Black Bean Skillet Scramble with Cheesy Polenta
5 from 2 votes

  Black bean skillet scramble and cheesy polenta // Choosing Raw

I like all of my meals far too much to make such bold statements as “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But I do love breakfast a lot. I’ve always loved breakfast. As a kid, I relished Cream of Wheat and oats. In college, I loved swinging by the campus coffee hub for a grainy morning glory muffin (which wasn’t vegan, but I’ve veganized a recipe of my own in years since). When I went vegan, I learned how to make killer bowls of oatmeal, tofu scrambles, all sorts of porridges employing ancient grains, and of course, my beloved bowls of chia pudding.

I think my attachment to breakfast is all the greater because it was a meal I sacrificed during my orthorexic period. I became persuaded that I had to delay eating for as long as possible each day (not an uncommon position in certain detox-oriented, raw food philosophies—the idea is that one’s first meal will interrupt nighttime “detox” mode, oy) and did my best to sip juice till lunchtime. It was terrible, and I was always ravenous, staring at the clock and hoping the minutes would pass quickly until I gave myself permission to eat. In the years since my recovery, I’ve welcomed back breakfast with gusto, giving it the same thought and attention that I give to lunch or dinner.

Black bean skillet scramble and cheesy polenta // Choosing Raw

In spite of my devotion to my morning meal, I’m prone to breakfast ruts. I think most of us are: we find something that works with our schedules, and we stick to it. As someone who works from home part of the time, I’m in the happy position of being able to prepare different kinds of breakfasts in my own kitchen, and lately, I’m trying to take advantage of that freedom with more breakfast variety, and especially more savory breakfasts (tostadas, breakfast bowls, and, most recently, quiche).

Black bean skillet scramble and cheesy polenta // Choosing Raw

Today’s recipe is a perfect example of a savory breakfast that’s incredibly flavorful and filling, but also easy to make. Sure, it may not be a go-to option on a busy weekday if you’re rushing out the door, but it’s not a hassle, either. The polenta cooks up pretty quickly (I’ve always found that cooking polenta on the stovetop is faster than most recipes suggest—20 minutes, tops), and the skillet couldn’t be simpler, especially if you have canned black beans at home. The flavors are bold, thanks to pepper and spice, and the resulting dish is hot and filling. Perfect for a weekend, or for a busy day.

Black bean skillet scramble and cheesy polenta // Choosing Raw

Black bean skillet scramble and cheesy polenta // Choosing Raw
5 from 2 votes

Black Bean Skillet Scramble with Cheesy Polenta

Author - Gena Hamshaw


*For the Polenta*:

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup polenta
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or Earth Balance
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

*For the Black Bean Skillet Scramble*:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow or white onion chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper chopped finely (optional)
  • 1 cup corn fresh or frozen and thawed
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • 2 ½ cups cooked black beans
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 cup loosely packed washed and chopped cilantro


  • Prepare the polenta. Heat the vegetable broth in a medium or large pot until it comes to a boil. Add the salt. Lower it to a simmer. Whisk in the polenta.
  • Cook the polenta, stirring frequently. It will bubble and spatter aggressively, so you may want to wear an oven mitt as you do this! Once the polenta has the texture of a thick gruel or porridge, it’s ready. Stir in the Earth Balance or olive oil, the nutritional yeast, and a dash of black pepper. Set the polenta aside.
  • Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and peppers. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are clear and soft and fragrant and the peppers are tender, about 5-8 minutes. If the mixture dries out as you sauté it, simply add a few tablespoons of water. Add the corn and cook for another two minutes. Add the coriander, chili, paprika, cinnamon, and pepper flakes, and give everything a nice stir.
  • Stir in the black beans and lime juice. Continue mixing until everything is hot and well incorporated. Check and adjust seasonings to taste.
  • To serve, divide the polenta into four bowls. Top each with a generous serving of the bean mixture, and then sprinkle a quarter cup of cilantro over the mixture. If you like, you can top each bowl with some sliced avocado or a nice, generous drizzle of my cashew queso sauce.

Are there more exotic ways to prepare polenta than this? Sure. I particularly love to stir in roasted garlic or chopped greens. But this recipe is all about ease, and this polenta tastes perfectly lovely without too many added ingredients. Steven happens to be a polenta fiend, and I use the recipe above as a base for plenty of meals, from chilis to stews to vegetable ragouts.

 Black bean skillet scramble and cheesy polenta // Choosing Raw

If you’ve been in a breakfast rut of your own, perhaps this recipe will encourage you to venture into new territories. The polenta alone is a wonderful breakfast idea, and it’s so incredibly versatile.

