Vegan Polenta with Beans, Squash and Tomatoes

Of the millions of ways to eat corn, polenta might be our favorite. Enjoy this vegan version of the beloved cornmeal porridge made from corn grown right here at The Ecology Center and complemented by perfectly ripe tomatoes, squash, and more.
1 cuppolenta
5 cupswater
4 tbspextra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
1 poundfresh cranberry shelling beans
2heirloom tomatoes
3medium zucchinis
1/4 cupbasil
1/4 cupparsley, chopped

Serves 5-6

Shell beans and add them to a pot. Generously cover the beans with water so there are a few inches of water above the beans. Bring water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 to 55 minutes until the beans become tender. 

While the beans are cooking, bring water to a boil (medium/high heat) in a medium pot and whisk in 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add polenta and whisk consistently for 5 to 6 minutes until you see the polenta starch activate and combine with the water to thicken. Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 8 minutes or so (the bottom layer can burn if it is not stirred often enough) until the polenta reaches desired consistency. Whisk in two or three more tbsp of extra virgin olive oil at the very end and stir. Salt to taste.

Dice the tomatoes and zucchinis into bite-size pieces. De-stem the basil and chop the parsley. Once the beans are done cooking, strain them.

Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add zucchini and cook until you see some color. Add the beans and let them cook for a minute or two before adding the tomatoes, half the basil, and half the parsley. Mix until well combined, then remove from heat and place on top of your polenta, adding the remaining basil and parsley as a garnish.