Catalan Sauteed Polenta & Butter Beans

Catalan Sauteed Polenta & Butter Beans

35 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, October/November 2006

This dish is a satisfying vegetarian meal complete with spinach, beans and polenta, inspired by classic Spanish flavors. Note: Look for smoked paprika with other specialty spices; it's available in three varieties: sweet, bittersweet and hot. Sweet is the most versatile, but if you like a little bit of heat, choose the hot variety. You can find Spanish products in specialty-foods stores or online at Make it a Meal: Enjoy with a green salad tossed with sherry vinaigrette and a glass of Jean-Luc Colombo Côtes du Rhône.

Ingredients 4 servings

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  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 16-ounce tube prepared plain polenta, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 clove garlic,minced
  • 1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ teaspoon paprika, preferably smoked, plus more for garnish (see Note)
  • 1 15-ounce can butter beans, rinsed
  • 4 cups packed baby spinach
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth
  • ½ cup shredded Manchego or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add polenta and cook in a single layer, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garlic to the pan, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring, until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in beans, spinach and broth; cook, stirring, until the beans are heated through and the spinach is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in cheese and vinegar. Serve vegetables over polenta. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired.
  • Smoked paprika is available in three varieties: sweet, bittersweet and hot. Sweet is the most versatile, but choose hot if you like a bit of heat. Find it in well-stocked supermarkets or specialty-foods stores.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 1½ cups
  • Per serving: 221 calories; 9 g fat(3 g sat); 5 g fiber; 28 g carbohydrates; 10 g protein; 102 mcg folate; 13 mg cholesterol; 3 g sugars; 5,170 IU vitamin A; 53 mg vitamin C; 182 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 638 mg sodium; 659 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (103% daily value), Vitamin C (88% dv), Folate (26% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 2
  • Exchanges: 1½ starch, 1 vegetable, 1 lean meat, 1 fat

Reviews 35

July 10, 2018
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By: Marilyn
I have yet to make this, but am considering for tonight. Could cubed summer squash/zucchini be used for the spinach?
April 16, 2017
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By: TexasToque
This was a delicious concoction of vegetables, okay as a vegetarian meal, and would have been great as a side dish with a meat protein, or as a warm "salad" with some crunchy bacon on top. Will use sun-dried tomato polenta next time though.
October 03, 2016
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By: Linda Just
Yummy! This was the first time I used polenta, and I loved it! I used Trader Joe's organic polenta - it was so affordable - I think I paid less than $2 for a roll. I didn't have the sherry vinegar, so I added a bit of red wine and apple vinegar. A nice vegetarian choice, and easy to make.
September 22, 2014
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By: Debra Wallin
Satisfaction I love this recipe, it is so satisfying for me and I do not miss meat a bit when I eat it. Pros: Delish! Cons: Can't think of any
May 06, 2013
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By: Ida Crombine
Loved it! I never use pre-made polenta, I buy non-GMO ground polenta. After that chilled in an 8x8 pan, it was cut into triangles and sauteed. I added some grape tomatoes, otherwise followed the recipe to a T. My husband and I ate in silence that night! So good. The next night the leftovers were chopped and used to top a homemade whole wheat pizza crust. Two fantastic meals, one recipe! A keeper for sure. Pros: Beautiful colors,lots of easy to find veggies, versatile
April 01, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Fabulous twist on beans and greens This was a wonderfully tasty and filling meal. I omitted the oil and the cheese. I made polenta ahead of time, and put two squares in a 400% oven to get crispy on the outside. I made butter beans this week, so this recipe was a great way to use them. I substituted kale for the spinach -- fantastic! I seasoned it with plenty of paprika and Mrs. Dash, and also with another dash of vinegar (I prefer seasoned rice vinegar) and -- a little sriracha sauce. I will definitely be making this often. It is company good! Pros: simple preparation, wonderful flavors, high nutrition, easy to adapt Cons: not enough leftovers!
June 25, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
Delicious. Healthy. Easy. Vegetarian I've made this at least 5 times. I usually omit the sherry vinegar and the cheese and add an extra pepper. PERFECT for a vegetarian. I love it. I do the polenta in one pan and the rest in another so I can cook them at the same time.
October 15, 2011
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By: yanagi302
Hearty Vegetarian Dish with a lot of Potential For some reason, I was craving beans last night, so I Googled for bean recipes, and I stumbled upon Catalan Sauteed Polenta and Butter Beans. I cooked it up exactly as written, and found it to be very nearly tasty. Something was missing, and I had a feeling it was spices. The only spice this recipe calls for is paprika, which can't cancel out the blandness of the butter beans on its own. The beans are hearty and have a great texture for sure, but they don't contribute much flavor on their own. The next morning, I decided I'd try to spice up the leftovers before I committed to tossing them. I added more paprika, more vinegar, lots of salt and pepper, and I threw in some chili flakes for some heat. I added some more cheese and held my was good! All this dish needed was a little more seasoning, and it turned into a very delicious vegetarian meal! I definitely won't say that the original recipe posted is bad. I just use a lot more spices and seasoning in my cooking, and the lack thereof initially was a little off-putting. However, if you're not a fan of spicy food, the paprika will probably be just enough for you. This would be a great recipe on a cold evening. It warms you up and fills you up, and it's quick and easy to make. The ingredients are very affordable, too. All in all, good job on this one! Pros: This dish contains a ton of yummy, healthy ingredients and is surprisingly hearty for a vegetarian me
August 28, 2011
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By: govinda8
Well-balanced and full of flavor I made a few modifications to this recipe, and it's one of the best things I've made from I used a green onion and cilantro polenta because that's what the store had. I sprinkled it with salt and pepper and baked at 425 for about 30 minutes to get it firmed up. I also added a mix of sweet and hot paprika and doubled the amounts. The sweetness of the pepper works really well with the creaminess of the beans and polenta. Mine was a little brothy because the spinach released so much water. I think next time I'll cut back on the veg. broth. This recipe really is perfect. It's very filling, tastes great and is still low calorie. Pros: good mix of veg and protein
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