A hearty mix of cauliflower and chickpeas is simmered up in smoky, spicy sauce and served over creamy polenta to make these scrumptious and comforting vegan bowls.
Place the red peppers and tomatoes into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.
Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute more, until very fragrant.
Add the red pepper-tomato mixture to the pot, along with the cauliflower, water, tomato paste, paprika, cumin, cayenne, and sugar. Give everything a stir to incorporate, then raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer until the sauce thickens up a bit and the cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can add more water to the pot if needed while the stew simmers. Make the polenta (instructions below) while the stew simmers.
Stir in the chickpeas and cook 1 to 2 minutes more, just until heated throughout. Remove from heat and stir in the salt. Taste test and add more to your liking, along with black pepper to taste.
While the stew simmers, stir together the polenta, milk, 2 cups of broth, and milk into a medium saucepan. Place it over medium heat and bring it to a boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, until thick and creamy, stirring occasionally. Add up to 1 additional cup of broth during cooking if the mixture becomes too thick.
Remove the saucepan from heat and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Taste-test and season with salt to taste.
Divide the polenta among bowls and top with the stew. Serve.