Spanish Polenta and Butter Beans

crock pot polenta with spinach and red peppers healthy dinner

Spanish Polenta and Butter Beans gluten free recipe. The ultimate spanish comfort food – you will not be disappointed with this mildly flavored, creamy textured dish.  Polenta can be time consuming to make with lots of stirring over the stove top.  This recipe calls for using a slow cooker instead.  This means no long bouts of stirring and no lumps!  For an even quicker and easier version, purchase 2 prepared tubes of polenta.



2 cups whole grain cornmeal
6 cups boiling vegetable or chicken broth
salt to taste (if using bullion
for broth, no salt needed)


2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 red pepper, diced
1 15-oz can butter beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups raw spinach, packed
¾ cup vegetable broth
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
½ cup shredded Monterey jack cheese (or vegan cheese)
salt and pepper to taste


PREPARE POLENTA: Spray the walls of a slow cooker crock with non-stick spray and sprinkle in the cornmeal.  Add the boiling broth and whisk until lump free.  Cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 7-9  hours until very thick.  Pour and spread into a large bread pan, casserole dish, or baking sheet, sprayed with a non-stick spray, and refrigerate until completely cooled and “set.” This may take a few hours.
SAUTE POLENTA: Dice polenta into ½ inch cubes.  Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat, place polenta cubes in a single layer, and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes or until starting to brown.  Transfer to a dish and set aside.  You may need to do this in 2 batches.
MAKE BUTTER BEAN SPINACH MIXTURE: In the same large saute pan, reduce heat to medium, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and garlic and stir for about 30 seconds.  Add onion and red pepper and cook for 3 minutes or just until tender.  Stir in beans, spinach and vegetable broth and cook until spinach is wilted – about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in vinegar and cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
FINISH: Place a layer of polenta cubes on each plate and top with butter bean spinach mixture.

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