Recipe: Polenta Ranchero

My kids are little polenta fiends. I can serve them almost anything with polenta and they will gobble it up. While I do enjoy pan-fried polenta a lot,

Polenta Rancheros
Polenta with Ranchero Beans (and Avocado!)

I stumbled upon a creamy-polenta and black beans in ranchero sauce recipe in Vegan Brunch and my adaptation of it has been a recent hit at dinner time. This is a pretty quick week-night meal, and can be ready in 15 minutes if you have the ranchero beans made in advance 

Polenta with Ranchero Beans

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients for Ranchero Beans:

  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 15 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp agave
  • 2 cans of black beans, drained (equivalent to 3 cups of cooked black beans)

Ingredients: Creamy Polenta

  • 7 cups of water and 1 veggie bullion cube (or 4 cups of veggie broth and 3 cups of water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of polenta cornmeal
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 3 TB nutritional yeast
  • 2 TB non-dairy milk (we use soy)


1. In a large skillet over medium heat, dry toast the cumin and coriander seeds for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant

2. Raise the heat to medium high and add the oil, onions, and garlic. Cook until onions are browned, 6-10 minutes.

3. Add the paprika and stir for 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce, agave and salt and pepper to taste and simmer for about 5 minutes

4. Blend the mixture in a blender (or food processor). Be careful – it’s hot, so make sure you let the steam escape!

5. Pour the sauce back into the pan, bring it to a simmer and add the beans. Cook until the beans are heated through, about 5 minutes. From here you can serve over the polenta OR leave it on a low heat until meal time OR put it in the fridge for a make-ahead-meal later

6. For the polenta bring the water and bullion cube to a boil in a large saucepan. Turn the heat to medium low and add the cornmeal and whisk as you pour it. Continue to stir until mixture becomes thick, which should take 5-12 minutes. Stir in the oil, nutritional yeast and milk. Stir to combine and turn of the heat. The polenta will continue to thicken even when the heat is turned off, so make sure you make it just before you are ready to eat.

7. To serve put about 3/4 cup of polenta in a bowl and scoop 1-2 large spoonfuls of the ranchero beans on top. You can also top this with some avocado, cilantro, or any other yummy accompaniments!

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