This cheesy polenta bake recipe came about by using up leftovers. I had nearly a whole block of ready-made polenta, which is Italian maize, that also happens to be gluten-free. I also had an onion, some mushrooms and a little cheddar and halloumi cheese that needed eating. So I made a tomato and veg sauce, topped it with sliced polenta, grated cheese and parsley and baked it. It took about 20 mins to prepare and 40 mins to bake until it was bubbling nicely. The polenta went crispy in the oven and the whole thing was really tasty!
I have never grated halloumi cheese and baked it before but it worked great. Crumbled goats cheese or grated manchego cheese would also work well. And you could use lots of alternative leftover veg in the tomato sauce. In general if you have leftover herbs just chop them and freeze them in freezer bags and then you can use them instantly in cooking or salads, as I did here. Saves on time and waste! And polenta is cheap and can just be stored in the cupboard so it’s a great staple to have handy.
The kids weren’t feeling very adventurous so didn’t even try the bake, but me and my boyfriend loved it!
Cheesy polenta bake (serves 3-4 people)
1 onion, chopped
5 mushrooms, chopped
Tin chopped tomatoes (I use the value/basics ones)
1 clove garlic, crushed
Shake dried herbs
Optional – 1 tbsp tomato puree
1 vegetable stock cube, crumbled (I like OXO)
400g ready-made polenta, sliced in to 1/2cm slices
150g grated cheddar and/or grated halloumi (grated manchego cheese or crumbled goats cheese would also work)
Optional – small handful chopped fresh herbs e.g. parsley/basil
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees/gas mark 7.
Fry the onion and mushrooms in some oil until tender (about 5 mins), then add the garlic, dried herbs, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree (if using) and crumble in the stock cube. Simmer for 5 mins then pour in to a casserole dish.
Arrange the polenta slices on top of the tomato sauce , drizzle on some oil, the grated cheese and fresh herbs (if using). Bake in the oven for at least 40 mins, until golden and a little crispy on top. Eat!