This southwestern inspired recipe is perfect for any family meal or holiday gathering.
Before starting the veggies and polenta, soak the cashews in hot water. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the recipe. The cashew cream can also be made ahead of time.
When you are finished preparing the other ingredients, place the cashews, water, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until creamy.
Add the onion to a skillet with 2-3 tsp. of heated oil. Add the garlic to the onions, once they have softened a bit and stir. Add the mushrooms, spreading them out so that they are all touching the cooking surface (mushrooms need room to breathe). Once the mushrooms have started to soften and brown a little, add the peppers. Stir well and then add the beans. Stir again and add the chili flakes, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and until heated through. Set aside.
Add the salt and oil to the boiling water, then add the corn meal (polenta). As soon as you add the polenta, turn the heat down to low and stir to remove any lumps. The mixture will get very hot and bubbly very quickly, so put a lid on loosely to keep it from splattering. Stir frequently for about 10 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed and the polenta is nice and creamy. Pour the polenta evenly into a square baking dish.
Spread the veggie mixture on top of the polenta in the baking dish. Pour the cashew cream over everything. Add some vegan cheese shreds on top if desired. Bake at 350F for 20 - 25 minutes, then broil for 3 minutes to brown the top. Don’t over broil – it will burn your creation!
Enjoy with avocado or guacamole, hot sauce, and a dollop of vegan sour cream (you could make cashew sour cream if you like!)