Black bean skillet scramble and cheesy polenta // Choosing Raw

On that note, it’s time for me to sit down to my own morning meal, and get to work. I’ll return tomorrow with a fabulous new giveaway, so tune in soon!


P.S. If you’re into the bean scramble idea, check out my equally tasty (and easy) chickpea scramble!

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Categories: Recipes, Main Dishes, Savory, Scrambles & Hashes
Method: Stovetop
Ingredients: Black Beans
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Meal Prep

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    I’m an okay cook, but I tend to not love my own cooking. This, however, I LOVE. Eating it right now and it’s phenomenal!!! Thanks so much for this great recipe. 🙂

  2. Made this for dinner last night and it was delicious! Simple ingredients, great flavor and easy to make!

  3. I don’t consider myself in a breakfast rut… but I haven’t had anything this exciting in quite a while. Sounds like a great way to start the day!

  4. this looks great. Polenta is one of those things for me where some days I like it a lot, other days I can’t face it. Black beans are my favourite and anything ‘cheesy’ so this is a recipe I know I’ll enjoy 🙂

  5. I just finished making this. Hubby wasn’t sure he was going to like it. After eating, he declares he wants to eat this all week. A huge hit with us. Thanks.

  6. I too love breakfast, but not always to eat it at 7 AM. I was for a long long time a “three meals a day” person, it was very key to my recovery, finding that way of eating (whatever I wanted at meal time, nothing at all in between). It gave me a kind of structure on the one hand (because I went through a “messy” period a few years into my eating disorder, that was psychically disorienting) and a kind of taste of non-restrictive eating on other (because I did allow myself to eat what I wanted as long as it was in confines of a “meal’). Anyhow … while this is still the way I eat, more than half the time, I don’t any longer eat breakfast on awakening, and haven’t in a while. I am totally down with this concept of “eating when hunger ensues naturally” which *might* be 6 AM but is far more likely to be 10 or 11 AM or even 2 PM. So just in the way I would *never* advocate ignoring hunger signals (as you did in your juice sipping days), I no longer feel this pressure to eat normally (as in, on a normal schedule) or that it’s somehow a marker of my recovery so that if I skip breakfast and lunch, for one reason or another, I”m “relapsing.” As if. I don’t actually have an orthorexic bone in my body, if I’m not eating, it has NOTHING to do with detox, it’s just because I’m not hungry and believe me I make up for it at dinner.

    That was a long diversion, my real point in commenting was to say that despite not eating “breakfast” until later in the day, breakfast foods are FAR AND AWAY my favorites, and I see nothing wrong with eating smoothies, juices, mangoes, fruit/cashew cream parfaits, chia puddings, avocado puddings, infinite porridge variations, pancakes, French toast, granola, etc. etc. etc. at other mealtimes. While oatmeal for dinner feels a bit weird and I haven’t done that yet, I’ve certainly eaten all the above for “lunch” and even very late lunch on a zillion occasions. Here’s to breakfast!

  7. I’ve been a sweet breakfast person for a long time, but I’m trying to cut back on sugar and get some more vegetables in my diet. I made polenta for breakfast the last time my celiac sister came to visit, and it was so good! I ate mine with peas, olive oil and lemon zest, and she topped hers with leftover pasta sauce (she hates peas).

    Love the idea of this bean skillet to add more protein along with the vegetables– and it could be a make-ahead breakfast if you don’t mind eating firmer polenta!

  8. Oh, this looks so good! I immediately printed it out, and it will be breakfast on Sunday!

  9. Hi Gena–yum, yum, YUM!! I love this treatment and pairing of polenta with spicy black beans. And I so agree with you that it doesn’t take nearly as long to cook polenta on the stove top as some recipes suggest. I am a bit of a polenta fiend myself. I even wrote a sonnet/recipe for how to cook it, which I posted a couple of years ago during April, which is National Poetry Month. Since it’s that time again, I’ll post the link here–polenta can be poetry, and so can recipes! 🙂 Thanks for reminding me xoxo

  10. I don’t make soft polenta nearly enough for breakfast. Lovely.

    One of my favorite things about vegan cooking is that bean and creamy grain dishes make gorgeous breakfasts or dinners. (Lots of vegan skillets, really. We’re not hemmed in by having a giant hunk of protein define the plate and signify that this is “dinner.”) And they’re totally ideal for brunch (which makes it even more frustrating that brunch menus in my town are so unfriendly to vegans). Leftovers, in general, are enormously flexible. And this one looks right up my fussy-eater boyfriend’s alley, too. <3