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Parmesan Polenta with Roasted Vegetables

4.72 from 175 community reviews

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A simple, cozy vegetarian dish with creamy, buttery polenta topped with ratatouille-style herb-roasted vegetables and balsamic vinegar.

Parmesan Polenta with 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 (that are also sooo good layered into homemade vegetable lasagna), 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 crave-able 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.

Roasted Vegetables with Parmesan Polenta

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 you need for the 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
  • Butter
Parmesan Polenta with Roasted Vegetables

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:

  1. In a saucepan, combine 2 – 3 tablespoons liquid for each 1 cup of polenta.
  2. Liquid can be milk, cream, broth water or a mixture.
  3. Stir to break up the clumps, cover the pan and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  4. Add additional butter, cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

More recipes with roasted vegetables:

Recipe:

Parmesan Polenta with Roasted Vegetables

Parmesan Polenta with Roasted Vegetables

Karen Tedesco
Make this cozy, simply delicious Parmesan polenta topped with colorful roasted ratatouille-style Mediterranean vegetables when you want a one-bowl vegetarian meal or side.
Print Pin
4.72 from 175 community reviews
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Vegetables
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings

Equipment

Ingredients

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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Serving

  • 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
Recipe updated August 2018

Nutrition

Calories: 379kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 1125mg | Potassium: 1231mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 3006IU | Vitamin C: 135mg | Calcium: 231mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.

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Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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58 Comments

  1. Marcy Lynn Crosby says:

    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!

    1. What is the serving size on this

  2. 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!

  3. Can’t wait to try this. I see eggplant on your baking sheet but not in the ingredient list. Typo?

  4. I made this tonight and it was amazing!! Thank you for the wonderful recipe.

  5. 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!

  6. 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!!!

  7. Would you typically serve this as a side dish? Or is it “enough” to be a main dish/stand alone for two people?

    1. 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.

    2. When do you put the crushed red pepper flake so in?

      1. Hi Zoe- thanks for pointing out that typo! Add the chili in step 2 along with the garlic and thyme.

  8. 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!

  9. TERRI NEWCOMB says:

    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;-)

  10. I cooked it lust night with mushrooms ,zucchini and shallots . Was very yummy )))))

  11. going to try this but add some spicy shrimp from the grill! sounds so good and comfy!!

  12. raw vegetable recipes says:

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  13. *all I can say is
    Excuse the typo!

  14. 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!!

  15. This recipe sounds and looks delicious! Can’t wait to make it. Thank you for sharing.

  16. 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!

    1. 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 🙂

  17. carolyn harlow says:

    Could I possibly use grits instead of polenta? Thanks for the yummy-sounding vegetarian recipe!

    1. 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.

  18. i get tempted to do this recipe because it has cheese in it. 😀

  19. Sooo pretty! And yes, breathe in this very evening’s air, a full 20 degrees cooler than at noon.