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Corn Spinach Polenta Triangles, Refried Beans & Mexican Salsa

Corn Spinach Polenta Mexican Feast

Dinner, Vegan, World Cuisine | 22nd July 2016 | By

The first time I remember eating Mexican food was in that well-known Hispanic enclave, Loughborough, when I was a student many years ago. In those days, even tortilla chips were hard to get hold of and I felt quite hip eating such an unusual cuisine. I fell in love with the vibrant punchy flavours and have never looked back. These corn spinach polenta triangles may not be authentic Mexican cuisine, but they are certainly inspired by it.

It was a few years later when I first came across polenta and I’ve been using it ever since. These corn spinach polenta triangles are a staple I’ve been making  since before I met CT. Sometimes I leave out the veg and add cheese to the mix, sometimes I include both. Spinach works brilliantly with the polenta as it cooks so fast. This time I actually used Swiss chard instead as that’s what I had on hand and that worked fine too. Likewise sweetcorn doesn’t take long to cook. I used frozen this time, but fresh or tinned are fine. I also added fresh red chilli manzano for a little heat and colour.

Corn Spinach Polenta

Once the polenta has cooked, it can be eaten straight away as a sort of Mexican porridge, but if you pour it into a dish of some kind and leave it to go cold, it will set firm. It can then be cut into pieces of whatever shape or size you desire. Brush the pieces with a little olive oil and grill or roast them. You can also fry them, which is what I did this time. Frying, grilling or baking, gives them a crisp outer layer with a soft, almost creamy inside.

Corn Spinach Polenta Triangles 2

Truth be told, it was Mexican food that first bought CT to my attention. Mutual friends had invited us both over for a feast of homemade tortillas, beans, salsa, guacamole and more. They’d thought we might get on and wanted to introduce us. As it turned out, CT was unable to make the dinner and we didn’t in fact get to meet until a year later. His name was muddier than the Rio Grande, but he eventually made things right.

Mexican Refried Beans

A spicy tomato sauce is my usual accompaniment to corn spinach polenta, but when I placed my order with Suma last month I very much had a Mexican feast in mind. I ordered polenta, black beans, chilli chocolate, cumin and coriander. Refried beans are a regular in the Tin and Thyme household and as a result we get through quite a lot of black beans; rather than buy tins which work out to be rather expensive, I like to buy packs of dried beans, cook them in the slow cooker, divide into tin sized portions and keep in the freezer until needed. ร“rale!

Suma Mexican Ingredients

You can’t have a Mexican feast without salsa of course. We used to grow tomatillos which made authentic Mexican salsas nice and easy, but we’ve not had much luck with them recently. This salsa is made of cucumber, tomatoes, spring onions, avocado and cilantro and is dressed simply with lime. I topped the refried beans with feta cheese and served sour cream alongside, but if you want to keep this vegan, neither of these are necessary. I’ve given quantities to feed four people, although I only made enough beans and salsa for two. The corn spinach polenta keeps well in the fridge for a few days and can be fried when needed.

Mexican Salsa

Corn Spinach Polenta Triangles, Refried Beans & Mexican Salsa
Serves 4
Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, these sweetcorn spinach polenta triangles make a great base for refried black beans. Serve with a zingy Mexican salsa. Keep it plant based or add feta cheese and soured cream if liked.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
40 min
Polenta
  1. 150g polenta
  2. 650ml water
  3. pinch sea salt
  4. handful spinach (or Swiss chard leaves) - roughly chopped
  5. 1 small red chilli - deseeded and finely chopped
  6. 100g sweetcorn (fresh, frozen or tinned)
  7. 1 tbsp olive oil.
Refried beans
  1. 1 tbsp olive oil
  2. 4 cloves garlic (I used fresh garlic)
  3. 1 tsp ground coriander
  4. 1 tsp ground cumin
  5. ยฝ tsp oregano
  6. 200g dried black beans or 2 tins
  7. salt & pepper to taste
  8. 100ml water
  9. 4 squares dark chilli chocolate (15g)
  10. a few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) - roughly chopped
  11. 100g feta cheese crumbled (optional)
Salsa
  1. ยผ cucumber - cubed into 1 cm pieces
  2. 4 ripe tomatoes - cubed into 1 cm pieces
  3. 4 spring onions - sliced
  4. 1 avocado - peeled, destoned and cubed into 1 cm pieces
  5. a few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) - roughly chopped
  6. 1 lime - juiced
Polenta
  1. Bring the water and salt to boil in a large (ish) pan and trickle in the polenta stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon or whisk all the time.
  2. Add the spinach, corn and chilli and keep stirring.
  3. Keep it just simmering and continue to stir for about five minutes or until the mixture is thick and no longer looks grainy.
  4. Pour into a 20 or 22 cm sq mould or oiled tin and leave for an hour or so to cool and set.
  5. Cut into 8 triangles.
  6. Fry over medium heat in olive oil for 4 minutes or so. Turn and fry the other side.
Refried beans
  1. Meanwhile, fry the garlic gently in the oil for a minute or two, then add the cumin and coriander. Fry for a further minute, then add the beans, oregano, seasoning and water.
  2. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and add the chocolate.
  3. Mash roughly with a potato masher and turn out into a bowl.
  4. Scatter with the coriander leaves and feta if using.
Salsa
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir. Leave for 10 minutes for the flavours to marinade.
  2. Serve with lime wedges & sour cream if liked.
Notes
  1. Polenta needs at least an hour to cool and set before frying.
  2. Quantities can easily be scaled up or down as required.
Tin and Thyme http://tinandthyme.uk/
Suma Bloggers NetworkThese corn spinach polenta triangles with refried beans are my fifth recipe for the Suma Bloggerโ€™ Network.

