Vegetable Polenta With Parmesan | The Picky Eater

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Buttery, creamy vegetable polenta made with parmesan and savory roasted vegetables is a rich and elegant way to enjoy porridge for dinner. This simple healthy recipe is cozy, comforting, and satisfying for the whole family! Naturally gluten free, and easily made vegan too!

Vegetable polenta with parmesan served in a white bowl garnished with fresh herbs.

Polenta is one of my favorite comfort food dishes to eat all year round. Depending on the season, I like to change up the toppings: fresh asparagus in the spring and summer, squashes and root veggies in the fall and winter – but the base recipe always stays the same.

If you’ve never tried a hearty vegetarian polenta recipe, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised. The fresh roasted veggies offer a variety of flavors and textures, the fresh herbs are bright and flavorful, and all of it melts together with the warm, creamy, cheesy polenta.

This dish is easy, fresh, tasty and full of flavor, and will make you see plain polenta in a whole new light!

I love serving this veggie polenta with this air fryer garlic bread and vegan roasted potatoes for a complete meal. And if you like this polenta with roasted vegetables recipe, you might also enjoy this gluten-free polenta lasagna!

👩🏽‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Great dish, meatless meal
  • Naturally gluten-free and vegetarian
  • Family friendly, kid friendly
  • Super easy recipe
  • Can be made vegan
  • Cozy comfort food
  • Plenty of variations to customize this vegetable polenta recipe however you like!

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🥘 Ingredients

This roasted vegetable polenta with parmesan is going to become your new favorite way to enjoy polenta! Here’s what you need to make it:

Ingredients for roasted vegetable polenta with parmesan recipe on a white background.

  • Zucchini & Eggplant: This combination of these ratatouille veggies roasts up perfectly for this creamy parmesan polenta. Zucchini and eggplant both have a tender and slightly sweet bite to when cooked. They add a tender & creamy texture to this polenta and roasted vegetables recipe.
  • Chopped Bell Pepper: Red and yellow bell peppers sit at slightly different levels of sweetness on the spectrum of bell peppers, with red being the sweetest. These add a mild, sweet, fruity flavor, and retain a slightly crispy texture when roasted.
  • Red Onion: Red onion is strong and a bit spicy when it’s raw, but when it’s roasted it gets caramelized and sweeter. It’s a great way to add a bit of a kick to this polenta dish.
  • Olive Oil: You’ll be tossing your veggies in olive oil for this roasted vegetables and polenta recipe. This step helps the veggies roast up to be nice and crispy, which is a delicious contrast when added to a warm bowl of creamy polenta.
  • Dried Oregano, Fresh Thyme, Fresh Rosemary, Salt, Pepper: Dried oregano an earthy flavor to this dish. Thyme has an earthy, minty, and even slightly lemony flavor and rosemary is a complex herb that has hints of evergreen, citrus, lavender, pine, sage, pepper, mint, and sage. These three herbs combine to add depth to this parmesan polenta with roasted vegetables. If you can’t find all 3 herbs separately, you can also use dried Italian seasoning. Kosher salt & pepper are essential to any dish, don’t leave them out!!
  • Vegetable Stock: Cooked polenta made with vegetable broth ends up having so much more flavor than simply using water.
  • Polenta: Polenta is just boiled cornmeal and is really similar to grits, and can be found at most grocery stores. It’s the foundation of this recipe and the next two ingredients take this vegetable polenta meal to the next level.
  • Parmesan Cheese & Butter: Parmesan cheese adds a sharp bite and salty flavor, and when combined with the butter, it makes this polenta and vegetables recipe super rich and creamy.

🔪 Instructions

Polenta and veggies is a savory dish that you can enjoy for any meal. Here’s how to make vegetable polenta!

Preheat Oven, Prep Veggies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Add the diced vegetables to a mixing bowl along with the oil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Stir to coat.

Diced ratatouille vegetables in a mixing bowl with olive oil and fresh herbs.

Roast Vegetables: Spread the seasoned vegetables in a single layer on the sheet pan, and roast in the oven for 15 minutes.

Roasted vegetables on a baking sheet.

Boil Stock & Water, Add Polenta: Add the vegetable stock and 2 cups of water to a pot and bring to a boil. Slowly pour in the cornmeal, whisking as it is added to ensure no lumps.

Dry polenta added to a pot with water.

Cook: Reduce heat, cover and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring throughout that time to prevent burning.

Gluten free parmesan polenta cooking in a large pot on the stove.

Add Butter & Cheese, Season: Once the polenta has cooked, remove the lid and remove from the heat. Stir through the butter and cheese. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Gluten free polenta cooking in a large pot on the stove.

Serve: Serve this parmesan roasted vegetables polenta hot, topped with a sprinkle of cracked black pepper and fresh herbs.

Roasted vegetable polenta with parmesan served in a white bowl with fresh herbs.

