Parmesan Polenta with Roasted Vegetables
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A simple, cozy vegetarian dish with creamy, buttery polenta topped with ratatouille-style balsamic and herb-roasted vegetables.
This easy vegetarian dish is basically the most delicious bowl of porridge you can eat for dinner.
Along with a generous amount of colorful balsamic roasted vegetables served on top, there’s not much better!
If you’ve never made polenta before, you may want to check out this step-by-step post for How To Make Creamy Polenta.
A bowl of creamy, warming parmesan polenta is very craveable whenever that fall feeling hits.
Do you ever notice that your appetite changes right along with the seasons?
You know when those last days of summer just seem different, starting with the first step outside in the morning.
Maybe there’s a chill in the air that wasn’t there the day before, or the leaves on familiar trees have an edge of gold or crimson.
Whatever triggers that transition — even if it has nothing to do with the weather — when cozy comfort food is called for, you can count on polenta to satisfy.
Ingredients for this recipe
- 2 colorful bell peppers
- 1 small eggplant
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes,
- 3 small zucchini
- ½ red onion
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Garlic cloves
- Crushed red chili flakes
- Fresh thyme or rosemary
- Balsamic vinegar
- Coarse cornmeal (polenta)
- Fresh Parmesan cheese
How to make Parmesan polenta
- Get coarse cornmeal to make polenta, not the more finely ground corn flour.
- To make this creamy parmesan polenta without constant stirring, first choose a heavy-duty saucepan or Dutch oven. One that has 3 or 4 quarts capacity is ideal. A sturdy pan will retain heat better, allowing the thickened polenta to cook at a low temperature without sticking or scorching.
- Bring the water to a boil, then gradually add the cornmeal in a thin stream — you can do this either by pouring it out of a small bowl or measuring cup with a spout or with your hands, letting the grain fall through your fingers. Pour in the polenta with one hand while whisking it into the water with the other (this your chance to practice hand-eye coordination).
- Once all the cornmeal is in the pan, it will almost immediately start to thicken and boil. This is when you turn the heat down as low as your stove will go. Stir the polenta once or twice, then cover the pan and let it cook mostly undisturbed for 20 – 3o minutes. Check on it and stir the polenta once or twice during that time.
When I make polenta, I like to be generous with the butter and parmesan cheese. It’s a perfect neutral canvas for cheesy, creamy additions.
How to reheat polenta:
Leftover polenta is easily reheated:
- In a saucepan, combine 2 – 3 tablespoons liquid for each 1 cup of polenta.
- Liquid can be milk, cream, broth water or a mixture.
- Stir to break up the clumps, cover the pan and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice.
- Add additional butter, cheese, salt and pepper to taste.
More recipes with roasted vegetables:
- Spice-Roasted Carrots with Whipped Feta
- Harvest Root Vegetable Salad with Chimichurri
- Roasted Squash Rigatoni Pasta with Greens
- Mediterranean Roast Vegetable Salad
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Parmesan Polenta with Roasted Vegetables
For the roasted vegetables:
- 2 bell peppers in assorted colors, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 small eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes (1-1/2 cups)
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 small or 2 medium-sized zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or rosemary
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
For the polenta:
- 1 cup (160 g) coarse cornmeal
- 1-2 teaspoons salt
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 tablespoons (60 g) butter
- Preheat the oven to 425 (220C) degrees.
Roast the vegetables
- Combine the peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, onion, olive oil and the salt on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until beginning to soften and turn brown, 20-25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and stir in the garlic, chili, thyme and balsamic vinegar.
Make the polenta
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a heavy-duty sauce pan or small Dutch oven. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt. Gradually sprinkle the polenta into the pan while whisking at the same time. Turn the heat to a very low simmer, cover and continue to cook the polenta for 25-30 minutes, until it's thick, fluffy and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Stir occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. When it's done remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, butter and additional salt to taste, if needed.
- Spoon the warm polenta into bowls and put some of the roasted vegetables and the pan juice over each serving. Sprinkle with additional cheese, if you like.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- If you don’t have a Dutch oven or or enameled cast iron pot, choose your heaviest saucepan and turn the heat to low for best results with minimal stirring.
- Storing leftovers or to make ahead: You can refrigerate the polenta and vegetables up to a week, and reheat for about 20 minutes at 350 (175C) degrees. Stir in a little more liquid to the polenta if it’s too thick.
- You might also like How To Make Creamy Parmesan Polenta
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Made pretty much as listed just with mushrooms instead of eggplant. Everyone loved it. Will definitely be making again!
Why doesn’t the polenta recipe have no quantities???
Hello Ron, do you mean quantities as in how many servings? It serves 4 as noted at the top of the recipe. Quantities for the polenta are listed in the ingredient list.
I’m making this tonight because it looks delicious, but just wanted to point out that the roasted vegetables ingredients section calls for 1.5 tsp of salt, but the directions for the roasted vegetables only says .5 tsp. I ended up adding too much because I was following the ingredients list.
Hi Lexi – Thank you for letting me know about that. I’ve updated the ingredients – it should be just 1/2 teaspoon salt.
I can only seem to find instant polenta…how will this change the way I make the polenta? Last time I tried to make this the polenta was awful and I didn’t know if you had suggestions…thanks in advance!
Hi Lauren – Great question! If all you can find is instant polenta, I suggest following the package directions for preparing it. Add in the butter, Parmesan cheese and salt until it tastes good to you.
Can’t wait to make this dish! How many servings does this yield for nutritional information. It gives per serving but doesn’t state how many servings in this recipe. Thanks in advance!
Hi Kristine – The recipe yield is 4 servings. Hope you enjoy it!
