A few weeks ago I met up with some blogger gals in New York City at the uber-trendy The Smith on the upper West Side. While the atmosphere was deafeningly loud, the food was delicious. I had their special—Tuscan Eggs—and a side of cheesy polenta. I scooped out the eggs and set them aside, replacing them with the polenta. And have been thinking about that brunch ever since. So here’s my completely vegan and gluten-free version. Bonus, it’s really easy to make!
You can make this by simply assembling pre-made foods and baking for 20-30 minutes, or you can make the sauce and polenta yourself. If you use pre-cooked polenta in a tube, it will look a bit neater than mine. You can also make the polenta a day ahead. In that case, spread it into an oiled rectangular pan and refrigerate. You’ll be able to cut the polenta into squares and pop it on top.
vegan, gluten-free, reduced-sugar diets
If you are celiac, make sure you buy gluten-free polenta, which is processed in a certified GF facility.
Tuscan baked polenta
- 1 cup corn grits (white, stone-ground) polenta 135 g (or one tube pre-cooked polenta, sliced)
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 25 ounces tomato sauce chunky spicy marinara (700 g)
- 3 bell peppers roasted (12 oz jar/240 g dry)
- 14 ounces artichoke hearts jarred or frozen
- 6 ounces spinach fresh, baby
- 1 cup mozzarella (shredded, vegan) (115 g)
- 1/2 cup pine nuts raw (75 g)
- 1 handful basil leaves (fresh)
- Heat 4 cups (1 L) of water in a large heavy-bottomed pot over high heat until boils. Slowly pour in the polenta while whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon for about 20-30 minutes. You want it to be very thick.
- Remove the polenta from the heat and add 2 t. of the salt and whisk thoroughly. Taste and season with additional cracked black pepper and more salt if needed.
- While the polenta is cooking, preheat the oven to 375F/190C/gas mark 5. If you are roasting the peppers yourself, here is how to roast bell peppers.
- In a large oven-proof skillet, start heating the tomato sauce. Add the vegetables as you finish prepping them:
- Drain and roughly chop the roasted peppers. (Or, peel the cooled roasted peppers and roughly chop.)
- Drain and quarter the artichoke hearts. (Thaw and drain frozen ones.)
- Add the spinach about 10 minutes before you want to put the dish in the oven. Put a lid on the pan to help the spinach wilt down. Stir everything gently to mix well.
- Make a small well in the top of the tomato mixture and put a generous dollop of polenta in it. Repeat until you have about 6 polenta scoops on top. Or, place the sliced polenta across the top in a layer, nestling it down into the sauce so it's partially covered.
- Sprinkle the polenta with the cheese and then the pine nuts.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and the pine nuts are golden brown.
- 335 calories
- 13 g fat
- 2 g saturated fat
- 0 g monounsaturated fat
- 0 g polyunsaturated fat
- 0 g trans fat
- 0 g cholesterol
- 1640 mg sodium
- 160 mg potassium
- 47 g carbohydrate
- 8 g fiber
- 10 g sugars
- 10 g protein
- 9 Weight Watchers Points Plus