Feb 19, 2014

Roasted Garlic and Tomato Polenta. Vegan!

If you can make grits, you can make polenta. It’s basically the same recipe and the beauty of polenta is that you can add whatever ingredients speak to your palate. I happen to love roasted garlic and I had some adorable little tomatoes that were a perfect compliment, adding an acidic kick to the creamy, mellow polenta.

Polenta was originally made with barley, millet or spelt meal and is Italian in origin, feeding the Roman Legions in ancient Rome, then known as “pulmentum.” Corn wasn’t introduced to Europe until the mid 17th century.

I served this for lunch with some steamed kale and it was a real hit. Humble, versatile and satisfying, this dish will delight you in every way!


  • 2 heads roasted garlic
  • 6 small tomatoes, such as Roma or Campari (I used Campari)
  • 1⅓ cups course corn grits
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup cashew milk
  • 3 TBS nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • pinch of sea salt (optional)
  • Fresh parsley and crushed black pepper to garnish
  1. To roast the tomatoes, cut them in half and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cut side up. Bake at 350° F for about one hour, or until most of their moisture has cooked off.
  2. Roast the garlic heads. See my post here for Roasted Garlic. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out the cloves and rough chop.
  3. Place the water in a large pot and bring to a slow boil. Add salt if using.
  4. Reduce heat to low and slowly stir in the grits, stirring constantly.
  5. When the mixture has thickened, add the cashew milk and continue stirring until the mixture is very thick and smooth.
  6. Add the nutritional yeast and mix well.
  7. Take off the heat and mix in the roasted garlic and parsley.
  8. Place the tomato halves, cut side down on a greased casserole dish, arranging them in a pleasing manner.
  9. Pour the polenta over the tomatoes.
  10. Set aside and let cool until the polenta is firm to the touch.
  11. Unmold the polenta, turning it upside down onto a serving platter. NOTE: You don’t have to use this presentation style if it seems too intimidating or difficult to do. You can simply place the tomatoes on the top of the polenta and let it go at that.
  12. Garnish with some fresh parsley and crushed black pepper.
  13. Slice into portions of your choosing.

Serves 6-8. Enjoy!

Healthy trails,

2 responses to “Roasted Garlic and Tomato Polenta. Vegan!”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Helyn, I'm totally new at this nutritarian thing, and your recipes are helping me learn more about food prep and what foods are nutrient-dense. Thank you! My previous "nutritional education and condition" had led me to believe that grits were bad for me. . . that grits were a food devoid of nutritional value. I had been diagnosed with gestational diabetes twice and was told I was on my way to becoming diabetic, so I tried to adhere to the advice I received from a health professional restricting and counting my carbs while eating animal-based proteins. I have long battled blood sugar issues – which now I know were signs of toxic hunger! Anyway, grits were a no-no, and for all practical purposes, they were seen as Southern junk food and having no nutritional value really. I am a born-and-bred Southerner from NC, and you can imagine how hard it was to break my breakfast habit of having some grits.

    Your recipe prompted me to look up the nutritional information about corn grits, and wow, I would've never guessed that grits have more folate than oatmeal, etc.! I am looking forward to adding healthily-prepared grits back into my diet. I can't believe anyone would say that being a nutritarian or eating plant-based is boring and limited. I'm still navigating recipes, prep-styles and re-educating myself. I'm also learning to adapt recipes I already have, and I find it fun.

    By the way, since I started eating nutritarian/plant-based a month or so ago, I no longer suffer from my up-and-down blood sugar issues like shakiness, irritability and afternoon fatigue!

    Thanks for sharing your recipes and knowledge!

  2. Helyn says:

    Hi Emily!

    Wow! I am super excited that you have found my site and are getting some useful information and recipes that you can enjoy! Feel free to email me privately if you have any questions about any of the recipes. I'm always happy to help.


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