Goat Cheese Polenta with Basil Almond Pesto & Pan Fried Chickpeas [For one]


Wyatt is off at a Black Sabbath concert tonight . No, I’m not sure why – he’s not a 60 year old fan or a metal head of any kinds [but this is beside the point]. The point is that I’m here alone tonight. I decide to have a sort of girl’s night…with myself. Yoga, red wine, and a chick flick (Bridesmaids to be exact…hey, don’t judge! Everyone ALWAYS references it and I have no idea what they are ever talking about). This is a special treat because I usually get suckered into alien, death-centric, action flicks and a case of beer.

This also meant I was on my own for dinner this evening. Any normal American would have probably just got Chinese take-out but I was excited by the thought of not having to worry about another person’s needs / preferences. Both polenta and chickpeas are two things Wyatt isn’t really that crazy about – and I totally disagree. I personally don’t think there could ever be anything wrong with a big bowl of corn creaminess that takes on the subtle flavor of whatever cheese you decide to melt into it. And as for chickpeas – give me them anyway you’d like: blended, roasted, sautéed, or panfried.

Needless to say, I’ve settled in for the night with this big polenta bowl and my boxer dog, Tuko. If you need us – we’ll be over here watching some girls relieve themselves in wedding dresses because of some bad Mexican food they ate (gross! Sorry, Bridesmaids reference?)

When pan frying the chickpeas, make sure you use just a big enough skillet so that they can lay evenly in one layer but not so big that you have to use half your bottle of oil. And as for the pesto, I’ve been into using kale (since it grows like wildflowers in my garden) but went with basil on this one since it’s finally basil season – feel free to use whatever leafy green you have on hand!




Goat Cheese Polenta with Basil Almond Pesto & Pan Fried Chickpeas

  • 1 cup dried polenta
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 ounces goat cheese (or more if you are like me)


  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt / pepper


  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (from a can or from dried)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt / pepper
  • oil (I used olive but you could use vegetable as well)

In a food processor or very powerful blender, combine all the pesto ingredients and blend until a smooth paste forms. Add more olive oil if needed to reach your desired consistency. Set aside.

In a saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add polenta and lower heat to medium low. Whisk continuously until the polenta has become thick enough that it won’t stick to the bottom. After fifteen minutes of simmering, stir in the cheese and remove from heat. Cover to keep warm and set aside.

In a large cast iron skillet, heat a thin layer of oil over medium. Add chickpeas, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Sauté for ten to fifteen minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined tray. Let sit for a few minutes to crisp up.

Mix the polenta, chickpeas, and pesto all together and enjoy!




  • Sarah | The Sugar Hit
    August 21, 2013

    That sounds like an AWESOME evening. Right up my alley! We all need to be a stereotype every now and again, right? Pass the polenta!

  • Harriet
    August 22, 2013

    Oh man, I am seriously diggin’ your polenta vibes. MY husband isn’t a big fan of creamy-style polenta, so I don’t make it that often. But this looks DELICIOUS. Love the swirl of pesto and the chickpeas.

    • Shellywest
      August 29, 2013

      My boyfriend is the same way…must be a guy thing. ugh!

  • ina
    August 22, 2013

    like everything else you make, this looks so delicious!

  • Grace @ earthy feast
    August 22, 2013

    Confession: I’ve never cooked polenta before. I think i’ve waited long enough! This looks so good – beautiful photography for beautiful food!

    • Shellywest
      Grace @ earthy feast
      August 29, 2013

      oh no! Whip some up ASAP – you won’t be disappointed!

  • Betty Jordan Wester
    August 22, 2013

    This sounds amazing!

  • Maria | pink patisserie
    August 25, 2013

    My idea of the perfect meal. Just gorgeous.

    • Shellywest
      Maria | pink patisserie
      August 29, 2013

      Thanks, Maria!

  • Sam
    April 9, 2014

    So, I cheated. I used mashed cauliflower instead of polenta. Really yummy and much easier to reheat leftovers.

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  • Bridget
    March 6, 2015

    I made this recipe tonight, I loved it! I thought it was something different, delicious, and filling. Also the pesto was amazing

  • Karen
    May 22, 2015

    How many servings is this dish?

  • Kathini
    June 21, 2015

    Looks and sounds like heaven. To do.

  • Olivia
    July 9, 2015

    This looks delicious. My boyfriend actually likes polenta and chicpeas, but doesn’t like pesto! Anyway, can you tell me what kind of goat cheese you used? Simple fresh goat cheese? Thanks.

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  • Pam
    September 24, 2015

    I made this for dinner tonight for my husband and myself. It was delicious! I only had one teaspoon of cumin so that’s all I used. I add a bit of onion and garlic to the chickpeas. We even had some left for one small portion for lunch tomorrow. My husband said, “It’s a keeper!”. I agree!

    • Shellywest
      September 24, 2015

      Yay! Love to hear you it was a success for you!!

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  • Abby
    May 29, 2018

    Oh my gosh this looks amazing! My husband is the same way, but he is deployed right now so this will be my next meal! Thanks for the great recipe!

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