Ratatouille Topped Polenta Rounds: A Simple Bruschetta-like Appetizer
Tomatoes, sauce, bread, meatballs, and pasta are all things that come to mind when I think of my Italian background. Testing the waters with a gluten-free diet doesn’t allow me all of the delicious foods I still crave. Just the smell of freshly baked bread could bring me to a heavenly state. Since I take such pleasure in eating and cooking, I’m certainly not one to only eat for sustenance, nor do I think it is okay to deprive my body of what it really wants to eat (in moderation of course). I decided to transform bruschetta by using baked polenta slices instead of bread (therefore avoiding gluten altogether). The outside of the polenta was crispy, while the center was still soft and chewy. The acidity of the ratatouille topping added flavor to the normally flavorless polenta. I topped the rounds with a little bit of vegan cheese (which for the record did not compare to the cheese I’ve grown up eating, but it was okay for a nondairy alternative) and thin slices of aromatic basil.
Ingredients for Polenta Bruschetta Rounds:
*Makes about 20+ pieces of bruschetta
You can use this recipe for the ratatouille
1 log of polenta, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
1-2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of vegan (or your choice) of grated cheese
sliced basil, as a garnish
1 – Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
2- After beginning to cook the ratatouille, slice your polenta log. Then spread the slices on a baking pan and drizzle 1/2 of the oil on top. Flip the rounds and drizzle the rest of the oil on. Then add salt and pepper to taste.
3- Leave the slices in the oven for about 15 minutes. Then carefully flip them with a spatula (they easily break apart). Allow them to cook for another 10 minutes. They should begin to brown. Then add the cheese within the last few minutes of cooking. Allow the cheese to melt before taking the slices out of the oven.
4- Top with the ratatouille mixture and basil.
For a more summery version of these small bites, make a topping that consists of diced tomatoes, cucumber, and garlic. Mix the three ingredients together with extra virgin olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Finish the bruschetta with a sprinkling of freshly sliced basil and enjoy!