Jun 18, 2014

bok choy and chickpeas over ginger polenta bowl

Lunch at our house these days leaves little time for cooking, but the meals continue to be needed. Couple the demand for food, about thirty minutes to cook and seasonal produce and you have the making of bowl meals.

This time I wanted to use beautiful baby bok choy that had been delivered a few days before and when I think of bok choy, I immediately think of Asian food.

I decided to saute my bok choy and serve it with chickpeas that had been sauteed with a little sesame seed oil. As soon as the chickpeas hit the pan, I knew that these beans were the bridge to making creamy polenta, studded with slices of ginger and chili flakes.

I made a simple sauce using tamari and vegetable broth and lunch was ready quickly.

While creamy polenta might not be the first thing someone thinks of as a foil for Asian food, it was really delicious. Since my hubby is away this week, I was secretly a little glad that I got to eat more than my fair share. It was a little surprising how wonderful spicy, garlic and ginger creamy polenta can be!

Bok Choy over Spicy Ginger-Scented Polenta and Chickpeas Bowl   
Serves 4

2 tablespoons neutral oil, divided
10 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1 to 2 teaspoons red chili flakes
3 ½ to 4 cups unsweetened plain vegan milk
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, (half sliced thin and the other half finely grated), divided
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup polenta or medium-grind cornmeal
1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry
3 teaspoons toasted sesame seed oil, divided
10 ounces baby bok choy, halved through the stem
6 tablespoons vegetable broth
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari

1. Heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Stir in 6 minced garlic cloves and the chili flakes and cook until the garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Stir in 3 ½ cups milk, the sliced ginger and salt. Bring the milk to a simmer and using a whisk, slowly add the polenta while whisking the milk. Bring the milk back to a simmer, lower the heat until the polenta barely bubbles. Cook until the polenta is tender, stirring frequently, about 25 minutes. When the polenta is cooked, stir in additional milk, up to ½ cup, to achieve a creamy consistency. Remove and discard the garlic slices, if desired.
2. While the polenta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil and the chickpeas. Season the chickpeas with a little salt and cook until the chickpeas are golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
3. Add 1 tablespoon neutral oil and 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil to the still hot skillet. Add the halved boy choy, cut side down, and cook until lightly charred and crisp-tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
4. Heat the remaining teaspoon of sesame seed oil in the still hot skillet. Reduce the skillet heat to medium and stir in the grated ginger and the remaining garlic. Cook until the garlic is golden. Carefully add the vegetable broth and tamari. Stir and cook until the sauce reduces by one-quarter.
5. To serve, divide the polenta into 4 bowls, top each bowl with an equal amount of bok choy, chickpeas and sauce. Serve immediately.

© 2014 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

I'd like to give a shout-out to GiGi over at Veganville. She was one of my irreplaceable testers for Everyday Vegan Eats. GiGi is right this very minute running a contest to giveaway a copy of EVE to one lucky US or Canada resident. If you don't have it, yet, here is an opportunity to win it. 


She is sharing the recipe for the Seafood variation of Marinated Tofu from Everyday Vegan Eats. With the marinated tofu you can make such recipes as this No-Fish Filet Sandwich:

Some of you may not know that GiGi runs the very divine vegan bakery on etsy: Veganville Bakery

My son just celebrated his 19th birthday last month and I ordered a few boxes of GiGi's voopee pies for his special day. I asked GiGi not to have it delivered until his birthday because, well, they might not last long enough to make it to his birthday! 

Let me tell you that we are not short on sweets at our house, so it wasn't that my kids were hankering for sugar, but they inhaled these beauties! Veganville was nominated by VegNews for the best online bakery, and it is no surprise. 

We procured two boxes: Assorted Gift Box and Assorted Chocolate Love Box. And not a single voopee pie was left. 

Thank you, GiGi! We all LOVED the voopee pies!

I am linking to these recipe parties: Healthy Vegan Fridaysand What I Ate Wednesday. 
 Healthy Vegan Fridays at Rock My Vegan Socks


  1. I came here to read all about bok choy and what I do I find but a pic of Veganville voopees and a shout out!
    Great pic BTW so glad you guys loved everything. Thank you!!
    Now Larry just looked at your recipe and he said wow, that sounds delicious, Zsu is so inventive with flavors. Looks like I will add another one of your recipes to my arsenal. Pretty soon I am going to have all of your recipes memorized and be using them so much that I will start believing they are mine :)

    1. Aww, thank you, GiGi! But the creative one is YOU! We really loved them and will be regular customers :) My kids have already asked when we get to order some more!

    2. Thank you ;) be sure to use the coupon :)

  2. This is an amazing, creative idea! I think it sounds wonderful. Bok choy is one of my top favorite vegetables and I agree that the creaminess of polenta would pair really well with it! Definitely saving this one for the next time it pops up in our CSA :).

  3. I was looking for a side dish to go with an Chinese black bean main one, and recalled seeing this, so jumped on the chance to make it.
    First, I have missed cooking from your recipes so much! You really do just have such a way with creating the most yummy dishes. This one was a winner for sure.
    The only thing changed was not using / making the polenta. I can only imagine how the creaminess of the polenta would sky rocket this dish to even greater heights. Thank you for keeping me and mine eating well.

    1. Oh, man, that Chinese black bean dish sounds good - and I don't even know too much about it! It's always wonderful to have you post :) You always have such a lyrical way with words. Makes me happy!

  4. Mmmmm you had me at chickpeas & bok choy =) Thanks so much for sharing this recipe at Healthy Vegan Fridays. I have pinned your recipe on our Pinterest Board. Looking forward to seeing what you have to share this week!


Thanks for your comment! I'll check if it's spam and post if it is not. I appreciate your time and effort for commenting! ~ Zsu