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Crispy Fried Polenta w/ Baby Kale & Slow Roasted Tomatoes

December 24, 2012

Crispy Fried Polenta w/ Baby Kale & Slow Roasted Tomatoes

It’s holiday time and this year Cam, Lu and I have travelled up north to my family home for Christmas! As I type this I’m sitting in my Mum’s kitchen listening to her bake cakes; it’s a pretty wonderful feeling to be here!!

I’m squeezing in one more, tasty vegetarian recipe that is great to share with family and friends over the festive season. A delicious combination of crispy fried polenta cubes tossed with baby kale leaves, slow roasted tomatoes and avocado with a creamy horseradish dressing.

The polenta and dressing could be made the day before, simply fry the polenta right before serving and dress the salad at the very last minute. Not only is this hearty salad delicious, but super healthy too, with the kale and sunflower seeds it’s full of vitamins and lots of good for you stuff.

To save time you could try substituting the slow roasted tomatoes with store brought sundried tomatoes. If you can’t find baby kale leaves try using baby spinach and/or rocket or even cress or any combination of your favourite lettuce greens.

I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe and that your holiday season is filled to the brim with happiness, love, laughter and wonderful veggie food for everyone!!! Merry Christmas xo

Crispy Fried Polenta w/ Baby Kale & Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Crispy Fried Polenta w/ Baby Kale & Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Preparation time: 45mins (+ refrigeration time & 2 hours roasting time for the tomatoes)
// Serves 6+ as a side

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  • 1 litre of homemade or good quality vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of polenta
  • 350g (12oz) roma tomatoes, sliced in half (substitute these with brought sundried tomatoes to save time if you prefer)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 120g (4oz) baby Kale
  • 75g (2½oz) baby spinach
  • 1-2 avocados, sliced and drizzled with lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds

for the dressing

  • 3 tbs egg-free or traditional mayonnaise
  • 3 tbs good quality olive oil
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp grated horseradish (to taste)
  • ½ tsp honey or agave nectar

To prepare the polenta bring the stock to boil in a large saucepan. Once boiling add the polenta in a steady stream and whisk over a low heat for 2-3 minutes until thick and smooth. Transfer to an approximately 6 litre capacity lightly greased baking dish, smooth over the top and refrigerate for about an hour until set.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 130°C/266°F and place the halved tomatoes into a baking dish. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt flakes and fresh cracked pepper. Place in the oven and roast at the low temperature for 1½ – 2 hours. Keep warm.

To make the dressing whisk all the ingredients together until combined and season to taste. Set aside.

Once the polenta is set turn it out of the dish and cut into pieces around 2-3cm square. Dust each piece with extra polenta and fry in batches over a medium heat in a frying-pan, using oil or butter depending on what you prefer.

Transfer the fried polenta pieces onto absorbent paper and keep warm.

Once the polenta and tomatoes are cooked toss them together with the kale, spinach, avocado and sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Just before serving pile the prepared salad onto a serving plate and drizzle over the dressing.

Perfect as a hearty vegetarian side to serve to guests on a special occasion of as a filling and tasty veggie meal at home. Enjoy!!

Crispy Fried Polenta w/ Baby Kale & Slow Roasted Tomatoes

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  • Sandra January 3, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Umm, very nice :)

  • Koko January 9, 2013 at 3:28 am

    This looks awesome! I seriously do not eat polenta enough…it’s never something I think to make!

  • Lisa Stanton January 13, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Hi Trudy,

    I’ve been watching your blog for a long time now and thought it was time I left a comment. Your recipes are truly inspiring and photography just gorgeous. This salad dish is particularly pretty and fittingly festive – the kale even looks like little leaves of holly.

    Thanks for sharing your recipes and lovely photography. Looking forward to more of your veggie goodness in 2013.


  • Katie January 15, 2013 at 7:40 am

    As soon as I saw this recipe I had to run to check if polenta is gluten free, and lo and behold it is! Thanks for adding a new ingredient to my rotation, and providing this lovely use for it.

  • Melanie January 19, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    made this for our Italian rellies and we all loved it! (nb: i did trade the Kale for Rocket)

  • Emily Stevenson January 20, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    YUM! This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it! Thanks for providing such amazing ideas and for promoting the healthy vegetarian lifestyle. :) :) I also blog at if you are interested. You are an inspiration!

  • kum January 23, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Wow! so many vegan recipes…

    Thank you so much for sharing cruel-free(vegan recipes) here.

  • Leigh January 31, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    This is very good.

  • e / dig in hobart February 1, 2013 at 10:38 am

    you’ve inspired me to think of kale as a salad green rather than a cooking green. but my kale is past the ‘baby’ stage – maybe next time.