Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Polenta Stacks

This roasted polenta, zucchini, eggplant, and tomato stack served with an herby homemade pasta sauce makes a perfect summer meal. It's simple to put together once you have the sauce made and the veggies roasted. The only slightly tricky part is slicing the polenta. To do this, I cooked the polenta in veggie broth, added fresh thyme, rosemary, parsley and nutritional yeast, then smoothed it into a square dish that I had greased with olive oil and let is set up in the fridge. When it was cold, I used a serrated knife to slice it into thin layers.

The polenta looked a bit pale after it set, so I toasted the slices under the grill for a few minutes until they turned golden. (I didn't want to bother heating the grill, but using a BBQ grill to toast them would have been great!)

I was a little worried that the polenta would turn out hard from the grilling, but after letting it sit for several minutes layered with with spaghetti sauce, the polenta soaked up the sauce and turned out savory and soft with a light crunch on the outside.

We also had  some broccoli salad with red pepper, sweet onion, pine nuts and a warm garlic vinaigrette.

Rose Tobin Seattle
Rosanne Tobin
Roseann LaPonte
Rosanne Marie Tobin
Rosanne LaPonte


  1. Sweet and simple! I like it :)
    I once tried making polenta fries and ruuuuined them by getting over-eager about slicing them, but your slices turned out great! Thanks for the tips too, maybe I'll take it slow next time. The roasted vegetables look absolutely perfect too.

  2. That stack looks beautiful! All the colours and textures look delicious, I'd love to try that.

  3. Rose, you should be a photographer for a vegan foodie magazine. Your images are so vibrant and look amazingly delicious. Most the time I have no clue what ingredients you're using or how to duplicate what you make, but I'd almost always be willing to eat what you prepare...well except for that broccoli salad, I might have to pass on that.
    Have a great day.

  4. I agree 100% with Sue that you should be a Vegan food magazine photographer! Food is so difficult to photograph and make it appear appealing, and your photos never fail to look mouth-watering and gorgeous!

    This sounds right up our alley. Can't wait for an opportunity to make (and EAT) it!!!

  5. OHH -- too good~ love summer for the fresh veggies layered on good brown bread. Makes a nutritional fast dinner or lunch or even breakfast if you are so inclined. Great photo of the finished product. -- barbara

  6. That looks absolutely delicious Rose! And it's so beautifully stacked. You know...I have never tried polenta. I'm going to have to give it a try sometime very soon. Your broccoli salad looks good as well...YUM! :o)

  7. THAT LOOKS SOOOOOOOO GOOD! Ok, I have a probably dumb question, does polenta have any nutritional value? I've never had it.

  8. You're so creative and talented! Have you ever submitted your pictures to a food magazine? Your work is a million times better than the pics in VegNews!

  9. Rose, this looks like a gourmet dinner. The roasted vegetable combo is just perfect. I should give your polenta method a try... typically I just eat grits.

  10. Wow, Rose, what color! Everything looks spectacular. Your polenta looks perfect! I love the blue & white tablecloth. :)

  11. Everything looKs wonderful! I love the layered polenta meal. What an excellent idea!

  12. I think your photo says it all — and says it loud and clear. Make this! Make this! Polenta is one of my favorite foods, and it looks delectable layered with the veggies. This would be a perfect candidate for grilling. Yum.

  13. Maud:

    Yeah, I think if you let it set well, you shouldn't have a problem slicing it into fries...I've never done them, but I've always thought they sounded good. Also, I'm not sure if it's necessary, but I sprayed the dish with some oil before I put the polenta in to set...just in case it might stick.

    Thanks Bonnie :)


    Haha, broccoli salad is not your thing eh? That's ok. I'm sure you can do more in the kitchen that you give yourself credit for. And, thanks for the encouragement on the photo front. I have to say all I know about photographing food is to use natural light, take shots from many different angles, and that using the Macro feature usually gives a nice effect. That's all I know. But I'm glad it produces some photos that people like.


