Sunday, September 27, 2009

Vegetable Ragout over Thyme and Olive Polenta

When we have dinner out I assume that we had more fat and calories than we realize and try to eat cleaner for a few days. This dinner is very clean (no added fat) and filled us up with few calories. When I want a light meal I frequently turn to mushrooms since they are so low in calories. This vegetable ragout is mostly mushroom, which is great for protecting women against breast cancer.

If you are looking for a clean dish after over indulging this one will fill you up without weighing you down.

Vegetable Ragout over Thyme and Olive Polenta
Serves 6

Ragout Ingredients:

1 red onion, peeled and finely diced
3 stalks celery with leaves, finely diced
4 large carrots, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced
2 zucchini, finely diced
¼ - ½ cup water to “water sauté” vegetable
3 cups dry red wine (used Amarone)
approximately 3 cups water
4 tablespoons tomato paste
24 ounces fresh crimini mushrooms, cut into bite size pieces
½ tablespoon kosher salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ tablespoon thyme, dried

Polenta Ingredients:

2 cups polenta, dry
6 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ tablespoon thyme, dried
8 olives, thinly sliced


Water sauté the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, zucchini over high heat in as much water as is necessary. When the harder vegetables are soft (this should happen in about 10 minutes) add the remaining ingredients and cook another 30 minutes during which time some of the water will evaporate.

For the polenta combine the polenta and water and stir to thoroughly combine before turning on the heat. Add the salt, thyme and olives. Cook until the polenta is soft. When all the water has been absorbed taste the polenta to see if it is soft. If it isn’t add a little more water and cook it longer.

Nutritional information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 366.71
Calories From Fat (4%) - 15.27

Total Fat - 1.73g
Saturated Fat - 0.17g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 997.66mg
Potassium - 1195.61mg
Total Carbohydrates - 56.79g
Fiber - 7.2g
Sugar - 8.2g
Protein - 9.28g


This recipe in intentionally “clean”. Some people may find it too low in fat. Since the fat is so low you can safely add a little drizzle of good quality olive oil or pine nuts to this dish as a garnish and still have a healthy meal.

You may find this dish seems to need salt. I stopped adding salt because of the sodium in the dish. When the sodium gets close to 1000 on one meal I start to get concerned and stop adding sodium. It seems to help to finish the dish with a light sprinkle of sea salt on top. I think it hits your taste buds first and makes the entire dish seem saltier.

The servings for this dish were very generous and quite filling. I couldn’t have eaten more than 1/6th of this recipe at one time. Additionally the nutritional information was also good on this recipe. One serving contains over 9400 mg’s of Vitamin A, 100 mg’s of calcium, 55 mcg’s of folate, 225 mcg’s of phosphorus and 30 mcg’s of selenium.

The omnivores didn’t say anything but I know they thought this was too healthy. I wanted to warn you not to try this on people that don’t have a healthy over all diet. The low level of fat is obvious. A little nutritional yeast sprinkled on the top, or in the polenta would add umami to the dish that would be nice. The next time I will add fresh chopped parsley and/or rosemary to the polenta. Both would work well with the wine and mushroom in the vegetable ragout.

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