Polenta Squares with Sun-Dried Tomato and Walnut Tapenade

I love Gena’s site and have always been happy with how her recipes come out! We love Polenta in our house, so not surprising when I saw this one I had to try! I am such a sucker for appetizers too, they really are always the best part of any meal or party! I made these for several gathering and parties and they were always a hit. Enjoy!!!

You can prepare the polenta up to 2 days in advance, and the tapenade up to 3 days. On the day of your party, simply broil the polenta squares and top them with the tapenade. The polenta can also be used as a base for many different seasonings. Try & play around ūüôā

Just a couple of past polenta dishes and I am sure many more to come: Creamy Polenta with Barbecue Seitan Sauce, Vegan Creamy Polenta with Sausage and Peppers, Mushroom and Kale Polenta, Polenta & Shallot Squares, Polenta with Nectarine-Blackberry Salsa, Polenta with Black Beans, Pan-Fried Tofu & Roasted Coconut Tomato Sauce, Slow Cooked Corn Polenta and Chiles and Polenta Vegetable Casserole.

Polenta Squares with

Polenta Squares with Sun-Dried Tomato and Walnut Tapenade
Recipe from http://www.choosingraw.com 
Serves 22 (recipe can easily be halved)

Polenta Party Squares

6 cups vegetable broth (low sodium if possible)
2 cups polenta (yellow cornmeal)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 batch sun-dried tomato and walnut tapenade

Bring the polenta, salt, and broth to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer. Using a long wooden spoon, continually stir the polenta until it has thickened (approximately 25-30 minutes). When the mixture is very thick and is pulling away from the sides of the pot, stir in the pepper and thyme.
Oil a 15.25 x 10.25 baking sheet (or line with parchment paper). Spread the polenta mixture evenly over the sheet with an inverted knife. It should be about as thick as the edge of the pan itself. Allow it to cool, and then transfer to the fridge for a few hours.
Preheat your broiler. Cut the polenta into squares (you should get about 22). Return them to a baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil. Place under a broiler for 8 minutes, or until they’re lightly toasted. You can alternately bake them at 375 for twenty-five minutes or so. Top each square with a tablespoon of tapenade, and serve.

Sun-dried Tomato and Walnut Tapenade

3/4 cups sun-dried tomatoes (not oil soaked)
2 cups water
2/3 cups walnuts
2 small cloves garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Boil the water and pour it over the tomatoes. Allow them to soften for 20 minutes. Discard most of the water (keep a half cup in case you need to thin the tapenade).
Grind the walnuts in a food processor fitted with the S blade until they’re finely ground. Add the tomatoes and garlic, and pulse to combine. Add the lemon, sea salt, pepper, and rosemary.
Run the motor of the food processor and drizzle in the oil in a thin stream. If the mixture is still very thick, drizzle in some of the soak water from the tomatoes until it reaches the desired consistency. You’re aiming for the consistency of regular tapenade, or a thick pesto.

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Rosemary White Bean Dip

I have made this dish now a few times and every time I prepared it a bit differently and every time it came out deelish!! Super easy, super yummy, healthy and everyone will love it!

I am really into cooking dried beans lately instead of using canned ones. I found this insanely easy technique of just soaking them and cooking them on low for 4+ hours in a crock pot! Done, easy peasy!! Beautiful! You will never have to use canned beans again unless you are in a pinch!!

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3 variations:

  1. red wine vinegar or lemon juice
  2. roasted garlic blended in & saved some full roasted cloves for garnish
  3. fresh garlic blended
Rosemary White Bean Dip
adapted from MarthaStewart.com
  • baguette or crackers
  • 2 cans (15.5 ounces each) cannellini beans, rinsed & drained OR 1/2 lb dried beans, soaked & cooked
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • (optional) fresh or roasted garlic

If using baguette, slice 1/2 inch thick, brush with olive oil, and cook in a 350-degree oven until lightly toasted.

In a food processor, combine cannellini beans, olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice and garlic (optional). Process until smooth, adding water if necessary. Add 2 teaspoons rosemary and pulse until combined. Season with salt & pepper and Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with a little oil.

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