Creamy Polenta with Balsamic Roasted Vegetables & Garlic Chickpeas


I’m officially the worst Italian ever. (Side note: my brother and sister got all the Italian-looking genes, I got the Irish and English, go figure). This recipe was the FIRST time I’ve ever made my own polenta. Yep, never. My great-grandmother is probably rolling in her grave. But who knew it was so easy!?

Well, the important thing is I’ve finally done it! And, man, am I on the polenta train now, so don’t you worry nana!


Creamy Polenta with Balsamic Roasted Vegetables & Garlic Chickpeas // pumpkin & peanut butter


If you’re a polenta newbie like me, you’re probably wondering what goes into this mysteriously delicious looking stuff. You’re not going to believe me, but all it is is cornmeal, water, vegetable stock, and butter (vegan or regular)… and salt and pepper of course. That’s it! It’s like a corn-based risotto— but without all that endless stirring. Win.

I somehow convinced myself back when I first heard of polenta that it was this crazy complicated, intricate thing to make. Maybe because it’s so luscious and creamy and comforting. Boy, was I so off track.


Creamy Polenta with Balsamic Roasted Vegetables & Garlic Chickpeas // pumpkin & peanut butter


I’ve had polenta in a few different forms before (all either store bought or at a restaurant), but I knew I wanted to veggify this creamy dish into a healthy gluten-free dinner. That’s where I got the idea to top it with some balsamic roasted vegetables. I’ve been ALL ABOUT roasted vegetables lately, and balsamic has got to be one of my favorite roasting flavors, so that was settled right away.

But what about the protein? Cornmeal isn’t too up there on the protein charts, so I knew I needed a little protein punch. And what better way to do that than with my favorite little bean: chickpeas! I swear I could just sit and eat a bowl of these crispy things for dayyssss. I roasted them in olive oil, lots of garlic powder, salt, and pepper and ohhhh, I could hear those Italian angels singing (and my great-grandma forgiving me 😉 ).

Once the bowl was layered with this plethora of textures and flavors, I topped it off with some fresh parsley for a little extra color and freshness. Who knew this simple gluten-free and vegan meal could taste SO SO good?!?


Creamy Polenta with Balsamic Roasted Vegetables & Garlic Chickpeas // pumpkin & peanut butter


Now it’s your turn— have you ever made polenta before??? What kinds of dishes have you made with it? I’m already on the search for more ideas!

As always, snap a pic an tag @pumpkinandpb on Instagram or Twitter if you get a chance to try this recipe. It honestly makes my day to see your creations!

Creamy Polenta with Balsamic Roasted Vegetables & Garlic Chickpeas

Serves 2
Cook time 40 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish


for the polenta

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup course grain cornmeal (or polenta)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (vegan or regular)

for the balsamic vegetables

  • 1 cup brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Wegman's Basting Oil, or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper

for the garlic chickpeas

  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper


*polenta directions adapted from the kitchn's how to make creamy stovetop polenta


for the garlic chickpeas
Step 1
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread drained and rinsed chickpeas over a paper towel and dry using another paper towel. Pour dried chickpeas into a bowl and coat with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Spread across a baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes, or until desired crispiness.
for the balsamic roasted vegetables
Step 2
Toss chopped vegetables with olive oil (or basting oil), balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Spread across a baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring once or twice during cook time.
for the polenta
Step 3
Boil 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vegetable broth on the stove. Whisk in the polenta and salt until the mixture has become slightly thick. Turn down to a low simmer and cover. Every 5-10 minutes, take off the lid and whisk vigorously, then replace lid. Cook for a total of 20-30 minutes, or until polenta has reached your desired consistency. Turn heat off and stir in butter.
Step 4
Time to plate! Start with a large scoop of polenta, then top with a large serving of roasted veggies and a handful of garlic chickpeas. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and cracked black pepper, if desired!

Creamy Polenta with Balsamic Roasted Vegetables & Garlic Chickpeas // pumpkin & peanut butter


Hi, I’m Liz and this is my food blog where I share my love of healthy foods and whole ingredients. You will find mostly vegetarian dishes, plenty of sweets, and lots of love from this little kitchen in Durham, North Carolina!


  1. MMMM. This looks so awesome and so healthy! My hubby-to-be will not eat eat creamy polenta for dinner – he says it tastes too much like oatmeals and that is just wrong! I don’t get it. But he will eat polenta fries made from the leftover polenta.

    • Hahah that’s too funny. Well, I guess you can eat it for dinner and he can enjoy the leftovers 🙂 I’ve never made polenta fries before, but those sound great– do you have a recipe for them on your blog?

  2. This looks great! I can’t get the print button to work though. 🙁

    • Oh no! I’ll play around with it and see if I can get it to work.

    • Right?!? I could eat an entire tray of them! And they’re SO good on top of this creamy polenta 🙂

    • Thanks so much Joscelyn! You’re SO right— it’s such a great combination!

    • It’s SO SO easy! I’ve even tried this recipe on a weeknight and it was on the table in just over 30 minutes. Let me know what you think if you get a chance to try it!

  3. Oh, Liz! These photos are absolutely stunning! And, I’m a bad Italian too, as I have never had polenta before either! It looks so so easy (not to mention delicious), so I must give it a try!

    • Aww thanks girl! They were actually super fun to style because there were so many toppings 🙂 You’ll definitely have to try it— it’s even easier than it looks on paper (or screen haha)!

  4. I love polenta, I grew up eating eat and I will never stop. Never had it combined with chickpeas though, I have to try this, it sounds so goooood!

    • Thanks Adina!! This was my first time experimenting with the polenta-chickpea-veggie combo and I’m never looking back! So glad you like it 🙂

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