Butternut Squash Polenta with Walnut Tarator & Farm Greens with Cara Cara Orange, Shaved Fennel & Kohlrabi

How to Make Butternut Squash Polenta with Walnut Tarator and Citrus Salad
Warm up with this perfect polenta recipe, created by local chef and owner of Pacific Pearl Catering, Michael Campbell.

Chef Michael Campbell of Pacific Pearl Catering and Cafe is a leader in regenerative fine cuisine, with a background in classic Spanish flavors and a passion for bringing out the best in his cooking through high-quality, locally sourced produce.

Chef Michael recently stopped by The Ecology Center to pick up a Harvest Box and show us how to use it to create a stunning meal of polenta and butternut squash with a citrus salad. “It’s a nice warm, filling dish in the dead of SoCal winter,” says Chef Michael.

Butternut Squash Polenta with Walnut Tarator Ingredients
1large butternut squash (cooked ahead with olive oil, salt & pepper)
1 cupcourse ground polenta (from The Ecology Center!)
4 cupswater
3 tbspssalt
2 tbspsaleppo pepper
8cloves of garlic
4 tbspsolive oil
8 tbspsbutter (optional)
4 ouncesgrated parmesan (optional)
1 cupwalnuts
1/2 cupolive oil
6cloves of garlic
1 bunchkale
1 bunchparsley
Farm Greens with Cara Cara Orange, Shaved Fennel, Radish & Kohlrabi Ingredients
use any seasonal greens and salad mix
2Cara Cara oranges (segmented, juice reserved)
1/2red onion
2bulbs baby fennel (shaved & blanched for 15 seconds)
1kohlrabi (julienned)
1 bunchradishes
1 tbspsalt
2 tspsaleppo pepper
1 cupolive oil
4 tbspswhite balsamic vinegar
2 tbspshoney

Cut the butternut squash in half, remove seeds, rub with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 60-90 minutes until soft. Let cool and scrape flesh from skin.

Butternut squash sliced and seeds being removed.


For the polenta, bring water to boil, add polenta slowly while whisking. Add garlic, salt, aleppo, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 40 minutes. Add reserved squash and stir for 10 minutes finishing with olive oil, butter and parmesan.

Polenta being cooked over a stove.


For the walnut tarator, heat olive oil in a cast iron pan, and add walnuts and garlic. Toast until golden. Add roughly chopped kale until wilted, season with salt and pepper, reserve and cool. Next, add picked parsley. When cool, chop medium fine with a knife or pulse in a food processor.

Walnut and kale being cooked in a cast iron.

Serve the tarator atop the polenta, and garnish with freshly grated parmesan.

Walnut tarator being placed atop polenta.

For the vinaigrette combine the reserved orange juice, salt, aleppo, honey and white balsamic in a mixing bowl. Slowly stream in olive oil while whisking. Add orange segments, shaved red onion, fennel and kohlrabi. Let macerate for 30 minutes to several hours.

Orange juice being squeezed into vinaigrette bowl.

Spoon vinaigrette in generous amount over greens of your choice and finish with shaved radish!

Chef Michael Campbell holding dishes.

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