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen! This post is sponsored by Winona Pure; all opinions are my own.

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68 Responses to "Creamy Polenta with Crispy Beets + Dill Pistachio Pesto"

  1. Reply

    Lily | Kale & Caramel

    April 27, 2015 at 11:10 AM

    I live for comfort in a bowl. And dill pistachio pesto?! Amazing. I’m all about pistachios right now (hey, we can have Orange Blossom Pistachio Milk for dessert!) and have never used them for pesto. Let alone with dill. Brilliant. And those beet crisps! Want immediately if not sooner. What a gorgeous dish.

  2. Reply


    April 27, 2015 at 11:46 AM

    my favorite cookbook is still the original moosewood.

  3. Reply


    April 27, 2015 at 12:44 PM

    Thank you SO much Sherrie for sharing this recipe and for the kind words about the book. This is actually one of my favorites in the book and I’m wishing now I would have included pesto. (the dill I can imagine puts this over the top!)

    • Reply


      May 3, 2015 at 10:14 PM

      Oh you bet Erin, it was my pleasure, xo!!

  4. Reply


    April 27, 2015 at 1:18 PM

    This looks so beautiful and delicious!
    I wish I was in the US to win this new book!

    My favorite cookbook is Amy Chaplin’s book, which I discovered last year and which is and will be the book I will always come bcak!

  5. Reply


    April 27, 2015 at 1:21 PM

    my favorite cookbook is not really a cookbook…. “the flavor bible” and now the new “vegetarian flavor bible” !!

  6. Reply

    Bianca Phillips

    April 27, 2015 at 1:32 PM

    Oooh, that looks so good!! I bet the combo of creamy and crispy is just magical. My fave book is the old vegan standard, Vegan with a Vengeance!

  7. Reply

    Kelly @ Nosh and Nourish

    April 27, 2015 at 1:35 PM

    Lovely!! Looks like a bowl of perfection, if you ask me :)

  8. Reply

    Beth R.

    April 27, 2015 at 2:19 PM

    I absolutely adore “Clean Food” and “Isa Does It,” however, the “Teddy Bears’ Picnic Cookbook” has a special place in my heart. I’ve had the book for over 20 years–since I was a little girl–and it has recipes for different kinds of picnics–outdoor winter picnics, indoor rainy picnics, afternoon tea, birthdays, etc. It’s even illustrated and completely adorable!

  9. Reply


    April 27, 2015 at 4:28 PM

    The first food blogger cookbook that I bought was Peas and Thank You…I still regularly make recipes from it!

  10. Reply

    Janet Sclar

    April 27, 2015 at 4:55 PM

    I’ve never made anything bad from _Jacques Pepin’s Table_.

  11. Reply

    Dana S

    April 27, 2015 at 5:46 PM

    Jerusalem by yotam ottolenghi

  12. Reply


    April 27, 2015 at 5:55 PM

    I’m loving my copy of Erin’s book, too – so genius! This dish is stunning, and so unique. I adore polenta and can’t wait to try your coconut version.

  13. Reply


    April 27, 2015 at 5:56 PM

    It’s hard to pick just one…right now I’m loving Feast by Sarah Copeland.

  14. Reply

    Vanessa L.

    April 27, 2015 at 6:54 PM

    so many tried and true recipes in the original Moosewood. Lately I’ve been loving Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows cookbook!

  15. Reply

    Natalia M

    April 27, 2015 at 7:38 PM

    I love my Kinfolk cookbook! Not all of the recipes suit my diet, but I love the stories of beautiful people who share delicious food that enriches their lives! But I do have a new favorite, I don’t have it just yet. The new cookbook by My New Roots looks amazing!!!

  16. Reply

    Meg @ Noming thru Life

    April 27, 2015 at 8:13 PM

    This looks crazy delicious!! My favorite cookbook (today) is Sprouted Kitchen (their first one). Hugh’s photography is just gorgeous and I love the whole foods approach that Sara takes.

  17. Reply


    April 27, 2015 at 10:25 PM

    Oh she glows is my all time fav

  18. Reply

    Kelle White

    April 27, 2015 at 10:26 PM

    My all-time favorite cookbook is The Vegan Planet, but for simplicity, any of the Happy Herbivore cookbooks make me happy.

  19. Reply


    April 27, 2015 at 10:42 PM

    This looks delish. My go-to cookbook would be Plenty by Ottolenghi.

