These often feature as a vegetarian option on restaurant menus
They do look impressive and taste delicious, yet they are relatively easy to prepare
You just need to make the polenta (see notes below) ahead of time and let it set. Then grill or roast a heap of vegetables to go on top
Teamed with pesto, pasta sauce, spinach, caramelised onion and haloumi, they made a fantastic, very tasty meat free Monday meal this week 🙂
Polenta Stacks with Grilled Vegetables, Pesto and Haloumi
Serves 2 (note Polenta makes 6 portions; Vegetable Topping is for 2 Polenta Stacks)
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cornmeal/polenta (see notes below on polenta)
- 1 red onion, cut in half, then sliced into discs
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 finger eggplants, sliced lengthways
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthways
- 4 x 1/2 cm thick slices of pumpkin, approx 60g
- 4 medium sized (approx 70g) mushrooms, sliced
- 1 roasted capsicum (I used fire roasted peppers)
- 3/4 cup tomato pasta sauce
- 2 tablespoons pesto
- 2 silverbeet leaves, or a handful of baby spinach leaves, washed well
- 60g haloumi, cut into 2 large squares
To make polenta:
- Pour water into a high sided saucepan and add salt. Bring to the boil.
- When the water comes to the boil, add the polenta in a steady stream, whilst stirring with a wooden spoon. Continue to stir until the water comes back to the boil, then turn heat right down to a simmer and place lid on saucepan.
- Continue to cook polenta for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so to prevent it from sticking to the base of the saucepan.
- Meanwhile, line a 18cm x 27cm baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
- When polenta is cooked, pour into prepared tray and smooth top. Allow to cool. When cold, cover and place in fridge overnight or until ready to use.
- When ready to use, cut polenta into 6 even sized squares.
To prepare the Vegetables:
- Heat a small frying pan over medium heat. When hot add onion, 2 tablespoons of water and 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Cook over medium-low heat until onion has caramelised.
- Meanwhile, heat oven to 200 degrees C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Combine 2 teaspoons of olive oil and garlic in a medium sized bowl.
- Add cut eggplants, sliced zucchini and pumpkin to bowl. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, then toss to coat well.
- Tip vegetables onto prepared tray and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until vegetables have started to brown and are cooked through.
- Heat a medium sized frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add 2 teaspoons of oil and two slices of polenta.
- Cook polenta for 3-4 minutes on either side, until golden brown.
- Meanwhile, heat pasta sauce, then place in the middle of two serving plates and spread out so that when the polenta is placed on top, it oozes out around it.
- Place cooked polenta slices on top of pasta sauce, then drizzle with about half of the pesto.
- Toss the spinach in the pan quickly to just wilt, about 1 minute, then place on top of polenta.
- Add mushrooms to pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned.
- Meanwhile, top polenta with pumpkin, capsicum, eggplant and zucchini.
- When cooked add the mushrooms and finally, the caramelised onion.
- Add haloumi to pan and cook for 1-2 minutes either side, until golden brown.
- Top polenta stacks with haloumi, drizzle with remaining pesto and serve.
Per Polenta Stack: 1670kJ or 398 calories; P 15g Fat 24g SFat 7g CHO 29g Fibre 7g
Low FODMAP version
For a low FODMAP version, exclude onion and mushrooms
Replace onion with the green part of spring onions and lightly panfry
When making pesto, exclude garlic, use an onion and garlic free stock and use a garlic infused oil
Ensure that the pasta sauce is free from onion and garlic
Polenta is merely a form of coarsely ground corn. It is a staple food of northern Italy, though it is also used in many other countries around the world including Mexico.
It is a gluten free grain that is a rich source of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A and C, making it a good source of the caroteinoids, lutein and zeaxanthin; powerful antioxidants which protect the eyes from age-related macular degeneration. It also contains potassium, phosphorus and magnesium
Corn contains the type of fibre that supports the growth of friendly bacteria in our large intestine and lowers the risk of bowel cancer.
Because of its smooth texture and neutral flavour, polenta can be served as the main component of a meal, as a side dish or as a dessert. It can be served soft, or be spread into a tray, allowed to cool, then baked or fried.