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Asparagus & Cashews with Green Polenta
Ingredients
Directions
Ingredients
1 c
coarse cornmeal
Jump
Kosher salt
Jump
2 lb
asparagus
Jump
1 ½ c
cashews
Jump
3 tbsp
extra-virgin olive oil
Jump
¼ c
nutritional yeast
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Asparagus & Cashews with Green Polenta

Polenta often earns its creaminess from butter or cheese or both. This vegan version needs neither. Instead, cashews and asparagus are blanched until soft, then whirled into a satiny puree you’ll want to lap up by the bowlful. Don’t. Swirl it into the warm polenta, which has a can’t-put-your-finger-on-it cheesiness, courtesy of nutritional yeast. You could call this dinner and done—but, better to use all of these ingredients once more. Stir-fry asparagus and cashews until glowy and golden, then toss with more nutritional yeast because once you start, it’s hard to stop. You’ll see.

4 servings

  1. Combine the cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, and 5 cups (1.2L) water in a pot and set over medium-high heat to come to a boil, whisking often. When it starts to boil, drop the heat to low, cover the pot, and set a timer for 40 minutes. Every 5 minutes, whisk the polenta.
  2. Meanwhile, set a pot with 4 cups (950ml) water over medium-high heat. Separate the asparagus into two groups: 1 ¼ pounds (570g) and 12 ounces (340g). Trim the woody ends. Chop the bigger group into 2-inch (5cm) pieces, and chop the smaller group into 1-inch (2.5cm) pieces.
  3. When the water reaches a boil, generously season it with salt. Add the smaller group of asparagus plus ½ cup (70g) of the cashews. Cook for 5 minutes, until tender, then use a spider to transfer the asparagus and cashews to a blender. Add ¼ cup (60ml) of the blanching liquid. With the keyhole in the lid open and a towel pressed on top, blend until smooth. Season with salt to taste. Cover to keep warm.
  4. Set your largest skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil. When it’s hot, add the remaining asparagus and a couple pinches of salt. Cook, tossing as little as possible, until the asparagus is starting to char and is crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Dump the asparagus onto a plate and lower the heat to medium-low. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the remaining 1 cup (140g) cashews, and a pinch of salt. Cook, tossing frequently, until the cashews are toasty, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn off the heat and return the asparagus to the skillet. Drizzle with oil, add 2 tablespoons of the nutritional yeast, and toss. Season with salt to taste.
  5. When the polenta is done (smooth and thick, with no residual crunch), whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast and season with salt to taste. Divide the polenta among four bowls. Top evenly with the asparagus-cashew puree in polka dots, then use a spoon to swirl. Top each portion with the sautéed asparagus and cashews.