Food is expensive. There's no doubt that food prices have been on the rise lately. And one way to cut back on grocery bills is to cut back on meat. At least twice a week I make a meatless meal in an effort to keep the monthly grocery bill total within budget. And it's hard. I haven't done so well so far. But I'm trying. I only busted the budget by $33 this month.
The spring vegetable stew with soft polenta from Vegetarian Times is not only Core, but it's an easy way to save a buck or two. Canned diced tomatoes and canned beans are a bargain. Especially if you are like me and shop at discount grocery stores like Aldi. Plus, I can get zucchini, summer squash and carrots there, which makes the dish even cheaper. Cornmeal is another cost effective ingredient. If you choose quick-cooking polenta, which is an option, it's more expensive. And I don't think this polenta took that much time to come together.
The most expensive thing was the kalamata olives. You could use canned black olives, sure, but the kalamata gives it a briny jolt that the standard canned black olives won't. You could also swap the creminis I used for white button, which are slightly cheaper.
The only thing I did to this recipe was add more salt, more pepper, and a healthy dose of hot sauce. It's cheap, filling, and makes plenty of leftovers.