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How to build a killer brunch in three easy steps. Step one: swirl pesto into polenta/grits.

Step two: lay a fat slice of a gorgeous, seriously ripe tomato on top.

Step three: add a final dose of seasoning—not to mention texture and protein—by adding a handful of chickpeas cooked with lemon zest and freshly cracked black pepper.

And dig in.

Pesto-Swirled Polenta with Fresh Tomato and Lemon-Pepper Chickpeas

Print the recipe

serves 2 generously

1/2 cup quick-cooking polenta (or grits)

1/4 cup blanched almond meal

1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt (plus additional for chickpeas)

1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy milk

1 1/2 cups water

2 tsp olive oil

1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained

1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

zest from half a lemon

2 TBSP Classic Vegan Pesto Genovese, recipe follows

1 ripe good-quality tomato

Whisk together polenta, almond meal, and 1/2 tsp salt in a bowl. Combine soy milk and water in a pot over high heat. When it begins to steam, begin whisking while pouring the polenta mixture into the pot in a thin, steady stream, whisking all the while. When all is incorporated, be sure the mixture is bubbling, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook five minutes, covered, carefully whisking the bubbling mixture once each minute.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add drained chickpeas, pepper, lemon zest, and generous pinch salt. Cook chickpeas, stirring occasionally, until chickpeas are heated through and the flavors have melded a bit, about five minutes.

Divide grits between two serving bowls. Swirl a tablespoon of pesto into each. Top each with a half-inch-thick slice of tomato and finish with the chickpeas. Serve at once.

Classic Vegan Pesto Genovese

yields about 2/3 cup 

2 oz basil, leaves only, from two large bunches (about 1 cup of tightly packed leaves) 

1 clove garlic

2 tsp red miso paste

1/4 cup pignoli (pine nuts) 

1/4 cup good quality olive oil

Puree all ingredients until smooth.