From the healthy kitchen of Christine Denney, Chef at The Oaks at Ojai

Polenta Cake with Grilled Vegetables

Need more recipes? Cookbooks are for sale at The Oaks of Ojai gift shop.

Polenta Cake

½ cup polenta or corn meal

1 ¾ cup water

½ cup minced onion

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. olive oil

¼  cup grated  Parmesan cheese


Bring water to a boil and slowly add the polenta, whisking constantly.  Add the onion, garlic and olive oil and continue cooking for about 30 minutes.  (This is most easily accomplished in a double-boiler over hot water.)  While cooking, spray an 8 x 10 baking dish with a nonstick spray  or brush with a little olive oil.  Pour the cooked and thickened polenta into the pan, spreading evenly so that each round will be about ½ inch thick.  (If you brush your spatula with olive oil, it will be easier to spread.)

Refrigerate the polenta until set. (For this amount ½-1 hour should be plenty of time.)

After it sets, use a 2 ½-3 inch cookie or biscuit cutter to cut out rounds of the polenta.  Save the rest for another use or remold. (In lieu of a cookie cutter, you can use a small can—from beans, etc—and remove the top and bottom to make a cutter.)

Vegetables and Topping

On a baking pan (a cookie sheet works well), arrange the polenta circles.  On top of each, arrange the following: (for 6 people, one eggplant, 2 zucchini, 2 large portobellos)

1 slice grilled eggplant               **Depending on the look you want, the eggplant and peppers

1 piece roasted bell pepper can also be cut into rounds, and you can use the leftover pieces

½ oz. mozzarella cheese in another dish, such as a stir fry or in the sauce below.

2 slices grilled zucchini AND, you can use whatever vegetables you want!

A few slices of grilled portabello mushroom or, if baby “bellos”, you can use the whole thing

½ oz. mozzarella cheese (this is a small, thin slice—you can also use fresh mozzarella if you like.)

After layering, the polenta cakes can be refrigerated until you are ready to bake them.  If chilled add about ten minutes baking time.  If room temperature, they just need to heat through and the cheese needs to melt—about 30 minutes in a moderate oven at 350 degrees.

Garnish with freshly chopped basil and the following sauce—just puree it all in a blender or food processor:

½ cup roasted bell pepper

½ tsp. black  pepper

1 TBS. fresh basil

1 TBS. olive oil

Nutritional Information: per serving

Serves 8

Calories: 95 calories per serving

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