Cauliflower & Chickpea Creamy Polenta Bowls with Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Sauce

Jump to Recipe Print Recipe

A hearty mix of cauliflower and chickpeas is simmered up in smoky, spicy sauce and served over creamy polenta to make these scrumptious and comforting vegan bowls.

It’s been a while since I posted a polenta bowl recipe. I never realized I had such a thing for polenta bowls, but they tend to make frequent appearances on this site, and I guess it’s been a while. Relatively speaking anyhow.

I got a craving recently and decided it was about time for more polenta. It is winter after all, and what better meal to enjoy than a piping hot bowl of stewy goodness over some creamy grits.

So, let’s talk about these bowls! The polenta part is pretty simple — I generally stick with my trusted formula of dried polenta cooked in a mix of broth and non-dairy milk. That gives the polenta a nice balance between savory flavor and creamy texture. I bet the stew portion of this recipe would be excellent over some pan-fried polenta from a tube though, so if you want to give that a try, go for it and let me know how it turns out.

For the stew portion of the dish I was going for something hearty and flavorful. You can’t go wrong with cauliflower and chickpeas when you’re looking for hearty, so that’s what I picked.

The sauce is where all the flavor comes in. Roasted red peppers and fire roasted tomatoes are key! You get lots of smoky flavor by using them. And then I spiced the stew with some paprika, cumin and a little bit of cayenne for heat. What was I going for here? Moroccan-ish? I’m not really sure, but in any event the flavors are delicious together: smoky and savory with just the right kick.

5 from 6 votes Print

Cauliflower & Chickpea Creamy Polenta Bowls with Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Sauce

A hearty mix of cauliflower and chickpeas is simmered up in smoky, spicy sauce and served over creamy polenta to make these scrumptious and comforting vegan bowls.

CourseEntree CuisineAmerican Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 25 minutes Total Time 40 minutes Servings 4 Calories 417 kcal Author Alissa Saenz


For the Stew

  • 1(12 ounce) jarroasted red peppers,drained
  • 1(14 ounce) canfire roasted tomatoes
  • 1tablespoonolive oil
  • 1medium onion, diced
  • 3garlic cloves, minced
  • 4cupscauliflower florets(about 1 large crown)
  • ½cup water
  • 2tablespoonstomato paste
  • 1tablespoonpaprika
  • 2teaspoonsground cumin
  • Pinchcayenne pepper(or to taste)
  • 2teaspoonsorganic granulated sugar
  • 1(14 ounce) canchickpeas,drained and rinsed
  • ½teaspoonsalt,plus more to taste
  • Black pepper to taste

For the Polenta

  • 1cuppolenta grits
  • 2-3cupsvegetable broth
  • 1cupunflavored and unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • Salt to taste


To Make the Stew

  1. Place the red peppers and tomatoes into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.

  2. Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute more, until very fragrant.

  3. Add the red pepper-tomato mixture to the pot, along with the cauliflower, water, tomato paste, paprika, cumin, cayenne, and sugar. Give everything a stir to incorporate, then raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer until the sauce thickens up a bit and the cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can add more water to the pot if needed while the stew simmers. Make the polenta (instructions below) while the stew simmers.

  4. Stir in the chickpeas and cook 1 to 2 minutes more, just until heated throughout. Remove from heat and stir in the salt. Taste test and add more to your liking, along with black pepper to taste.

To Make the Polenta

  1. While the stew simmers, stir together the polenta, milk, 2 cups of broth, and milk into a medium saucepan. Place it over medium heat and bring it to a boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, until thick and creamy, stirring occasionally. Add up to 1 additional cup of broth during cooking if the mixture becomes too thick.

  2. Remove the saucepan from heat and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Taste-test and season with salt to taste.

To Serve

  1. Divide the polenta among bowls and top with the stew. Serve.

Nutrition FactsCauliflower & Chickpea Creamy Polenta Bowls with Roasted Red Pepper Tomato SauceAmount Per ServingCalories 417Calories from Fat 60% Daily Value*Fat 6.7g10%Saturated Fat 0.9g5%Sodium 1072mg45%Potassium 1047mg30%Carbohydrates 76.4g25%Fiber 13g52%Sugar 14.8g16%Protein 14.8g30%Calcium 90mg9%Iron 5.9mg33%* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.« Poblano Pepper & Pinto Bean Cheesy Vegan QuesadillasVegan Mozzarella Sticks »

Sharing is caring!

I am having some friends over later and just made this. It turned out great. Very
Creamy and a great blend of flavors.


  • Just made this last night- finally- and it was delicious!! Enough for two very hungry adults plus enough leftover for lunch. Wouldn’t change a thing.


    • One of my friends hates cauliflower and I once cook your recipe for her, I didn’t even bother telling her what is it, and her reaction was priceless! she loves it! who will not love this right, very tasty and creamy plus its healthy Thanks for sharing this one.


      • Hi there!
        Sorry I have been mistaken. I just left a post saying I thought it was the fired tomatoes giving the dish too much heat. I put in a tiny dash of this new hot sauce I bought and had no idea how hat it really was. I just realized it was the hot sauce cause I used I tiny amount in my pasta and it was SO hot. I’m sorry, Please don’t ad that post! Otherwise, I love the work you are doing! We have made your mushroom dip a couple of times and LOVE it! I found a ciabatta whole grain baguette that works really well!
        Thank you so much!


        • This was amazing! The hibs wouldn’t even try it… I’m ok with that, all the leftovers for me!


          • Thanks for this recipe! I’m home from my first semester of college and had really been craving this interesting chickpea/polenta dish they had at the dining hall– it was driving me CRAZY not being able to find a recipe for something so specific, but thankfully I finally found your page! It was delicious, and I’ll definitely be making it again 🙂


          • Hi, I’m Alissa! I’m a former attorney turned professional food blogger. I love creating vegan recipes with bold flavors!

            More about me →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *