Healthy Recipe: Polenta Pizza

Polenta-Pizza
Polenta Pizza.

Pizza just got a makeover and it's never looked better.  This recipe is a great make-ahead meal perfect for any night of the week!  Here, I top it with DIY Pizza Sauce, Roasted Veggies, Kite Hill Cheese, and Walnut Parmesan "Cheese", but feel free to get creative and make your own personal pan pizza with your favorite 'za toppings!

Prepare the Veggies

  • 2 small, or 1 medium Eggplant
  • 2 small, or 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 cups raw mushrooms, sliced (I used shiitake and lion’s mane!)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 F.  Slice the eggplant and zucchini into rounds, about ¼” thick and lay in single layer on a paper towel.  Sprinkle with salt and cover with another paper towel to absorb the “sweat”.  After about 10-15 minutes, pat dry, and lay on a baking sheet coated lightly with olive oil.  Toss the mushrooms in olive oil and lay on a separate baking sheet. (Tip: For crisp, caramelized veggies, do not overcrowd your veggies (this causes them to steam and turn to mush. Use multiple baking sheets to ensure the veggies have room to breathe). Bake for 20-25 minutes total (or until veggies are tender, caramelized and slightly crispy), - don’t forget to flip halfway.  Remove from the oven, season with s+p, and allow to cool

Prepare the Polenta

  • 1 cup dry Polenta (Grits, or Ground Corn - I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • Pinch of salt + pepper
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper (pinch at your own risk/heat preference)

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil, reduce to a simmer, then slowly stream in 1 cup of grits, whisking to break apart clumps.  Add the seasonings and olive oil, and continue to simmer and whisk for 5-7 minutes or until a smooth and thick porridge-like consistency forms (tip: add a few Tbsp of water to thin it out if necessary).  Then, pour the polenta into an olive oil coated cast iron skillet.  Spread polenta evenly, allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Bake the Crust:  Preheat the oven to 450F.  Once the crust has set, bake for 15-25 minutes, until outer edges become golden brown and the middle becomes firm. Remove from the oven.

Make the Pizza Sauce

  • 1 x 28 fl-oz can of crushed tomatoes (I used fire roasted for extra flavor! Aim for organic, BPA free lining)
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt + pepper
  • Pinch of crushed Red Pepper (pinch at your own risk/heat preference)
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (tip: skip the chopping and use a zester or grater)
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

In a medium saucepan, cook onions in olive oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.  Add seasonings, minced garlic, and tomato paste, stir, and cook for 1-2 minutes, until caramelized - just when the fond begins to stick to the bottom of the pan.  Pour in the crushed tomatoes, stirring to release any fond from the bottom of the pan.  Reduce to a simmer, uncovered, until reduced to a thick consistency.  Add a splash of balsamic vinegar, stir, and set aside.

Make the Walnut Parmesan “Cheese”

  • ½ cup walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 Tbs nutritional yeast (can’t find it at the store? Order it here)
  • ½ tsp Italian herbs
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • Pinch of salt

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor or spice grinder until the texture resembles a parmesan cheese consistency (tip: a few pulses is all it takes -- too many pulses and it will turn into a savory walnut butter - which is equally delicious, but not what we are going for here.)

Assemble the Pie

Spread the pizza sauce on top of the polenta crust, then top with roasted veggies and Kite Hill Cheese.  Bake for 10-15 minutes.  Top with freshly chopped parsley and dust with Walnut Parmesan "Cheese".

 

Lindsey Kane is a Registered Dietitian in Philadelphia. For more nutrition tips and recipes, visit her blog at healthylivingwithlindsey.tumblr.com.

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