This little dish is a riff on one my dad used to make. I can’t say for sure that he invented the idea of veggies layered between creamy polenta, but then again, I can’t say he didn’t invent it. He used spinach, tomato and lots of cheese in his – and boy howdy, was it delicious. To me it is “peasant” food and comfort food at its best. Simple, versatile and possibly better the next day.
In a way, this is two dishes in one. The night that it is prepared it resembles a porridge. The next day, it takes on characteristics of lasagna. Either way, it’s a yummy, filling meal that is a great way to use a variety of garden vegetables. I used peppers and summer squash because that’s what is coming in right now, but eggplant would be wonderful, mushrooms most welcome and tomatoes quite a tasty, juicy addition.
Summer Vegetable Polenta
Inspired by my dad’s recipe, this flavorful vegetable polenta makes good use of all that late summer produce! Vegan.
- 1 cup polenta
- 2 cups vegetable broth/water
- ~4 cups hot water
- 1 cup cashew cheez, optional
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup big green olives
- 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper to taste (I used a smoked sea salt)
- splash of white wine and/or vegetable broth
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 small banana pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 small yellow squash or zucchini, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/4 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
- salt and pepper to taste
Make the polenta
- Prepare a medium-sized casserole by lightly spraying it with oil. Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Have the four cups of water simmering on the stove. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the 2 cups of broth or water to a boil and whisk in the polenta. Bring mixture back up to a boil, then reduce the heat so that the polenta is just barely bubbling. I don’t fuss over stirring a whole heck of a lot but instead put the lid on and add water as needed (from the four cups simmering on the stove). Cook until the polenta is soft to the bite.
- When the polenta is ready, stir in the remaining ingredients.
Make the vegetables
- Meanwhile, heat the wine or broth in a skillet and add the onions and garlic and gently cook until soft. Stir in the bell pepper, banana peppers and the squash/zucchini. Cook until just starting to get soft. Stir in the tomato paste along with another splash of wine and the tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes and salt and pepper. Cook for a minute or two and then remove from the heat.
Assemble the casserole
- Pour one half of the polenta mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Then spoon in the vegetables. Top with the remaining polenta and smooth the top. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes and allow to sit for about 10 minutes after removing from the oven.
- Serving Size: 6
- Calories: 287
- Sugar: 4
- Sodium: 411
- Fat: 13
- Saturated Fat: 2
- Unsaturated Fat: 10
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 33
- Protein: 10
- Cholesterol: 0