💭 Expert Tips

  • The type of polenta you use matters! While you can use instant polenta to make this recipe even faster, keep in mind that instant polenta will typically not have as robust of a flavor as regular polenta. Do not use pre-made polenta for this creamy polenta recipe. I recommend using either coarse, medium, or stone ground cornmeal for best results.
  • Note: polenta isn’t necessarily labeled as “polenta” at the grocery store. While some brands will call their products polenta, others will call it “medium ground cornmeal” or “ground cornmeal” or “coarse ground cornmeal” — all of these can be used to make polenta!
  • To keep the polenta soft, continue stirring throughout the cooking process. You’ll want to continue to cook the polenta until it begins to come away from the sides of the pot when cooking. If the polenta forms lumps, beat it with a whisk until it’s smooth again. If the polenta becomes too hard or thick, add a small amount of water or stock and whisk to combine until it’s the consistency you want.
  • Make sure to use a sturdy, large stock pot or dutch oven. The large pan will allow the polenta to cook evenly, at a low temperature, without burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan.

📖 Variations

  • Vegan Vegetable Polenta: This dish can easily be made vegan! Swap the butter out with vegan butter and use either your favorite vegan cheese, vegan parmesan, or nutritional yeast flakes in place of cheese. Vegan polenta will be just as rich, flavorful, and totally delicious as traditional parmesan vegetable polenta.
  • Different Variety Of Vegetables: Polenta with vegetables can be made with any veggies you want to use! Try spring vegetables, root vegetables, or other seasonal foods. Yellow squash and brussels sprouts would taste great in this recipe! Even roasted sweet potatoes, garlicky greens, or roasted cauliflower would be delicious in this polenta and vegetables recipe.
  • Add Toppings: You can add a variety of toppings to this roasted vegetables with polenta! Try adding some of this keto marinara sauce on top, a balsamic glaze or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, some extra cheese, leafy greens, or even vegan sausage. Feel free to switch up the cheeses as well. Goat cheese, fontina cheese, gorgonzola, or even blue cheese would all work.

❓Recipe FAQs

What is polenta made of? Is polenta gluten free?

Polenta is made from yellow corn that is ground into cornmeal, and is commonly used in Italian cooking. It is a whole grain that is low in calories and gluten free. It’s made by simply boiling cornmeal with water or broth.

Polenta is made from cornmeal which is a gluten free grain. However, similar to oats (which is also a gluten free grain), cornmeal is often processed in facilities that process wheat and other gluten-rich grains. So just make sure the polenta you use is certified gluten free.

IS POLENTA HEALTHY?

Polenta on its own is a whole grain and can be healthy, but it depends on what kind of ingredients you include when cooking it. Lots of cheese and butter make this recipe high in fat and calories, but reduce the butter and cheese, or use nutritional yeast, and you’ll have a healthy polenta recipe.

What type of cornmeal should you use for polenta?

There are a few different types of cornmeal you can use for this gluten free polenta recipe:

1) Instant polenta: The easiest to use, and the quickest to make. It’s typically either finely ground cornmeal or pre-cooked polenta that has been dried and packaged. Just keep in mind, it may not be as flavorful as regular polenta.

2) Stone ground cornmeal: This will give you the most texture in your polenta as it’s the least ground up and refined. Think of it as the same as steel cut oats vs. quick oats. It has a very rich corn flavor.

3) Coarse cornmeal: This is similar to stoneground as it has a lot of texture and isn’t finely ground.

4) Medium ground cornmeal: Besides instant cornmeal, this will give you the smoothest polenta because it is much more finely ground.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO REHEAT POLENTA?

Polenta can be made ahead of time and reheated, simply add 1/4-1/2 cup of water, cover, and reheat in the microwave or on low heat on the stove top.

HOW TO STORE VEGETARIAN POLENTA?

Cooked polenta and vegetables can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can even make this the day before for a meal prep polenta dinner recipe. To reheat polenta, add a little bit of water, stock, or milk to thin it out until you achieve the right consistency, and then heat it gently using the stove or microwave.

Vegetable polenta with parmesan served in a white bowl garnished with fresh herbs.

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📋 Recipe Card

Vegetable Polenta With Parmesan

Buttery, creamy vegetable polenta made with parmesan and savory roasted vegetables is a rich and elegant way to enjoy porridge for dinner. This simple healthy recipe is cozy, comforting, and satisfying for the whole family! Naturally gluten free, and easily made vegan too!

Prep Time15 mins

Cook Time40 mins

Total Time55 mins

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American, Italian

Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian

Servings: 4 servings

Calories: 358kcal

For The Roasted Vegetables

  • The type of polenta you use matters! While you can use instant polenta to make this recipe even faster, keep in mind that instant polenta will typically not have as robust of a flavor as regular polenta. Any type of polenta (coarse, medium, stone ground) will all work!
  • Keep stirring the polenta when cooking to keep it soft. 
  • Continue to cook the polenta until it begins to come away from the sides of the pot when cooking.
  • Polenta can be made ahead of time and reheated, simply add 1/4-1/2 cup of water or vegetable stock, cover, and reheat in the microwave or on a low heat.
  • Cooked polenta and vegetables can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.Any roasted vegetables would work well in this recipe.

 

Calories: 358kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 1304mg | Potassium: 440mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g