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
I have actually never had polenta. This looks like a delicious place to start.
For the sake of foodie legend, let’s say Dad did invent it ;).
P.S. Your photos are so beautiful! You have such a great eye.
I like that! And my dad would like that, too, I’m sure! Try polenta for sure! So many ways to use it. And it’s a whole grain ;-)!
What are the 4 cups of water for?
Derr, sorry, Katie! The four cups of hot water are for stirring into the polenta as it cooks. I’ve added that to my post. Thanks!
Looks good. I’m like bar, have never eaten polenta. I really need to try it.
It’s wonderful stuff – – but it’s kind of like tofu in that it doesn’t have much flavor on its own. It’s a great foundation ingredient.
Thank you kindly :-)!
I’m going to miss polenta, now I’m grain-free. But this looks amazing–I’m going to experiment with lasagna using zucchini “pasta” sheets, and this is an inspiration, as always! 🙂
Anne Sture Tucker has a wonderful recipe on her site for raw lasagna. Makes for a fantastic hot weather dish and the whole raw and gluten-free deal is a bonus!
Thanks for the tip! I’ll check it out! I think I’m following her now. 🙂
Ooh, great idea! I love the mix of summer vegetables, and I bet the combination with polenta is both delicious and ultra-filling. 🙂
What a wonderfully colourful post! All those veggies look delicious with the polenta, and it sounds like excellent comfort food to me. Well done Dad! 🙂
Dad is pretty awesome :-).
I love this idea of a polenta casserole. I have used polenta to make pizza crust before but never would have thought to sandwich a filling in between! Awesome 🙂
Yum! And your recipe makes it sound so easy…
Plus, even though we’re on the tail end of winter down here in Oz, it’s a temperate climate and I can get my hands on EVERYTHING! (mostly in my own garden – hooray!)
I think your Dad’s a Legend too 😀 xx
This looks delicious! I have only tried polenta once, but I thought it was great!
This is a cool idea, and seems simple enough to make on a whim.
YUuuuummm, fabulous – this looks so satisfying and beautiful! I Can’t wait to try this recipe 🙂
I haven’t tried polenta either! I’ve thought about it but never tried. But hey, I only tried tofu for the first time this week.
You picture’s look beautiful! You are very talented! 🙂
Oh, I think this could become a staple around here. Yay for dad! I adore polenta, but never thought of using it in a casserole/lasagna sort of format! You need a link to your cashew cheez recipe above my dear 😉
That dish looks yummy! Thanks for posting it.
This looks great, I love polenta and there seem to be endless ways to serve it!