Join me on Substack! I’ll be deleting this website shortly but you can continue to access my recipe drops over on Substack. Hope to see you there!

Breakfast, Lunchbox, Sides, Vegan &/or Raw

Black Polenta Fingers, for the lunchbox

Sanctified as the Father of Superfoods, spinach enjoys immense popularity among medical and scientific communities. The toddler community aren’t much convinced, but that’s about to change.


spinach baby image



For a concentrated blast of goodness in your diet, this Green Leafy is hard to beat. 

Replete with vitamins C and E, spinach offers protection against free radicals – those menacing compounds thought to predispose the body to disease. Vitamins C and E are also referred to as beauty bullets, given their role in maintaining youthful-looking skin. I bet Anna Friel horses it into her. What a stunner. When asked about her beauty regime, she recently replied, “Health is beautiful. If someone takes care of themselves you can see the health shining from within them.” She’s now my screen saver.


black polenta susan jane black polenta recipe susan jane

Even though Popeye attributes his burly bod to spinach “I’m strong to the finish when I eats me spinach”, this veg only has modest levels of iron. Hemp seeds and goji berries are probably better sources. 

Spinach’s real USP lies within its stonking levels of magnesium. We need this mineral to improve circulation in the body. Poor circulation can lead to dull skin, erectile dysfunction, headaches, raised blood pressure, constipation and delayed healing. Sound familiar? 

Another boon to our Green Leafy friend is its range of superstar carotenes. Lutein and zeaxathin in particular are believed to help protect our eyes against age-related degeneration. So if you’re in the market for a new pair of spectacles, you’d do well putting spinach on tomorrow’s shopping list.


buckwheat grouts image


Black Polenta Fingers


Buckwheat is a small triangular grain confused by shades of red, brown and green. Soba noodles and blini are made from buckwheat, so chances are, you’ve already made friends with it.

Despite its name, buckwheat is not wheat. Hollywood’s glitterati love this gluten-free grain because of its slow-release carb and avalanche of beautifying bioflavonoids. Buckwheat even has lysine, that elusive amino acid that helps prevent outbreaks of pesky cold sores.

Children love this polenta because they can use their fingers to eat it. The more squeamish ones may spot the green flecks of spinach and revolt. That’s okay – tell them Wayne Rooney eats it.


1 cup / 180g unroasted buckwheat grouts
2 cups / 500ml homemade chicken or veg stock
Splash of tamari soya sauce
Good handful baby spinach*
1 tablespoon hemp seed protein powder or raw sprouted brown rice protein powder


*you could also use dried nori or any weird sounding sea veg described in last week’s post


Rinse the buckwheat in a sieve under running water. Transfer the clean buckwheat to your saucepan of boiling stock. Cover, and turn down the heat to a gentle putter rather than a raucous boil. Cook for 12-15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from its heat source, and allow the grains to absorb a little more stock under the lid if necessary.

Once cooked, transfer to a food processor (not a hand-held blender) and briefly pulse with the spinach and soya sauce. The spinach will immediately wilt and semi-cook with the heat of the buckwheat. Aim for the consistency of textured porridge, and not a puree. 

Pour into a small dish or lunchbox oiled with extra virgin olive oil. Ideally the polenta will be less than one inch deep. Set for 20 minutes at room temperature. 

Cut into fingers and serve alongside a bottle of this amazing soy-free soya sauce and some steamed asparagus. Buckwheat polenta will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days, making it the perfect snack for hungry little hands.


 my little one in the garden




Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Ruth Noble September 23, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Hi Sarah Jane, just following up on soy free soy sauce, where can you get it in Ireland? Would really be great as I’m allergic to soy.
    Ta, Ruth

    • Reply Susan Jane September 25, 2014 at 9:23 am

      I get mine in the Hopsack, but you can order it through any health food store as the supplier is the same 😉 Coconut aminos. It’s The Snazz

      • Reply Ruth Noble September 27, 2014 at 7:24 am

        Thank you, Sarah Jane, I have a dairy and soy allergy and there are so many recipes that I have to avoid because of the soy. Great news!

        • Reply Susan Jane September 28, 2014 at 7:39 pm

          Glad you found me!

  • Reply What's in your lunchbox? Pumpkin and feta tortilla August 28, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    […] fun savoury lunchbox ideas Black Polenta Fingers Chicken rice paper spring rolls Curried pumpkin bread Potato apple parcels Vegetarian spicy fried […]

  • Leave a Reply

    A special announcement

    Join me on Substack

    Howdy! I’ll be deleting this website shortly. Gah! But please stay in touch – I so appreciate your loyalty and lovebombs.

    You can continue to access my recipe drops over on Substack.  Hope to see you there, and to continue frolicking on this veggie-fueled dance floor.