Polenta Cakes with Pesto & Mozzarella

First Pic

I’ve been a really big fan of polenta lately. I think it’s because it’s so easy to make and usually goes a long way. These polenta cakes make a really great side dish and go well with just about anything. For last night’s dinner, I decided to top the cakes with a basil pesto aioli, fresh mozzarella and some diced orange and red peppers. It was delicious, so easy to make and perfect for Meatless Monday!

Polenta in Pan

The first step in this recipe is to make the polenta. You can buy pre-made polenta or make it yourself with just the grits. I went with making it myself because I like to make a creamier polenta. Begin by bringing 3 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 cup of polenta, 2 tsp of salt and a touch of black pepper. Allow the polenta to simmer for about 5 minutes or until the water is absorbed.  Mix in 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella.

Polenta in Dish

Next, pour the finished polenta into a baking dish lined with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Completely cover the dish and refrigerate for about 30 min to firm.

Pesto

While the polenta is cooling, you can begin to make the pesto aioli. Combine 1 cup of fresh basil leaves, 2 cloves of garlic and 4 almonds in a food processor. Pulse a few times, then slowly add 1 tbsp olive oil while pulsing. Continue to chop until the pesto is almost pureed. Transfer to a bowl and add 1 tbsp light mayo and 2 tsp lemon juice.

Peppers

Next step is to dice the orange and red peppers and lightly salt them. Slice a ball of mozzarella into semi-thin slices.

Cakes in Pan

When polenta has firmed, take out of the refrigerator and start forming cakes. I use a drinking glass to cut the cakes. In a large skillet, cook the cakes in olive oil on each side until lightly browned. Transfer the cakes to a plate and top with pesto aioli, sliced fresh mozzarella and peppers. Serve!

Pinterest Pic

Polenta Cakes with Pesto & Mozzarella
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Serves: 3-4
 

Ingredients
  • 1 cup polenta grits
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella
  • 3 tsp salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 almonds
  • 1 tbsp light mayo
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 medium ball of fresh mozzarella
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper

Instructions
  1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 cup of polenta, 2 tsp of salt and a touch of black pepper
  2. Allow polenta to simmer for about 5 minutes or until the water is absorbed
  3. Pour finished polenta into a baking dish lined with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Completely cover the dish and refrigerate for about 30 min to firm
  4. Dice the orange and red peppers and lightly salt them
  5. Slice a ball of mozzarella into semi-thin slices.
  6. When polenta has firmed, take out of the refrigerator and start forming cakes with a drinking glass or circle cutter
  7. In a large skillet, cook the cakes in olive oil on each side until lightly browned
  8. Transfer the cakes to a plate and top with pesto aioli, sliced fresh mozzarella and peppers
  9. Pesto Aioli:
  10. Combine 1 cup of fresh basil leaves, 2 cloves of garlic and 4 almonds in a food processor
  11. Pulse a few times, then slowly add 1 tbsp olive oil while pulsing
  12. Continue to chop until the pesto is almost pureed. Transfer to a bowl and add 1 tbsp light mayo and 2 tsp lemon juice.

 

4 Responses to Polenta Cakes with Pesto & Mozzarella

  1. Yum! I’m a big fan of polenta, too. It seems to pair well with anything. Love this idea for dinner!

  2. These sound amazing, Jackie! I need to buy myself some polenta. I love it, but never get around to making it. This dish sounds right up my alley in the biggest way.

  3. I think I’ve only had polenta once. This looks so delicious and tasty!

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

  4. two birds says:

    are you kidding me right now? i need this asap!!! yum! thanks for sharing!

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