Grilled Polenta with Balsamic Roasted Tomatoes

This Grilled Polenta with Balsamic Roasted Tomatoes is versatile enough to serve as an appetizer or light meal. Plus, it’s easy to prepare and it can be prepped ahead of time. The flavor combination will knock your socks off, too!
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine American, Gluten-Free, Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 241kcal
Author Melissa Huggins



Roasted Tomatoes

  • 12 ounces cocktail tomatoes , on the vine if possible (sub cherry or grape tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic , crushed or minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (*optional)
  • Salt and pepper , to taste

Grilled Polenta

  • 1 cup polenta , quick-cooking (*see note)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth , low sodium
  • 1/2 cup vegan parmesan cheese (*optional)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt , more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter
  • Grapeseed oil , as needed for grilling (or any oil)
  • 8 ounces vegan cheese , a soft variety (*see note)


  • In a med-large pot, add the water, broth, polenta, and salt. Place on stove over high heat and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil and turn heat down to a low simmer. (*the polenta tends to spurt up so use long cooking utensils to prevent burns). Stir or whisk every 30 seconds to keep it smooth. It'll thicken up and finish cooking around the 4-5 minute mark. It should be very thick, but not have big clumps (whisk in more water/broth to smooth if needed).
  • Remove from heat and stir in the vegan parmesan cheese and butter. Taste and add more seasoning if needed.
  • Pour polenta into a 11X7 Baking Pan (or something similar) and smooth out evenly with a spatula. Let it cool for 10 minutes before transferring into freezer for another 10-15 minutes. You can also place in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.
  • While the polenta is setting, you can roast the tomatoes. Preheat oven to 450° F (230° C). Place tomatoes in a small baking dish and nip each one with scissors (leave vine intact if preferred). Add garlic, drizzle with oil, balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with sugar, salt, and pepper. Place in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until the tomatoes are blistered and tender.
  • When the polenta is cooled and firm, flip over gently onto a cutting board. Cut into 8 rectangular slices.
  • Heat a Grill Pan over medium-high heat for a few minutes. While the pan is heating, brush one side of the polenta to coat. When the pan is fully heated, add the polenta, leaving some room in between (don't crowd - work in batches if needed). Grill for 7-9 minutes until grill marks appear (push down gently to help it along). Don't move the polenta slices much or they won't grill properly. Use a metal spatula to gently remove. You can serve now or flip and grill the other side of the slices.
  • Place a few slices on a plate and top with vegan cheese, a few tomatoes with a drizzle of the roasting sauce. If preferred, top with fresh-cut basil, crushed red pepper, capers and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Enjoy!


POLENTA: If you can't find quick-cooking polenta, you can use regular Polenta. The method is the same, it'll just take 20-30 minutes to cook. You only have to stir every 8-10 minutes. You may want to partially cover it because it spurts up a lot. 
"CHEESE" TOPPING: I used my Tofu Ricotta Cheese for this recipe, but you can use Vegan Mozzarella or Vegan Cream Cheese. If you don't have time to make your own, you can use store-bought. Kite-Hill's Ricotta and Miyoko's Mozzarella are both delicious! 
  • The vegan parmesan is optional in this recipe, but I love the flavor it adds. If you can't find it, you can use meltable vegan cheese shreds. Daiya Shreds melt nicely and Chao Slices work well too (I grate the block of slices).
*Prep time doesn't include cooling time. 
* To make things easier, you can cook the polenta ahead of time and spread it out in the baking pan. When cooled, cover and leave in the fridge until ready for use. 


Serving: 2pieces | Calories: 241kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 376mg | Potassium: 334mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 635IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg