Caprese Polenta Bites

14 Feb

Happy Valentine’s Day!! How is everyone celebrating?? I’m going to see The Vow with @hayesman_. I’m sneaking these tasty treats into the theater. I’m sooooo bad.

I’ll need some food in my belly before heading out to the theater. As much as I love movie theater popcorn, I hate how I feel after eating it. I refuse to eat popcorn for dinner tonight! Take that overpriced Movie Theater. So far, I’m feeling Meghan – 2, Movie Theater – 0.

Caprese Salad (tomato, mozzarella cheese & basil) is something I don’t order that often when I go out to dinner. Mainly because it’s kind of boring but I love all of the elements in the salad. So I’m going to change it up and make an appetizer I’d love to eat.

I came up with Caprese Polenta Bites topped with homemade pesto. I’ve been eyeing the pre-made polenta at Trader Joe’s for the last week. Polenta is made from cornmeal. You can make your own (there are plenty of recipes on the internet) or you can save yourself 20 minutes and buy it pre-made.

This is how the recipe is assembled. Your polenta should be about 1/2 inch thick and it’s the bottom of your bite. Place a thinly sliced tomato piece on top of the polenta. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

I’m sure you’re thinking, “Meghan, where is the basil??” Well, the bite is going to be topped with homemade pesto. Once the caprese polenta is done cooking, drizzle some pesto on top. You can buy pre-made pesto at the grocery store if you don’t have the time to make your own… but if you have a good blender/food processor, it’s very easy to make your own.

Isn’t this cute??!

I ate a couple of these for dinner, but it would make a great appetizer at the party. They’re just a few bites and you don’t need silverware. Just bite right on in and enjoy the wonderful flavors.

I made a lot of pesto, so you’ll get another pesto recipe this week. I haaaaate to be wasteful. 🙂

Caprese Polenta Bites (makes 12 bites)

  • Polenta, pre-made
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Pesto, recipe to follow

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Slice polenta so it’s 1/2 inch thick. Season polenta with salt & pepper. Top with tomatoes and cheese. Bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Top with pesto and serve.

Pesto Recipe

  • 2 cups basil
  • 1/3 cup almonds, walnuts or pine nuts. (I used almonds since I had them on hand)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 olive oil
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine basil, nuts and garlic cloves in the blender/food processor. Pulse a few times.
  2. Stream in olive oil while the blender/food processor is running. You may need to scrap the sides with a spatula to make sure everything is getting mixed. The consistency should be like a runny paste.
  3. Add lemon juice and cheese; pulse a few more times. Taste pesto and add Salt & Pepper if needed.

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