Crispy polenta cakes with roasted eggplant and a 5-minute romesco sauce is the perfect plant-based 30-minute weeknight dinner. Loaded with flavor, filling, and gorgeous to look at this eggplant and polenta recipe is a must try.
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Are you eating more plant-based meals than ever before? This recipe allows you to work on the next step while one item is cooking which means from start to finish you are done in less than 30 minutes.
This recipe relies on just a few simple whole food ingredients but there are a plethora of substitution options so you can easily make your own variations.
Eggplant- You just need one eggplant for this recipe. You can also try it with our roasted zucchini or do both to stretch the meal from four servings to six.
Polenta- This recipe relies on using one precooked tube of polenta. This type of polenta is found in either the Italian section or near the rice and dried grain area of the supermarket. There are also a few brands that are refrigerated but those tend to contain dairy. You can also use leftover polenta that has been
Romesco Sauce- A smokey Spanish sauce using pantry staples including roasted red peppers, almonds, tomato paste, and paprika. In a pinch, you could substitute our San Marzano tomato sauce or a fresh salsa.
Arugula- You can use arugula or any fresh green you like. Like spinach or even microgreens. To stretch the dish into more servings you can increase the greens and saute them following our sauteed greens recipe.
⏲️How to Make Polenta with Eggplant
Start by salting your sliced eggplant and letting it rest for 10 minutes.
Bake the eggplant for 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
Chill your tube of polenta to make slicing easier. While the eggplant is roasting fry your polenta.
Remember to toast the almonds for the romesco sauce. It really does make a difference.
Depending on the brand, sometimes it gets brown and toasty. Other times it will turn golden. Check the texture of the polenta cakes. They should have a nice crispy crust.
Everything will come together at the same time. For serving, layer the polenta cakes and eggplant on a platter. Top with the romesco sauce and your greens.
Don't over-salt your eggplant. We want to extract some excess water to quicken the cooking but not dry it out.
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Store each layer in separate airtight containers int eh refrigerator. Leftovers with last for 3 days.
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📖 Printable Recipe Card
Crispy Polenta with Eggplant
- Cut off ends of eggplant and slice into ⅓ inch rounds. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet. Lay the eggplant on the rack. Liberally sprinkle each side of the steaks with the salt and let the eggplant sit for 10 minutes. Rinse the eggplant under cool water and thoroughly pat dry with a towel.1 medium eggplant, kosher salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the eggplant and single layer on the parchment lined baking sheet. Brush both sides lightly with olive oil and a light sprinkle of black pepper.¼ cup olive oil, kosher salt and pepper
- Roast the eggplant in the oven for 10 minutes. Flip and roast for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
- While the eggplant is cooking, cut the polenta tube into 12 even rounds, season with black pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed saute pan. In batches, sear the polenta rounds until the polenta is golden brown on each side, about 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving platter.18 oz tube of prepared polenta, kosher salt and pepper
- Place all ingredients into a blender. Process on medium-high until mixture is smooth but grainy. Transfer to a small pan and heat on low heat until warmed through.1 10 oz jar roasted red peppers, ½ cup sliced almonds, 2 tablespoon tomato paste, 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1 clove garlic, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, ¼ cup parsley, pinch cayenne pepper
- Layer the eggplant and polenta on a platter. Topped with the romesco sauce and arugula.2 cups arugula
- Polenta cakes can be made in advance and reheated in a frying pan.
- Leftovers will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for 3 to 5 days.