Gluten-Free Polenta Cakes Recipe with Tomato Sauce

Polenta Cakes
Photo by Carmen Sturdy

Don’t let food allergies keep you from enjoying the scrumptious appetizers you crave. If bruschetta and crostinis are off the table, consider polenta. It’s made from coarse ground cornmeal, and is naturally gluten-free and high in iron and protein. In this hearty dish, each polenta cake is grilled until crisp and then topped with a chunky tomato sauce, full of veggies. The sauce, complete with mushrooms, eggplant, tomatoes and zucchini, is a great source of vitamin B-12, vitamin C, potassium, fiber and magnesium. Stack a few of the polenta rounds on your plate and top with sauce, or cut them smaller and serve as the star appetizer at your next party.

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Polenta Cakes
Photo by Carmen Sturdy

Polenta Cakes Topped With Tomato Sauce Recipe

Serves 5

Prep time: 20 minutes (plus 45 minutes chill time)
Cook time: 30 minutes


1 18-ounce tube of polenta or 1 cup instant polenta
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil, finely chopped
1/2 cup zucchini, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup eggplant, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
3 cups cherry tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon honey (or other sweetener)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 can chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped basil
1 tablespoon Parmesan (optional)


  1. If using polenta from a tube, skip to step 2. For instant polenta, bring 3 cups salted water to a simmer in a pot on medium heat. Slowly add the instant polenta, constantly stirring to ensure that clumps do not form. Continue stirring for 4 to 5 minutes until the polenta becomes very thick. Lightly grease a baking sheet and pour the polenta evenly into the pan so that it is approximately half an inch thick. Place the pan in the fridge for 45 minutes until it is hard. Once hard, remove form the fridge and cut into circles using a knife or cookie cutter.
  2. If using a tube of polenta, cut 1/2 inch thick slices.
  3. In a pot on medium low heat cook the crushed garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until it begins to turn golden in color. Lower the heat, add the chopped onions, zucchini, mushrooms and eggplant, sprinkle with salt and cook for 10 minutes until the vegetables have become translucent in color. Add in the cherry tomatoes and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the honey, tomato paste and chopped tomatoes to the pot and allow the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Heat the grill or barbecue. Lightly brush the polenta with olive oil and grill for 5 minutes per side or until they begin to turn golden in color and the edges become crisp.
  6. Serve each circle of polenta topped with tomato sauce, chopped basil and Parmesan if desired.
Polenta Cakes
Photo by Carmen Sturdy

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