My friends will often ask me for a quick and healthy meal idea. They want something that they can easily make, that is liked by the whole family and that they can feel good about eating. When I am asked this question, the recipe I generally share first is my grilled polenta with bolognese sauce. It is simple to make, tastes great and is very healthy.
Bolognese sauce is similar to a traditional red Mariana sauce but has the addition of ground meat. For this recipe you can use ground beef or ground turkey. For my family, we tend to opt for ground turkey. For a vegetarian dish you could leave out the ground meat all together or substitute in a meatless ground product.
Most of the time bolognese sauce is served over pasta. However, for this recipe I decided to put a spin on that tradition and serve the sauce over grilled polenta instead. Polenta is boiled cornmeal that can be eaten as soft porridge or formed into a solidified loaf. For this recipe, the solidified loaf form of polenta works best and is available at most grocery stores. The loaf polenta can be cut into circle discs which make them perfect for grilling.
Grilled Polenta with Bolognese Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 pound ground beef or turkey
3 garlic cloves (minced)
1/3 cup red wine (or 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar for alcohol free version)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
Add olive oil to a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil has warmed, add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Sweat the ingredients until they are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the ground beef or turkey. Cook for an additional 6 minutes or until beef is browned (stirring to crumble). Next, add the red wine, salt, nutmeg, pepper, and diced tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil and cover. Reduce heat and allow the sauce to simmer for about 30 minutes. While sauce is simmering the polenta can be grilled. Simply slice the polenta into about 1/2″ thick slices. Lightly coat with olive oil and grill on an indoor or outdoor grill. Each side should take about 5 to 6 minutes to develop nice grill marks. Once the sauce has finished simmer, it can be poured over the grilled polenta.