Today I’ve got another vegan dish for you. This time, it’s one that makes a perfect meal on a weeknight, since it is fairly easy to prepare and includes vegetables as well as some carbohydrates in one dish, which saves you the effort of preparing multiple components to create a lovely dinner.
I am talking about my version of a polenta bake. Today I was feeling Italian, so I used lots of rosemary, as well as capers, olives, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and zucchinis. To add a special something to the polenta, I used a sachet of saffron to flavor it; however, if you find this to be a little too fancy, you could totally leave it out. I am just a saffron lover, so I could basically eat saffron-flavored dishes every day—that is also the reason why this ingredient is surely never missing in our pantry.
Moving on away from the saffron, I also added some nutritional yeast, to enhance the polenta with a slightly cheesy flavor. This way you are keeping this meal 100 percent vegan. You could, however, add Parmesan cheese if you aren’t putting any value on this dish being vegan. I didn’t have any Parmesan though, so I used the nutritional yeast.
Since I am using polenta, this meal definitely fills you up but is still suitable for a summer night because you are using fresh tomatoes and zucchini, which carry quite a summery vibe.
7 oz polenta
1 sachet saffron (optional)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 clove of garlic
A few sprigs of rosemary
24 1/2 oz tomatoes
1 oz pitted olives
1 oz capers
1 can artichoke hearts
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare polenta according to packaging directions—just don’t forget to add the saffron to the boiling water.
2. Add the nutritional yeast to the cooked polenta and mix it through, then spread the polenta evenly into a casserole dish, and let it cool.
3. Cut up your tomatoes as well as one of the zucchinis into 1-centimeter cubes and put them aside.
4. In the meantime, prepare the topping. Chop up your garlic, half of your rosemary as well as the onion and fry it in about a tablespoon of olive oil until lightly browned.
5. Then add the chopped tomatoes and zucchini, let it cook over medium-high heat for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the vegetables reach a soft consistency.
6. Meanwhile, chop up the pitted olives, the capers, and the artichoke hearts, add to the tomato mixture.
7. Let the mixture thicken up slightly by letting it simmer over medium-high heat for another 5 to 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
8. While the mixture is reducing down, slice the two leftover zucchini into very thin slices; I used a mandolin to achieve the requested thickness.
9. Spread the tomato mixture, which should have thickened up by now, over the polenta that has been cooling.
10. Distribute the zucchini slices on top of the tomato mixture and brush them with a little olive oil, then add salt to taste and distribute the leftover rosemary sprigs on top.
11. Bake in the preheated oven for around 20 minutes or until the zucchini layer is well done.
Voila, a perfect Italian-inspired vegan dinner. This dish is absolutely delicious and very versatile—you could easily substitute any of the vegetables I added with something else and create your own version of this dish. This is just how I prefer it, since I adore the combination of olives, capers, and tomatoes.
Fanny the Foodie
Fanny is first and foremost a major foodie. She loves anything about food: She loves preparing it, styling it, shooting it and, of course, eating it. Her blog is her creative outlet on which she weekly publishes plant-based recipes. From the most indulgent chocolate treats to healthy breakfasts and delicious dinner recipes, she’s got you covered. Follow along on Instagram at @fannythefoodie.