Two Peas and Their Pod

Grilled Polenta Cakes

The lovely Cristina Ferrare, hostess of Cristina Ferrare’s Big Bowl of Love on Oprah’s OWN Network, recently published a cookbook, Big Bowl of Love. The cookbook is filled with more than 150 simple, fabulous recipes that the entire family will love. I’ve bookmarked almost every recipe to try, but the Grilled Polenta Cakes were really calling my name so I started with those.

I love polenta, but don’t eat it often enough. That is going to change because these Grilled Polenta Cakes are easy to make and so tasty. The grilled polenta rounds are covered with tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese, and fresh chopped basil. What is not to love? All of my favorite things in one little appetizer.

I ate a few grilled polenta cakes with a salad and it was the perfect light lunch. Grilled Polenta Cakes are also the perfect appetizer for parties. They are simple to make, beautiful to present, and delicious.

Thanks Cristina for a fabulous recipe. I can’t wait to cook my way through the rest of your fantastic cookbook, Big Bowl of Love. Oh-and if you are like me and enjoy cookbooks with beautiful food photos, this is the book for you. Todd Porter and Diane Cu, White on Rice Couple, took all of the photographs for this book. I love their work and all of the photos in Big Bowl of Love are stunning!

Grilled Polenta Cakes

Yield: Serves 8-10


1 tube polenta, removed from casing, cut into 1/2-inch slices, and patted dry with paper towels
Approximately 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Cooking spray
1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (you may have some leftover)
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup basil, chopped
Cracked pepper


1. Brush both sides of the polenta cakes with the olive oil, and set aside.

2. Heat a grill pan until really hot. Lay the polenta cakes in one layer on the pan, and grill for 8-10 minutes on each side or until both sides are golden and crunchy and have grill marks.

3. Remove the cakes from the grill and let cool on a baking rack.

4. Just before you are ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange the grilled polenta cakes on the baking sheet. Place a heaping tablespoon of your favorite tomato sauce on each slice, then add a generous amount of freshly grated Parmesan cheese to each. Bake for 15 minutes.

5. Garnish with fresh chopped basil, kosher salt, and cracked pepper, and serve warm.

Recipe from Cristina Ferrare's Big Bowl of Love

If you like these Grilled Polenta Cakes, you might also like:

Polenta Pizza Stackers from Cooking with my Kid
Polenta Cakes from bell’alimento
Polenta Cups with Sweet Peppers, Manchego, and Almonds from Table Talk


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52 Responses to “Grilled Polenta Cakes”

  1. Jessica @ How Sweet — May 13, 2011 @ 3:41 am

    We love polenta – this would make a great dinner for us!

  2. Jeanette — May 13, 2011 @ 4:03 am

    What an easy but delicious dinner or appetizer idea! Are there a lot of vegetarian recipes in this book?

  3. Heather (heather's dish) — May 13, 2011 @ 4:43 am

    i’ve had a hankering to make polenta lately…i think this would be a fantastic way to do it!

  4. i have never made polenta, i know crazy, huh. need to work on that!

  5. Erica — May 13, 2011 @ 5:18 am

    I bet these are just awesome! I recently made a cornmeal pizza and it reminded me of just how much I love things like grits, polenta, etc! They look so pretty with all the grill marks

  6. Lauren at Keep It Sweet — May 13, 2011 @ 5:23 am

    That sounds delicious! I have that cookbook and really need to start using it!

  7. DessertForTwo — May 13, 2011 @ 6:46 am

    I keep hearing how amazing this cookbook is! Now you’ve convinced me to buy it :)

    This little cafe in town makes a salad with balsamic vinaigrette, shards of parm and 3 little triangle-shaped grilled polenta cakes topped with super chunky tomato sauce. It’s one of my favorite lunches to get in the summer. Thanks for a version I can make at home :)

  8. CookiePie — May 13, 2011 @ 6:50 am

    Great idea! My little one loves polenta too (“Mommy, more lenta please!”), I bet she would gobble this up :)

  9. Rosa — May 13, 2011 @ 6:50 am

    A great idea! Those are perfect, healthy and so versatile.



