Crispy Polenta Bites with olive, lemon & caper tapenade

Incredibly moreish, little savoury (dairy free) polenta bites are perfect with Sparkling or a crisp white wine as an appetiser. 

Incredibly moreish, little savoury (dairy free) polenta bites are perfect with Sparkling or a crisp white wine as an appetiser. 

Dairy Free Nibbles

These little squares of crispy golden polenta were a big hit at our recent Plant Based Dinner Party. 

Made from stoneground corn polenta, baked in the oven and topped with a citrusy, salty & sweet olive & mushroom tapenade, they were just the right size to serve as a nibble with chilled Sparkling. 

Instead of Parmesan, these vegan appetisers
use nutritional yeast - adding vitamin B12 as well as a savoury flavour. 

Fried polenta is a classic Italian dish, but we needed something which didn't require last minute frying (while the guests were already assembling) so we baked them instead, which meant that with a quick smattering of the yummilicious tapenade, they were right to go. 

And a no-fuss dinner party means a happy kitchen. We're all for that! 

Crispy Polenta Bites with Olive, Lemon & Caper Tapenade

Polenta Bites

Olive, lemon & caper Tapenade

3 cups vegetable stock
150 gm polenta
salt to taste
freshly cracked pepper
3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil

200 gm pitted black olives, sliced
½ cup finely sliced button mushrooms
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
zest & juice from 1 Meyer lemon
¼ cup cold-pressed olive oil
2 tablespoons capers
pinch dried chili flakes
freshly cracked pepper
microherbs to decorate

Line a 20 cm square tin with baking paper.

Heat stock in a pan until boiling. Tip in polenta while stirring. Reduce heat to medium and continue stirring for about 5 minutes, or until very thick. Add salt, pepper, thyme & nutritional yeast and stir to combine.

Tip polenta into lined tin and flatten top with wooden spoon or spatula. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until needed. 

Meanwhile, mix all the tapenade ingredients together, and taste for seasoning. Set aside in refrigerator. 

When ready to serve, preheat oven to 200 C. Lift polenta out of tin and place on a chopping board. Cut into small squares (about 30 mm). Drizzle olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet and arrange polenta squares on it. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes or until crispy. 

Arrange on serving plate and drizzle tapenade (with its juice) in small mounds on each polenta square. 

Decorate edge of serving plate with micro herbs and serve while still warm.