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Quick Pumpkin Polenta with Kale {Vegan, Gluten-Free}

pumpkin polenta 1

Like my recipe today, this post is quick and easy.

I spent a few hours this morning finishing up Nick’s Halloween costume. On a scale of 1-10 on craftiness, I am about a 2.5, but I nevertheless found a cute, and (seemingly easy) costume–a crocodile wrestler–that instantly became the object of Nick’s desire.

It would have been much easier if I had started it last week–when I purchased the supplies–but one thing piled atop another, and as of this morning, I had yet to begin. But I am proud to report that the foam crocodile is drying in the back yard (after I blew it dry with my hair dryer for 30 minutes to get the ball rolling). Don’t worry, I’ll take pictures.

Needless to say, there is not much time for cooking today, and chances are, the same is true in your house.. But we all need to eat something before (or after) the festivities, and I have just the meal: pumpkin polenta with sauteed kale.

This is an under 15 minutes to the table kind of dinner (an electric can opener may shave off another 30 seconds; running through the kitchen–not recommended, but sometimes unavoidable–may cut it to a cool 12 minutes.)

Yes you can add a bit of sage or thyme to the polenta. If you are not vegan, feel free to top with some shavings or crumbles of Parmesan, Gruyere, goat cheese, feta, or any other cheese fragments lingering in the fridge (you can add a bit of bacon, ham or tofu, too). You will be so happy you made this. Happy Halloween!

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Quick Pumpkin Polenta with Kale {Vegan, Gluten-Free}

  • Author: Camilla
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 3 cups water, divided
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 11/2 cups plain milk (nondairy or dairy)
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 11/2 cups canned unsweetened pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch curly kale, cleaned, tough stems removed, and chopped
  • Fine sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: roasted pumpkin seeds
  • If not vegan: grated cheese (e.g., Parmesan, Smoked Gouda, White Cheddar)


  1. In a small bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups water with cornmeal until blended.
  2. Bring remaining 1-1/2 cups water, milk, salt, and pepper to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cornmeal mixture, immediately whisking to combine. Reduce heat to low; whisk polenta for 5 to 10 minutes until thickened.
  3. Whisk in pumpkin; whisk 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the kale; cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes until wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve polenta with kale on top and (optional) pumpkin seeds.
  • Category: Dinner


  • Calories: 251
  • Sugar: 7.7 g
  • Sodium: 122 mg
  • Fat: 4.3 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 44.4 g
  • Fiber: 6.0 g
  • Protein: 10.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 2 mg
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