  10. Allison — May 13, 2011 @ 6:53 am

    Polenta comes in a tube form? I’ve never made polenta (its on the list), but I have never seen it come alraedy made in tube form. Are you suggesting we make it, roll it into a tube, and then refrigerate to get it hard? If it comes in tube form what brand do you use?

    • twopeas replied: — May 13th, 2011 @ 7:28 am

      I bought it at the store in a tube. I used Food Merchants Organic Polenta. You can find it at most stores.

  11. susan — May 13, 2011 @ 6:56 am

    yum, i love polenta!

  12. I don’t make polenta often enough, but these grilled cakes are reason enough to make it soon! I love those grill marks ;).

  13. Jenny Flake — May 13, 2011 @ 8:24 am

    So fun! I got to sample this recipe when I met Cristina in LA a couple weeks ago, I can attest it was delicious! Have a great weekend Maria!

  14. Kathy Wolf — May 13, 2011 @ 8:30 am

    I love grilled polenta. It is nice and crunchy on the outside and smooth and creamy on the inside. Yum.

  15. Darla @ Bakingdom — May 13, 2011 @ 8:39 am

    I also love polenta, but never really eat it. I’m gonna try these this weekend though. Your’s are gorgeous!

  16. Kelly — May 13, 2011 @ 8:56 am

    It’s great to see so many bloggers getting paid work. How was the flavor of the polenta from the tube? I have to admit I’ve always been intrigued by grilled polenta, but worry that the tube stuff would be flavorless.

  17. marla — May 13, 2011 @ 9:02 am

    LOVE Cristina and her book! The polenta cakes are a must try! xo

  18. Katrina — May 13, 2011 @ 9:34 am

    These sound smashing! Polenta is such a yummy idea for dinner!

  19. I LOVE polenta cakes and yours look perfect, Maria and Josh! I like to serve them with chili, too… so yummy. Thanks for inspiring me with something new. Have a great weekend! :)

  20. my italian grandma always made polenta with sauce when i was little, so this recipe brings back so many memories! yum!

  21. Cara — May 13, 2011 @ 12:35 pm

    grilled polenta is so versatile and delicious – love it!

  22. Tracy — May 13, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

    These sound wonderful! What a great light lunch or snack. Can’t wait to try them!

  23. Oh I love this idea! I’ve never seen polenta in an easy appetizer form like this. Do they hold together well if you were to pick them up?

    • twopeas replied: — May 15th, 2011 @ 7:26 am

      Yes, they hold together nicely.

  24. Courtney — May 13, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

    Looks delicious and simple! :-)

  25. Fallon — May 13, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

    I bought the packed polenta a few weeks ago and been wanting to grill it up!! This looks delicious.

  26. Amanda — May 13, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

    They look like little pizzas! I bet my boys woul love them.

  27. Lora @cakeduchess — May 13, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

    Polenta is a favorite here and these polenta cakes are something we have to make. They look delicious! Cristina is lovely and so is her book. Hope you both have a lovely weekend:)

  28. foodwanderings — May 14, 2011 @ 4:18 am

    OMG I just posted something with polenta on my site. Unlike you I am not as familiar with it but now love it!!

  29. foodwanderings — May 14, 2011 @ 4:19 am

    btw, love the way the dish looks really pretty and simply & beatifully grilled polenta cakes.

  30. Kerstin — May 14, 2011 @ 1:09 pm

    This sounds like the perfect way to use up a tube of polenta – yum!

  31. Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) — May 14, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

    I’ve only ever tried polenta plain, and wasn’t a fan… but I can imagine by grilling it and topping it with yummy things, it’d be much tastier!

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  33. Lori @ RecipeGirl — May 15, 2011 @ 11:45 pm

    I love polenta! Will have to try grilling it for sure!

  34. pigpigscorner — May 16, 2011 @ 3:34 am

    This might be a great way to get my hubs to eat polenta!

  35. These look great! Can’t wait to give them a try :)

  36. Dana — May 16, 2011 @ 10:34 pm

    I first tried polenta right after I decided to stop eating meat. I thought it was one of the most amazing and delicious things I had ever eaten and my opinion hasn’t changed much over the years. I still love it but don’t eat it nearly enough. This is a great way to make it an every day dish!

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