Cavero Nero, Kale and hazelnut polenta

Denise says:

  • This dish makes a wonderful accompaniment to any main course or keep vegan and enjoy as it is!  I love the soft and silky consistency of polenta when first cooked – a real comfort dish.
  • Preparation Time:  25 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 40 minutes
  • Serves:  4 people -side dish  2 for main course


  • 100g shallots or small onions  – peeled and cut into quarters
  • 400g butternut squash – peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic – peeled and crushed
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme – leaves only
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon -freshly grated nutmeg  -or to taste
  • 200g Cavolo Nero or curly kale –tough stalks removed
  • 1 lemon zest and juice
  • 50g hazelnuts -roughly chopped and toasted and roughly chopped
  • 700g vegetable stock
  • 150g fine polenta
  • 50ml almond milk
  • 50g cheddar cheese – optional or use vegan cheese


  1. Pre heat the oven to 200C/ Gas mark 6.
  2. Place the shallots or small onions into a large roasting tin lined with baking parchment paper. Add the squash, season well and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  3. Roast for 25 minutes.
  4. Add the thyme, garlic, chilli, nutmeg, cavolo nero, lemon zest and juice, season again and toss with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Return to the oven for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile bring the vegetable stock to the boil in a saucepan. Add the polenta in a thin steady stream whisking continuously.
  6. Cook for 2-3 minutes then add the milk and cheese if using. The polenta should have the consistency of mashed potato.
  7. Keep warm until ready to serve – the polenta will form a skin and thicken if left for too long so cover with some baking parchment paper and stir in some extra milk if required.
  8. To serve, pour the warm polenta onto a large serving platter and top with the roasted vegetables.
Garnish with more thyme leaves and a dusting of freshly ground black pepper.