Gluten-Free Baked Polenta with Pasta Sauce and Mozzarella Cheese
Baked polenta is an easy gluten-free recipe that works great as a side with dinner. Plus, I really enjoy it for lunch… Especially since it’s so quick & easy to prepare.
If you have ever had grits – especially Southern-style grits with butter, syrup and bacon – you might recognize a similarity to traditional Italian polenta.
They are both made from ground, dried corn. In fact, some would say they are interchangeable, although polenta is usually a coarser grind than grits and the type of corn used is “flint” corn, making a firmer texture after cooking. If you can’t find polenta where you shop, you can substitute grits in a pinch. Some stores also have cooked polenta in a tube in the dairy or meat case.
Baked polenta fits into a 30 minute meal easily, even if I want to add some of the optional toppings like sautéed onion or mushrooms.
Polenta is so versatile. It can be cooked and eaten, straight from stovetop to plate, with just butter or olive oil.
Then it can get even better. Any leftover polenta can be served as a completely different dish. Just spread the leftover polenta in a greased casserole dish, cover and chill until the next day, when you can top it and bake it.
Polenta is a traditional Italian dish, so I think “pasta” or “pizza” for ways to top it – and then let my imagination take over! I’ve included a few suggestions, but there is no limit to what can be added.
If you have a favorite topping, feel free to share in the comments below…
- 4-1/2 Cups Water
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt, or to taste
- 2 Cups (260 g) Polenta
- 1 Tablespoon Butter (or Margarine) or Olive Oil, optional
- 2 Cups Pasta Sauce (can be refined sugar-free)
- 1/2 to 1 Cup Optional Toppings Can Be Added, too, Such as Cut Spinach or Kale, Sautéed Onion, Mushrooms or Peppers, Diced Ham or Chicken
- 2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese or Italian Blend
- 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling on top
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Grease a casserole dish with oil, or individual dishes.
Bring water to boil in saucepan with salt.
Slowly stir polenta into boiling water, stirring constantly.
Continue stirring over medium heat until thickened, about 3 minutes.
Stir in butter. At this point the polenta itself is ready to eat, if you want.
To add the toppings and bake it, continue below.
Spread the cooked polenta evenly in the casserole dish(es).
Top with pasta sauce.
Optional toppings may be added at this point.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until heated through and cheese is melted.
This gluten-free recipe is designed for those with gluten intolerance, gluten sensitivity, or celiac (coeliac) disease, but I’ve found that people who have no food allergies like it, too. It’s one of my gluten-free recipes that is wheat-free, barley-free and rye-free, as well as egg-free, nut-free, soy-free and vegetarian. It can be refined sugar-free, and it is a wheat-free recipe suitable for a wheat-free diet.
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