  20. Reply

    Kari @ Cooking with Toddlers

    April 27, 2015 at 11:44 PM

    This looks wonderful! Something my little ones would be totally into!

  21. Reply


    April 28, 2015 at 5:48 AM

    this looks absolutely delicious!!! yumm

  22. Reply

    Traci | Vanilla And Bean

    April 28, 2015 at 9:25 AM

    Looking forward to making this beautiful and nourishing recipe.. love the dill pesto! My most recent fave is Plenty, but I reach for (noncookbook) The Flavor Bible more often these days. Deb’s Smitten Kitchen is always a winner too! It’s hard to choose just one!

  23. Reply

    Jessie Snyder | Faring Well

    April 28, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    Holy cow does this look insane! I wanna eat it right off my screen, woman, well done. This shower idea is so neat! As for my favorite cookbook – I’ve never had many, but my go-to when growing up was good old Betty Crocker ;)

    • Reply


      May 3, 2015 at 10:14 PM

      Don’t eat your screen, definitely eat this polenta though ;) xo!

  24. Reply

    Susan Stoney

    April 28, 2015 at 10:04 AM

    Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison is currently my go-to cookbook.

  25. Reply


    April 28, 2015 at 10:08 AM

    I have always loved the Shoshone Yoga Retreat cookbook!

  26. Reply

    Alison H.

    April 28, 2015 at 10:26 AM

    My favorite cookbook at this time is Skinnytaste!

  27. Reply


    April 28, 2015 at 11:27 AM

    My favorite is The Silver Palate cookbook. It’s the first cookbook that I remember having a ‘story’ & that I read like a novel. It kind of sparked my love of reading about food & cooking.

  28. Reply

    Lauren Gaskill | Making Life Sweet

    April 28, 2015 at 12:06 PM

    Beets and polenta? Heck yes! Love this recipe. :)

  29. Reply

    Maria Adams

    April 28, 2015 at 2:34 PM

    This looks so yummy! I only recently discovered polenta and started using it for breakfasts.

    My all-time favorite cookbook is the Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers: Fresh Ideas for the Weeknight Table.

  30. Reply


    April 28, 2015 at 3:44 PM

    Wow- this looks delicious! It is hard to choose a favorite. I am finding inspiration from Sarah Britton’s My New Roots cookbook recently, though.

  31. Reply

    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

    April 28, 2015 at 3:57 PM

    My all time favorite cookbook would be Let Them Eat Vegan!

  32. Reply

    Sarah L

    April 28, 2015 at 10:12 PM

    It’s not a perfect cookbook and I couldn’t use only one, but I love the Joy of Cooking because I have wonderful memories of cooking out of it with my mother.

  33. Reply


    April 28, 2015 at 10:21 PM

    I love the simplicity of this recipe, and of polenta in general! As for my favorite cookbook, it is Forgotton Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen.

  34. Reply

    Virginia Hamilton

    April 29, 2015 at 6:21 AM

    This is a beautiful recipe and yellow beets are the best. Thank you.

  35. Reply

    Virginia Hamilton

    April 29, 2015 at 6:28 AM

    Thanks, also, for the list of food blogs.

    My favorite cookbook is probably Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, both volumes, because of all the technique I have learned there. But, I love cookbooks and cooking magazines and food blogs, too.

  36. Reply


    April 29, 2015 at 10:18 AM

    The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook!

  37. Reply


    April 29, 2015 at 3:06 PM

    Veganomicon. But there are soooo many great vegan cookbooks out now!
    this polenta dish looks so delicious!

  38. Reply


    April 29, 2015 at 3:13 PM

    Wow do those beets look delicious. You’ve managed to passively coax me into trying this recipe (not a fan of polenta but I’m going to give this one a go). I’m having trouble determining my favorite cookbook, but I believe it must be Karma Chow’s The Ultimate Cookbook. Every single recipe is truly delicious and nutritious. Thanks for the opportunity to win Erin’s cookbook. If I’m not the lucky winner, it’s on my Amazon wishlist!

    • Reply


      May 3, 2015 at 10:13 PM

      Haha, do it Becky, I don’t think it’ll let you down, xo!

    • Reply

      Melissa Costello

      February 11, 2016 at 1:48 PM

      Thanks Becky! Glad you love my cookbook!

