Breakfast Polenta with Balsamic Beets and Runny Eggs

I mean, I can’t even with this season at the moment

It was not until today that it hit me: CHRISTMAS IS IN TWO WEEKS PEOPLE. That is so so soon. I’m kind of one of those people that the holiday season doesn’t hit me until it’s too late. I usually like to plan ahead with everything, but, especially with gifts, I always find that Christmas sneaks up on me until BOO, there it is.

And there  I go again mixing up my holidays. Seriously wasn’t Halloween a week ago.

So anyway, yesterday I took a trip to the National Christmas Tree, which is in front of the White House. And it was so WILD. And I totally forgot that the White House is also totally dressed up in beautiful lights and garland. I always love looking at landmarks that have on a seasonal “costume”. Do you know what I am talking about? When the buildings that normally look so drab end up looking fabulous because of all the decorations. I am always super bummed out when January rolls around and every building looks super dark because the lights were taken off of it.

Should holiday lights be a year round thing. Um yes.

It might be because, when I was a kid, I lived near this FANTASTIC holiday display. I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, which was a short drive away from the Osborne Display of Lights. (If you do not know what this is 1) educate yourself here and 2) go immediately to Disney Wold and see for yourself). Even though I am technically Jewish and do not put up lights, they always bring me such joy to see them everywhere. A light in the darkness in the dead of winter, you know?

Even though, now, it is not technically winter. Yeah let’s just go with that.

So anyways, even though it is not technically winter, it is supposed to SNOW and get really cold by the end of this week. So you all know that, when it gets all chilly, my favorite way to stay warm is a big cuddly bowl of polenta. Many people are afraid of polenta, especially because they think they have to stir it every waking moment or else it will burn. No, dear readers, that is simply a myth to get you wickedly strong shoulders.

By all means, if you want the upper body workout, keep on whisking.

When you’re making polenta, the idea is to get the polenta going by whisking coarse-ground polenta into boiling water and stirring until it gets thick. Then you cover the pot and let the polenta cook while you go about making the rest of the toppings. A tense moment might come around the 15-minute mark. At this point, the polenta looks done. And indeed, if you taste it here and like it, by all means serve it! But if you let it cook for a little longer, you’ll find that the polenta tastes sweeter and more deeply corn-like, and any last lingering grittiness from the ground corn smooths away. I personally love it at 30 minutes.

And the beets! Oh em gee, guys, you haven’t had beets like this before. They are syrupy sweet and delicious and, contrary to my cousin’s belief, do not taste like dirt at all. The recipe for the beets makes more than you need for the bowls, so my advice would be to serve them on a salad or squish em in a sammie. Delicious.

As an aside,  I know I’m already going against the grain with the title, but PLEASE do not think these bowls are just for breakfast. I find these to be so so satisfying that, with a little extra greens and beets, I can eat this for any meal. I love this bowl for lunch, for dinner, or maybe even for a snack? Definitely a snack. A+

Yields 2 bowls

Breakfast Polenta with Balsamic Beets and Runny Eggs

15 minPrep Time

30 minCook Time

45 minTotal Time

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  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup polenta
  • salt + pepper
  • 3 tablespoons goat cheese
  • balsamic beets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup inexpensive balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • to finish:
  • 1 cup lacinto kale
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • hot sauce, optional


roast the beets

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the leafy stems and roots of the beets and peel. Cut the beets in 1 1/2-inch chunks. Place the cut beets on the prepared baking sheet and toss with the olive oil or avocado oil, pepper, and salt. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, tossing once midway, until the beets are tender when pierced.

Meanwhile, combine the vinegar and maple syrup in a small, shallow sauté pan. Cook over medium heat until the liquid is just slightly thickened and lightly coats the back of a metal spoon. It should reduce by about half. Pay close attention and be sure not to over-reduce it; it goes from sweet and syrupy to burnt and hard very quickly.

Once the beets are cooked, toss with the glaze. Set aside.

cook the polenta

In a small pot, heat the water with a fat pinch of salt over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Slowly add the polenta, whisk the water as you add the polenta so it doesn't clump. Keep whisking until the polenta has thickened to the point that it does not sink to the bottom when you stop whisking. Bring the mixture to a boil, then down to a simmer. Cook for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until the mixture is no longer gritty. Turn off the heat and whisk in the goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper, to taste (and I like a LOT of pepper).

top that sucker

In a medium bowl, add kale ribbons. Add olive oil and salt and massage until the kale softens and becomes limp, approximately 5 minutes.

To serve, divide polenta into two bowls. Add massaged kale and balsamic beets. Add egg (I normally go with fried or soft boiled, but any type would do). Season with salt + pepper to your liking. EAT.

Yeah this is definitely a snack I can get behind

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