This recipe combines two Italian favorites: traditional bruschetta topping and crispy, grilled polenta. Polenta is shaped into rounds and baked crispy. The bruschetta is fresh and garlicky. The combination is completely addictive, and makes for an amazing appetizer!

Polenta Bruschetta [Vegan, Gluten-Free]



For the Polenta:

  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup coarse ground cornmeal (polenta)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

For the Bruschetta:

  • 1 large heirloom tomato, or 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Extra basil leaves, for garnish


  1. Add the cornmeal and water into a medium sized pot and stir well with a whisk. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cover, stirring every few minutes. Continue to simmer until the mixture is about the same texture as oatmeal, about 20 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and spread the polenta onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Make a layer about 1/2-inch thick. Cover and let the polenta completely cool and solidify. Once cool, use a round cookie cutter to cut polenta rounds, or just cut the polenta into squares, or whatever shape you prefer. Chill the rounds in the refrigerator while you preheat a grill pan. At this time, mix the minced garlic with the olive oil in a small dish.
  3. Preheat a cast iron grill pan (or just use a regular nonstick frying pan) to medium heat. Brush the polenta rounds with the garlic-oil mixture, and grill for 5 minutes on each size until slightly crispy.
  4. To make the bruschetta, chop the tomato into small chunks, and toss with the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Top the warm polenta rounds with bruschetta topping, garnish with basil leaves, and serve.