This Italian Baked Polenta recipe is a delicious fusion of polenta, cheese, tomato sauce and vegetables. It is the perfect Mediterranean Diet recipe that is both gluten-free and vegetarian and an amazing comfort food to boot. I love the deep, rich and herby flavors of this dish and the use of both grated parmesan and fresh mozzarella. This is a perfect option instead of omelets or quiches for brunches and lunches. Also, it tastes a lot like pizza!
Don’t let the long ingredient list fool you, this is an easy recipe to make. Many of the ingredients are just herbs and spices to give it extra flavor. It really comes down to 4 steps to make this incredibly delicious dish: 1) make the polenta, 2) sauté the vegetables, 3) layer the casserole dish with polenta, veggies and cheese and 4) bake.
You can easily halve this recipe, but I recommend the full recipe to enjoy leftovers!
Because this is a rich, complex dish it can be eaten on it’s own or with a simple cucumber and tomato salad topped with oregano, lemon juice and olive oil. This dish would go nicely with a red or white wine. A light dessert of fruit or a fruit sorbet would be a perfect ending to a filling meal.
Italian Baked Polenta
- 2 cups polenta, raw
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 4 cups soy milk or regular milk
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh, chopped basil
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, sliced thin
- 3 carrots, sliced thin
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 sweet pepper, cut into strips
- 10 ounces package bela mushrooms, sliced
- 1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed, washed, drained, and chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 large can diced tomatoes flavored with oregano, basil
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced in thin rounds
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Bring broth and milk to a boil. Stir in polenta slowly with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer until polenta begins to thicken, stirring constantly.
- Add Parmesan cheese and basil. Salt and pepper, to taste. Once polenta is thick, remove from heat.
- In a large pan, sauté onion, carrots, and garlic in olive oil for 1 minute. Add red pepper and mushrooms, sauté for 2 minutes. Add Swiss chard, herbs, and diced tomatoes. Continue to simmer until vegetables are soft. Drain vegetable mixture in a colander.
- Cover the bottom of a lasagna-sized casserole dish with tomato sauce.
- Spread drained veggies evenly in bottom of casserole.
- Spread polenta on top of vegetables.
- Top with mozzarella slices.
- Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until mozzarella begins to brown, about 15-20 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes, cut into square portions and serve.
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