    Thank you too for your nice words about the photos. Compliments are always make me a little uncomfortable, but I have to say that it is flattering that other people...especially other people who take great photos...enjoy some of mine. I think it might be fun to be a vegan food photographer...until it got technical. Given my scant knowledge regarding photography in general (see my response to Susan) it may not fly. :)

  14. Barbara:

    This is such a wonderful time of year for the veggies as you say, and of course you're right: meals piled with fresh bounty are the best...they don't have to be fancy or many ingredients. The fresh veggies do it all on their own. I love the brown bread idea too!

    Thanks Vic!


    I think you'll probably like polenta...you should definitely give it a try. I like to ramp the flavor up by cooking it in broth and using lots of fresh herbs...it takes on some nice flavor that way. But, it's also a great medium for absorbing the surrounding sauce!


    Good question...I doubt it has much nutritional value...mainly serves as a carbo. I haven't looked it up though, so don't know for sure. So glad you're back!


    Thanks as always for being a fan of my photos. See the response above to Susan for the few brief words that describe my knowledge of photography. But hey, maybe I should try. I'm not too bothered by criticism or rejection in general, and I think many of the contributors to VegNews do it for free anyway...or at least that's what I read. :D

  15. Jessica:

    Oh grits! I think they're sort of the same, but made with hominy corn...is that right? The grits-style soft-cookeed form seems like super comforting food. I think that's the way most people who really love polenta like to eat it...in a soft-cooked form. My polenta eating is sporadic to say the least, and I really should try some grits soon too!

    Thanks Molly! The blue and white tablecloth just screams summer picnic doesn't it? :)

    Hi Cassie! Glad to see you back and thanks!


    I remembered you mentioning on your blog that polenta is a comfort food for you! For me, it's something from my childhood that I haven't eaten very much as an adult. But, that should change.

    You're so right, this whole meal would be great on the grill...you could do a fresh salsa with it for no stove time, or even a grilled sauce too I bet.

    I "grilled" the polenta under the broiler in the oven and baked the veggies, but I'm sure you'll grill this up perfectly on a real grill!! :)

  16. I just want to second everything people have said about your photos and the food: very, very inspirational!!!

  17. I want, I want. And I've never said that about polenta!

  18. Thanks Stacy!

    Christina: I know what you mean...polenta has never been anything I'd crave and am usually blase about, but I might be entering a new phase in life...we'll see. I bought another bag of cornmeal, so I'll most likely be eating more of it in future.

  19. That all looks so hearty and healthy! I love the versatility of polenta. It can be used in sweet or savory dishes, soft and creamy or toasted and solid. Your polenta stack looks absolutely mouthwatering.

  20. those are some really pretty pictures of some divine looking food Rose. why is polenta so good?? i could eat ten servings of it:) i used to buy it in those tubes until i realized how easy it was to make. i make mine in rice cooker. just add all the ingredients and then turn on and it does all the work, including the "setting up" this is a perfect meal:) i would order this if it was on a menu.

    michelle (dirty duck)

  21. Hi Michelle!

    Liking polenta was something I didn't know about you! I bet Piggy and Binky like it too. It is good stuff. I need to eat it more often, especially since it's so easy to add flavor to w/o adding fat and that's always a good direction to go in, and I'm not always so good on that front.

    Using a rice cooker is genius!

  22. The first thing I thought when I saw this was, oooh - so pretty! I make polenta very similarly to yours, and I don't spray my pan. I use a non-stick loaf pan. But...I fry mine after I slice it - I'll definitely have to try roasting. The roasted veggies and the salad look marvelous!

  23. BlessedMama:

    Good to know about the spraying. Frying it is a good idea...I didn't think of that!

  24. Yum! It looks and sounds sooo good! You captured it perfectly..

  25. OMG. I'm totally late to this party but WOW! That pic is GORGEOUS and it looks so good! Totally on my list of meals to make!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...