Creamy Polenta with Roasted Root Vegetables

This time of year, everyone seems to be making lists of resolutions for the year ahead. I’m not a fan of setting goals like eating less sugar, working out more, getting organized, etc. To me a new year isn’t about resolving to fix things or do things differently, but 365 more days to become a better me. To experience growth, change, love, challenges, new places, and friendship; to enjoy the things that make me happy; and to allow all of it to shape my lifestyle and become part of who I am. Focusing on the things that make me happy might resemble others’ resolutions…eating healthy every day (I actually really, really like vegetables), doing more hot yoga (I like to sweat), cleaning out more clutter (I’m still on a less-is-more kick), or reading more (I feel smarter when I do). But it might simply mean enjoying a big bowl of creamy polenta topped with roasted root vegetables and a generous glass of red wine by the fire, because it’s January, it’s single-digit cold, and that makes me happy, too!

Whatever your aspirations for 2014, I hope you can find room in the next 365 days (preferably sooner) to enjoy this delicious little dish. It’s one part healthy, one part indulgent–and that’s how I prefer life after all. Make a double batch of the root vegetables, and use them on top of salad greens for a healthy weekday lunch. It’s equally delicious and comforting, in a very good-for-you way.

Creamy Polenta with Herbs de Provence Roasted Root Vegetables

2 small yellow onions, peeled and cut crosswise into rings
2 large carrots, halved lengthwise, cut into pieces
2 large parsnips, halved lengthwise, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon herbes de Provence
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup yellow cornmeal
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1-3 tablespoons crème fraiche
Coarse salt, for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Combine the onions, carrots and parsnips in a large bowl. Add the oil, herbes de Provence, salt and pepper; toss to coat evenly. Scatter the vegetables evenly in a large nonstick baking pan and roast for 20 minutes. Turn the vegetables and roast until tender and beginning to brown, another 15 to 20 minutes. While the vegetables are roasting, bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a pot over medium-high heat; add the salt. Reduce the heat to low and slowly add the cornmeal, whisking constantly. Set aside the whisk and switch to a wooden spoon; continue stirring constantly as the polenta simmers for 10 minutes, until thick. (Your arm should get tired!) Remove the polenta from the heat, stir in the Parmesan and crème fraiche. Add salt to taste. Immediately spoon the polenta into shallow bowls, top with the roasted root vegetables, and sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese.

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