  39. Reply


    April 29, 2015 at 3:25 PM

    YUM! I love polenta. :)

  40. Reply


    April 29, 2015 at 6:57 PM

    What a scrumptious sounding recipe! Beets and polenta? OH YEAH. Cookbook: The Esalen Cookbook…my go to cookbook. I received Plenty for a gift and love it. I still use both of the Anna Thomas cookbooks from the 70’s…they are still relevant, which I truly cannot say for many of my older cookbooks. The internet and the wonderful cooking blogs are a vast and fabulous source for all things food and I love the background stories that go with each recipe. this blog is my personal favorite, I don’t mind saying…each recipe “speaks” to me…

    • Reply


      May 3, 2015 at 10:12 PM

      Nickie, thank you so much for your comment – this absolutely made my day. I’m glad I’m speaking your language, xo!

  41. Reply


    April 29, 2015 at 11:10 PM

    I love all of the cook books by OttolenghI- especially plenty and plenty more. So much fun to cook from those!

  42. Reply

    Christine // my natural kitchen

    April 30, 2015 at 11:40 AM

    This looks like such a perfect weeknight meal! I made similar beets the other day, but the combination of polenta and that pesto looks so comforting and delicious. I’ve loved seeing posts about Erin’s new book – it sounds like such a good one, I need to add it to my cookbook wishlist :)

  43. Reply

    Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures

    April 30, 2015 at 4:20 PM

    I love love love polenta but dislike beets BUT you’ve made this recipe look so darn delicious that I think I need to give them a second chance!

  44. Reply

    Shelley | Sevengrams

    May 1, 2015 at 6:42 AM

    Just stunning Sherrie! And you’re sauces are always bang on. YUM

    • Reply


      May 3, 2015 at 10:11 PM

      Aww thanks Shelly, xo!

  45. Reply


    May 1, 2015 at 7:10 PM

    I got a Spiralizer and just made the BEST dish with golden beets! I’ve never had them before and they are SOOO good! Your recipe above looks awesome!

    • Reply


      May 3, 2015 at 10:11 PM

      I STILL don’t own a Spiralizer, but I feel like I really need to, haha.

  46. Reply

    Becca F

    May 2, 2015 at 7:41 PM

    Let them eat vegan is definitely the most loved cookbook in my bookcase

  47. Reply

    Amy L

    May 2, 2015 at 10:14 PM

    My favorite go-to cookbook for over 30 years now, is The Joy of Cooking. I just baked their Banana Bread this week, and my co-workers raved about how good it was.

  48. Reply


    May 2, 2015 at 10:22 PM

    Right now loving 100 days of real

  49. Reply


    May 3, 2015 at 7:55 PM

    Hmm, I don’t know if I can pick a favorite cookbook of all time, but one that I always find myself going back to is Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

  50. Reply

    Nicollette D

    May 3, 2015 at 8:26 PM

    This book looks wonderful; can’t wait to add it to my collection!

  51. Reply


    May 4, 2015 at 6:08 AM

    What a delicate and lovely meal!

  52. Reply

    Nancy Silver

    May 4, 2015 at 6:23 AM

    I have to say I always go to In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark, By the way, I am going to try these beet chips and pesto looks out of this world too. I never thought to do dill pesto, so am going to try. Love your inspiration of the shower idea too!

  53. Reply


    May 4, 2015 at 10:53 AM

    My favorite cookbook is Super Natural Everyday by Heidi at 101 Cookbooks! These beet chips looks super yummy!

  54. Reply

    Felicia @ Ingredient1

    May 4, 2015 at 4:02 PM

    We love a good spin on pesto! This recipe looks fantastic.

  55. Reply


    May 4, 2015 at 10:36 PM

    Gorgeous! Now I’m wondering why I don’t cook polenta more often! I love your dill pesto version, really can’t get enough dill this time of year (or ever, really)!

  56. Reply

    Sarah @ SnixyKitchen

    May 5, 2015 at 2:54 AM

    I just picked up a bunch of golden beets at the market today and a dill pesto sounds like just the thing to top them with! This is such a gorgeous dish and I’m always looking for quick weeknight staples (NOT my specialty!). And that photo of the golden beets is off the hook pretty!

    My all-time favorite cookbook?! I can’t pick just one. Right now I’m obsessed with Yummy Supper (among so many others…).

  57. Reply

    Sarah Scott

    May 5, 2015 at 11:50 AM

    so far my favorite cook book has been Make It Paleo!

  58. Reply


    January 28, 2016 at 7:46 AM

    Recommended temps for the beets?

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