Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cheesy Polenta Cups with Shredded Zucchini

We scored several bags of discount tomatoes at the grocery store, so it was homemade pasta sauce tonight with tempeh meatballs. I made these polenta cups (with cornmeal because it's easier) to try to get the kids to eat some zucchini without so much whining. They didn't whine, but they didn't jump up and down either. I really liked them and they would make a nice appetizer.

- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small zucchini, finely grated
- 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce (or more)
- grated vegan cheese (alternate topping: Italian bread crumbs)
Variation: top zucchini with pesto

1. Bring water and salt to boiling in a sauce pan. Whisk in cornmeal and keep whisking until thick. Remove from heat and whisk in nutritional yeast and olive oil.
2. Spoon polenta into 6 muffin tins. Allow to cool slightly, then, working quickly, press into a shell shape. Wet your fingers of polenta is sticky. Place muffin tin in the fridge to cool.
3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grate zucchini. Squeeze out excess water with your hands. Remove polenta from fridge, remove from muffin tin, and place on a non stick cookie sheet. Gently press 1/6 of the zucchini into each cup and top with a generous tbsp of spaghetti sauce. Top all that with some cheese.
4. Bake for 10-12 mins, until cheese is melted and polenta is slightly crispy.
NOTE: you need to shape the polenta before it cools. Wetting your fingers can help if polenta is sticky, or is cooling quickly. If you want to make more than 6 cups, I would suggest making two batches of polenta rather than trying to for 12 cups at once.


Paulina said...

I can't wait to make this!

Shelby said...

YUM! I'll be making these soon!

Eesh said...

Ohh that looks really good!!

Jan Scholl said...

I love polenta-I make rolls of it and slice for the grill. other than the fake cheese, I might make these when I can eat again (having surgery tomorrow on my mouth-yuck)

maybe some toasty spice up bread crumbs on top instead?

John Plummer said...

Polenta cups? Now you're talking! Nice bit about you in VegNews, too!

Sharon R said...

My gosh, they look good!

Vegan Dad said...

I think bread brumbs would be a great idea for this. Or, forget the pasta sauce and top the zucchini with pesto.

I have yet to see the VegNews issue. Mail moves slow up to Canada, I guess.

Vegan Dad said...

wishing you a speedy recovery from the surgery.

John Plummer said...

Vegan Dad,
That's too bad. I got my VegNews last week! I could scan the page and email it to you.

Vegan Dad said...

That would be great. They are mailing it to me, but I am anxious to see it! Email me at vegandadDOTblogspotATgmailDOTcom (replacing the DOTS and AT with the appropriate symbols, of course)

Marisa L. B. said...

I love the idea of making polenta cups! I'm going to try this too!

Beazle said...

Those look so great! They'd be a fantastic alternative to those frozen mini-quiches at parties.

(Ve*ganChick) said...

How cute. I think these look great!

mamapasta said...

polenta cups are a great idea , I think I will cook that with number of things for my summer " french apéro " with friends , maybe it will keep well frozen , who knows?

Maggie said...

Hrmmm. Lately polenta has been tasting like pork to me, so I've been trying to avoid it. But I just might change my mind for this recipe.

Looks delicious!

Vegan Dad said...

I have never frozen polenta, so I am not sure. Certainly worth a try in the test kitchen.

Trish said...

These look really good and I am pretty sure my kiddos would even like them. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Can you tell me about how long you cook the polenta for before pouring them into the tins? When I make firm polenta I stir for about 30 min. Is this about right or do you cook for much less.

Vegan Dad said...

I use regular cornmeal for this recipe, so it cooks in minutes. Polenta does take longer--about 20 to 30 mins.

Tori said...

Tried this the other day. I've made pizza using polenta before but using the muffin tin is a great idea! Perfect for a party or a snack :)

Jennifer said...

This was great! I'm learning to like zucchini right now. We had no tomato sauce or pesto (oh no!), so I added a little dried basil and powdered garlic to the top. I used this same polenta recipe to make lasagna, inspired by another of your posts.