Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Polenta Cakes with Vegetables

Need a quick healthy meal?

How about polenta?  There are sometimes when you can take a little help from processed foods to assist you with getting a healthy, fast meal on the table.  Polenta is one of those items.  Sure you can make polenta from scratch and it tastes great.  But...when time is of the essence pre-made polenta is just fine to use.  You've seen them in the grocery tubes? 

I really love polenta for it's versatility.  It is a great foil for surrounding flavors and can be used in many different ways. 

What is polenta?
Polenta is yellow or white cornmeal that is cooked with a liquid to make a paste-like substance.  After is it cooked it can then be baked, fried, or grilled.  Typically associated with Italian cuisine it can be used in place of pasta or rice and topped with meat, a nice sauce, or vegetables as I have done today.  As this is a versatile item you can also use polenta with a variety of regional dishes such as French with mushrooms and a sauce, or Mexican using black beans and tomatoes.  Let your imagination run wild with the toppings and discover a new dish. 

The dish I made today can be considered a meatless or vegetarian dish.  Use it as a main dish for dinner or lunch.  The addition of the beans provide the protein.  If you want to make this as a side dish, remove the beans and serve alongside a nice grilled chicken or serve with beef short ribs.

I also used wine in this dish as added flavor.  Just a tad.  But if you don't want wine use either chicken broth or vegetable broth as the liquid.  Both work great.  I've also added basil as the main herb in the dish which lends it a very Italian flavor.  For something more mild, change up the herb to thyme, or just use the parsley.

This is a great dish to make in under 30 minutes.  It's very filling and provides you with an array of vitamins along with protein and still keeps the calories down.  A wonderful healthy dish!  Enjoy!

Polenta Cakes with Vegetables
4 Servings

1 tube (1 lb) polenta, cut into 12 slices
4 T olive oil,
1 large zucchini, halved and chopped
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 T white wine
salt & pepper to taste
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3/4 c white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 t dried basil
1 T torn fresh parsley
4 T mozzarella cheese, shredded

In a large nonstick skillet, cook polenta in 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat for 7 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, in another large skillet, saute zucchini in remaining oil until tender. Add shallots and garlic and cook for another minute. Add the wine, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil and cook until liquid is almost evaporated.

Stir in the tomatoes, beans and basil.  Cook until heated through, about another 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat and sprinkle with parsley.  Place 3 polenta cakes on each plate and top with vegetable mixture.  Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon of cheese.


  1. What a wonderful recipe. I know it tastes as great as it looks. Come and visit us. We are having a terrific giveaway this week. A $75 swank bag from Pick Your Plum. You will love it.

  2. I have never tried polenta, but that recipe looks very tempting!



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