This recipe is so delicious! I’d never made polenta before and it was easy and so very good. The veggies were tasty and went well with the polenta. I served it as a side dish because I didn’t think it would be filling enough on its own, but it really could be served as a main dish. Thank-you so much for posting this recipe! It’s a keeper!
Is that the correct measurements? 2-3 tablespoons of liquid per 1 cup of polenta – seems not right.
The recipe uses 4 cups water to 1 cup polenta.
This was delicious! I was skeptical about the raw garlic at first, but I loved the extra bite that it added.
This was delicious. My husband was totally in love with this. It is time consuming so be prepared.
I made this last night and all I can say is WOW!!!!! Super easy, super delicious and healthy too! I couldn’t find eggplant ( not in season) but I added Romanesco and it was amazing! I doubled that vinaigrette because why not, it was too good not to. This will be a go to for us every week I’m certain.
Isn’t this dish vegetarian and not vegan ?
The recipe is vegetarian. If you’d like to make this vegan, you can omit the Parmesan cheese, and use olive oil instead of butter in the polenta recipe.
THis looks os good! What a perfect fall comfort dish to make for yourself or others!
Thanks for sharing! Does it keep long?
You can refrigerate the polenta and vegetables up to a week, and reheat for about 20 minutes at 350.
This is the 2nd time I’ve made this recipe. I do add shrimp, but even without is amazing! Will make again!!!
This looks so good! What a perfect way to use up the fall garden veggies on a filling vegan dish!
Just tried this recipe tonight. It was wonderful. I did not have eggplant so I substituted with broccoli. My first attempt making polenta as well. So good. Thanks for sharing..
I’m so happy you enjoyed it Mary. Broccoli is always a good choice!
Made this tonight and wow it’s delicious! Love the flavor of the veggies and the cheesy polenta was really good! Only thing I would change is maybe add more cornmeal in the beginning. Took slightly longer to get creamy! Other than that.. We’ll be making again!
This dish was so delicious, the roasted vegetables go so well with the polenta. The balsamic glaze gives a nice acidity that offsets the creamy polenta.
I’ve made this approximately 782,564 times in the last four weeks. This is the PERFECT fall recipe- it’s filling, easy, and delicious. Thanks for the great recipe!
LOL – that’s amazing!!
This recipe has become a regular stand-by dinner recipe in my house. The polenta is amazing and I use the veg seasoning on whatever vegetables I have. Great for cleaning out the vegetable crisper or using whatever is in season. Today is Brussels and carrots!
What is the serving size on this
This should serve 4 or up to 6 as a smaller portion or side dish.
This looks amazing, i cannot wait to try it out.
This recipe is so wonderful! I loved this so much, the vegetables were full of flavor and the polenta was super creamy! I would add the garlic to the veggies before cooking next time and maybe drizzle with balsamic glaze instead of just the vinegar. Love your pictures, thanks for sharing your recipe!
Can’t wait to try this. I see eggplant on your baking sheet but not in the ingredient list. Typo?
Yes!! Thanks so much for pointing that out Pat! Fixed it.
I made this tonight and it was amazing!! Thank you for the wonderful recipe.
I made this last night for dinner, so filling and delicious! I swapped out zucchini for mushrooms. This morning I threw on a fried sunny side up egg and ate the leftovers for breakfast!
This looks so delicious! My hubby is meat free right now and I think this would be a hearty dish to serve! Can I substitute eggplant? Yum!!!
Would you typically serve this as a side dish? Or is it “enough” to be a main dish/stand alone for two people?
Erin, this would make a great vegetarian main dish, with maybe a salad on the side, or a side for 4 people along with a piece of chicken or fish.
When do you put the crushed red pepper flake so in?
Hi Zoe- thanks for pointing out that typo! Add the chili in step 2 along with the garlic and thyme.
Hi! This looks delicious. I am a fairly new vegetarian and I am thinking about making this as my first vegetarian Thanksgiving dish. Could you tell me how many bowls this recipe made? I am only looking to make 1-2 servings as my husband is NOT vegetarian so he will be getting the usual turkey! Just wanted to know if this recipe needs to be halved. Thank you!
I’ve been meaning to tell you how much we enjoy this recipe, and your recipe and cooking style generally. Many thanks for sharing. Now…I must have a polenta craving…off to try your rosemary lemon polenta cookies;-)
I cooked it lust night with mushrooms ,zucchini and shallots . Was very yummy )))))
That does sound yummy, Nataliya!
going to try this but add some spicy shrimp from the grill! sounds so good and comfy!!
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I stumbled upon your blog via foodgawker and all I can saw it WOW. I made the above recipe tonight for dinner and my husband and I were blown away! This was so hearty and flavorful.
Thank you for the recipe!!
This recipe sounds and looks delicious! Can’t wait to make it. Thank you for sharing.
Gah! I’m a polenta freak and this dish looks as though it’s only going to reinforce the matter. Gorgeously simple, and simply gorgeous!
Heather – thank you! I hope you love it.
Kare, I know exactly what you mean…it’s hard for me to pass on polenta too. Fortunately its one of my healthier habits 🙂
Could I possibly use grits instead of polenta? Thanks for the yummy-sounding vegetarian recipe!
Carolyn – yes to grits. I say go for it! Polenta is just Italian grits, I think. I typically use stone ground cornmeal, and if you can find coarsely ground grits I think it would be fantastic in this recipe.
i get tempted to do this recipe because it has cheese in it. 😀
Sooo pretty! And yes, breathe in this very evening’s air, a full 20 degrees cooler than at noon.
Alanna, I’m breathing it in and loving it!