Smoky mozzarella polenta with spring vegetable ragu and walnut pesto

Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Soy Free

4 Servings, 630 Calories/Serving

25 – 35 Minutes

Smoked mozzarella lends bold flavor and lush creaminess to polenta, making it a dream bed for this vibrant vegetable ragu topped with our house-made walnut pesto. Serve any extra mozzarella as a pre-dinner snack.


  • Peeled fresh garlic
  • 5 small leeks
  • 2 cups cooked white beans
  • ¼ cup Kalamata olives
  • 1 head escarole
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1½ cups diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup petite peas
  • One 18-ounce tube cooked polenta
  • 3½ ounces smoked mozzarella
  • ½ teaspoon red chile flakes (optional)
  • Sun Basket walnut pesto (walnuts - olive oil - Parmesan - fresh garlic - salt - pepper)



Prep the vegetable ragu ingredients

  • Finely chop, press, or grate enough garlic to measure 1 teaspoon.
  • Trim the root ends from the leeks; cut the leeks in half lengthwise, then crosswise into ¼-inch-thick half-moons. Soak the leeks in a medium bowl of cold water, stirring occasionally to loosen any dirt, and allow the dirt to settle at the bottom. Skim the leeks from the surface of the water and pat dry.
  • Rinse the white beans.
  • Cut the olives in half.
  • Trim the root end from the escarole; coarsely chop the leaves.
  • Strip the parsley leaves from the stems; coarsely chop the leaves. Divide into two equal portions, one for the vegetable ragu and one for garnish.


Make the vegetable ragu

In a large sauce pot over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil until hot but not smoking. Add the garlic and leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes, beans, olives, and ½ cup water, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the escarole and cook until crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the peas and half the parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
While the ragu cooks, prepare the polenta.


Cook the polenta

  • Remove the polenta from the packaging; cut the polenta into ½-inch pieces.
  • Using the coarse holes of a box grater, grate enough mozzarella to measure ½ cup. Save the rest for another use.
In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil until hot but not smoking. Add the polenta and ½ to ¾ cup water, depending on desired consistency. Using a masher or the back of a spoon, mash the polenta mixture until incorporated. Cook, stirring often, until the polenta mixture is heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the mozzarella. Season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil, if desired. Cover and keep warm.



Transfer the polenta to individual bowls, top with the vegetable ragu, and sprinkle with as many chile flakes as you like. Garnish with the walnut pesto and remaining parsley and serve.

Ingredient IQ The word “pesto” comes from the Italian pestare, which means “to pound.” Pestos are traditionally pounded in a mortar with a pestle.

Kids can!
  • Press the garlic (if you have a press).
  • Wash the leeks.
  • Rinse the beans.
  • Strip the parsley leaves.
  • Serve the meal.

Nutrition per serving: Calories: 630, Protein: 21g, Total Fat: 30g, Monounsaturated Fat: 14g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Carbohydrates: 69g, Fiber: 15g, Sugar: 13g, Added Sugars: 0g, Sodium: 950mg
Contains: tree nuts, milk.

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