The other day I was sorting through all the grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and beans I've accumulated and decided it was time for me to do something with them. I'm now determined to, one by one, tackle each one of these random ingredients to free up some space and get out of my cooking comfort zone.  This week I honed in on some pine nuts and polenta I had stored and this is what I came up with: Non-dairy Creamy Herbed Polenta with Dijon Asparagus Herb Salad

See what I did there? I made it all fancy sounding when, actually, it's quite simple.  See for yourself:

Herbed Polenta:

I put 6 cups of water on to boil and then stirred in 1-1/2 cups of polenta, lowering the heat to med/low.  Stirring almost continuously it took about 20 minutes to become nice and tender (you may need to add more water if it thickens up too fast).  I then added salt, minced garlic, and chopped chives and rosemary.  I poured in about a cup of almond milk, 3 tablespoons dairy-free "butter" (I use Earth Balance), and 1/4-1/2 cup of nutritional yeast (adds a cheesy flavor).  I kept stirring and adding more almond milk until I reached the desired consistency.  It turned out pretty darn delicious, if I do say so myself. ;)

Dijon Asparagus Salad:

I whisked together 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 2 tbsp. dijon mustard, and 3 tbsp. olive oil.  I thinly sliced 1/4 of a red onion and mixed it in with with dressing.  Marinating onions will remove their bite.  I chopped up equal amounts of chives, basil and cilantro (about 1/4 cup each) and added them to the dressing as well.  I steamed about 1-1/2 pounds of asparagus after cutting them into 2-inch pieces.  Once tender, I rinsed them in cold water to cool them off and stop the cooking process.  I toasted about 1/2 cup of pine nuts and then tossed everything together with some sea salt.  I serve it cold and it actually paired really well with the polenta.

There you go! See what you can dig up in your pantry; it's fun! :)

***Polenta dish cleaning tip: soak in cold water and it comes right off.

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