 

 

Meat Free MondaysI’m sending these off to Tinned Tomatoes for Meat Free Mondays too.

 

Other vegetarian Mexican recipes you might like

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Dom
    22nd July 2016

    oooh, these look wonderful. I know exactly what you mean about polenta. I’ve only started using it myself so it still feels like a discovery. This is very inspiring and I love the addition of the spinach x

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      23rd July 2016

      Ah Dom, are you back from your hole? I like to get greens into a meal if I can and this is such an easy way to do it.

  2. Leave a Reply

    Jenn
    22nd July 2016

    I am loving the sound of that salsa. What a great idea to add cucumbers! Will be perfect for all those cakes I’ve got grieving in my garden! Thanks for linking up my Mexican Sloppy Joes!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      23rd July 2016

      Cucumbers are wonderful when the weather is hot particularly Jenn, so they make a good addition to a summer salsa.

  3. Leave a Reply

    Sarah, Maison Cupcake
    23rd July 2016

    Wow! I love polenta but don’t eat it often enough and am very tempting pairing it with my beloved pulses. I need to check out the Suma site as it seems they do lots of products I’d love.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th July 2016

      I go through phases of using polenta, I’m definitely on a run at the moment. Suma have a massive range of products. I have been known to take their catalogue to bed as a nighttime read ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Leave a Reply

    Angela / Only Crumbs Remain
    23rd July 2016

    It’s absolutely ages since OH & I had polenta for a meal, definitely going to have to remedy that Choclette….and served with the salsa and refried beans with feta Mmmm – love it!
    Angela x

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th July 2016

      Yes, I go through phases of eating it. I’m in one now and really enjoying it. It was a delicious meal ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th July 2016

      Thanks Becca. Refried beans are so good. We normally eat it with corn chips, so this makes a nice change.

  5. Leave a Reply

    Kari
    24th July 2016

    I really love Mexican food, and this looks like a delicious feast. I usually make my beans in a slow cooker, too – after boiling over on the stove too often, I find it to be the way to go!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th July 2016

      Thanks Kari. Slow cookers are brilliant for cooking beans, especially when you’re cooking them in bulk. I love bold flavours and Mexican food has plenty of those.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th July 2016

      Thanks Nayna. I really ought to make it more often. It’s so easy and flavoursome.

  6. Leave a Reply

    Johanna @ Green Gourmet Giraffe
    25th July 2016

    I love mexican food – though probably didn’t when I left home as I didn’t have much experience of it – now this post makes me think I need to have some polenta in a mexican night soon – we don’t do polenta enough and I love the stuff – so comforting when warm and porridgy but also great grilled the next day and perfect for mexican

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th July 2016

      It’s such a versatile substance, I find it really useful. I made ‘lasagne’ with it once, which was quite interesting. It went quite soft, but just about held together.

  7. Leave a Reply

    Camilla
    25th July 2016

    Wow, what a lush meal! I have never made my own polenta and have only ever had it once at party made by the Italian host many years ago! Must put this right soon!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th July 2016

      It’s funny the differences in the ingredients we all use. I’ve been cooking with polenta for so long, I sort of assumed everyone used it.

  8. Leave a Reply

    Kerry at Kerry Cooks
    25th July 2016

    What a Mexican feast! Amazing – I’ve always found polenta a little bland so I bet they’re much better with mexican flavours

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th July 2016

      Polenta is mostly a vehicle for soaking up flavours, or that’s what I reckon anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Leave a Reply

    nadia
    25th July 2016

    Looks yummy! I’ve only used polenta in sweet recipes so far but I really want to experiment with it in savoury recipes. Sounds so good together with the beans and salsa! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th July 2016

      Ah, you’re in for some fun Nadia. It’s a great vehicle for carrying flavours, but although it’s mostly eaten as a ‘porridge’, the fact you can make it into solid shapes makes it doubly useful.

  10. Leave a Reply

    Kate | The Veg Space
    26th July 2016

    These look fabulous Choclette, love the idea of chard & sweetcorn in crispy polenta, and the spicy salsa and refried beans sound fab. What a treat – my kinda food! Thanks for including my Chilli.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      26th July 2016

      Thanks Kate. One of the things I like about this is that you can make up a mass of polenta to last for a few days and then have an easy supper for a few days.

  11. Leave a Reply

    Kate - gluten free alchemist
    27th July 2016

    That’s a perfect Mexican feast! Shall I come round now???
    I have never been a great fan of refried beans….. but these look amazing! May be time to temp myself into a re-try!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      27th July 2016

      Oh no Kate. I love refried beans, but it must be said they wouldn’t be the same without sour cream, cheese, avocado etc etc ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. Leave a Reply

    Randolph Holub
    21st August 2016

    I have tried 2-3 of your recipes by now and they turned out to be so tasty. My husband loved all of them. I would love to try these yummy Tacos as well,,,I love Mexican food. Thank you!! Thank you for dropping by my blog.Hope you enjoyed reading the recipes.Your feedback and comments are appreciated. Comments with links to external sites will be deleted.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      29th August 2016

      Thank you. Would love to see a picture if you make any more of my recipes.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      17th June 2017

      Ooh yes Tracey, that sounds like a lovely combination. Let me know how you get on.

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