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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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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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. 🙂
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Stephanie! Thanks for letting me know 🙂
Made this today, absolutely delish, thanks.
Made this for dinner last night and it was delicious! Simple ingredients, great flavor and easy to make!
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!
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 🙂
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.
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!
this looks super tasty!! yumm
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!
I have to make this dish for myself & my vegetarian family. It looks super delicious and comforting – whilst being easy to make too. Perfect for the cool Autumn weather as well!
Oh, this looks so good! I immediately printed it out, and it will be breakfast on Sunday!
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
Yes!! I am all about a savory breakfast. This > pancakes any day!
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