Cornmeal: 2 Tomato 2 Cheese Polenta Stack

Polenta Stack - 2 Tomato 2 Cheese - Eggplant -

Now that you know how to make your own polenta chubs, here’s an easy recipe for a polenta stack with two cheeses – Parmesan and goat cheese – and two tomatoes – sundried and fresh.

It’s perfect for summer gatherings or for anytime you want to highlight the fresh bounty from your garden (or the farmer’s market).

But, first a little more about polenta . . .

Although polenta has become noticeably more popular in the U.S., it’s still a mystery to many homecooks. It has yet to go mainstream like so many Italian favorites. I confess that before making my own polenta, I’d really only tried the store-bought chubs. I wasn’t impressed and couldn’t figure out the hype.

But now, I’m hooked. Cornmeal (polenta/grits) is a staple in my refrigerator. Course cornmeal’s versatility is endless – eaten as a simple bowl of mush for breakfast or transformed into decadence with wild mushrooms, rich cheeses, truffles, red sauces, sausages and bacon.

In the recipe here, firm sundried tomato polenta is topped with creamy cheese and roasted vegetables – I used grilled eggplant, but you could substitute or add grilled zucchini or other summer squash, roasted peppers, mushrooms or omit entirely. Next time, I’m making mine with a fat, juicy portobello mushroom.


Tidbits on Cornmeal:

  1. Cornmeal is rich in protein but if eaten on a regular basis, it should be combined with milk, butter, cheese or other dairy products so that it becomes a complete food (by adding lysine and tryptophan –  two missing amino acids in cor). Add poultry, meat, fish and /or some vegetables as a source of niacin.
  2. Polenta should taste like corn. Stone ground corn will gradually lose its taste. To maximize flavor and minimize waste, refrigerate cornmeal in a sealed container and use it within two months of purchase.

Polenta Stack - Sundried Tomato - Eggplant - Goat Cheese - Basil

2 Tomato 2 Cheese Polenta Stack

This recipe is more about the process. You can make a few slices for a meal or several.


Sundried tomato polenta chub, sliced ½ inch rounds

1/3 cup olive oil

1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced

Pinch red pepper flakes, optional


1 large eggplant (or 2 – 3 Japanese eggplants), sliced ½ inch thick rounds

Goat cheese or mozzarella cheese, sliced rounds

2 tomatoes, sliced ½ inch thick

Fresh basil


Black pepper


  1. Prepare sundried tomato polenta chub and have molded and set for at least 2 to 3 hours before slicing. Slice polenta in rounds about ½ inch thick. In a small bowl, mix olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt Brush both sides with olive oil mixture. Return to refrigerator.
  2. While preheating grill or broiler on med-high heat, brush both sides of eggplant slices with oil mixture and let stand for 10 minutes. When grill is hot, grill eggplant and cook until tender for 10-15 minutes.
  3. While eggplant cooks, slice cheese and fresh tomato.
  4. Clean grill (or wipe pan if broiling), so that the polenta does not stick. Use a spatula to place each slice of polenta on grill; grill until there are grill marks and polenta is hot (about 3 to 5 minutes). Gently flip using a spatula. Repeat. (Note some stove top grills work better than a charcoal grill.)
  5. When polenta is finished, immediately transfer to a serving plate or individual platter and top with goat cheese or mozzarella so it softens. Top with eggplant, a slice of tomato seasoned with salt and pepper, and fresh basil.
  6. Serve warm.  Depending on the firmness/method to reheat the polenta it may be suitable in small shapes as an appetizer – adjust size and toppings so it does not collapse.
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7 Responses to Cornmeal: 2 Tomato 2 Cheese Polenta Stack

  1. Ricky Gildon says:

    I would have to taste before commenting…

    Andrea (FFC): Always looking for an invite. I think you’ll dig it.

  2. You beat me to my polenta post! Looks great! I didn’t know it was a protein or that it had tryptophan. That’s interesting. Will it raise your serotonin level or just make you sleepy? Hmm, I will binge on it immediately and let you know.

    Andrea (FFC): Corn/cornmeal doesn’t have the essential amino acids lysine and tryptophan. Therefore, it’s important to add some dairy if eating polenta and grits regularly. Another reason to add cheese and butter.

  3. I add the butter and cheese to make it more rich and luscious. Are there really people who worry that they’re not getting enough tryptophan? Actually, I think there is speculation that some Southwestern Indian tribes died out because corn was the basis of their diet and they weren’t getting the nutrients they needed.

    Andrea (FFC): From the research I read, it appears the larger concern was when people were solely eating polenta and developed pellagra from the niacin deficiency. I presume most folks in modern times eat a more varied diet, so this is largely insignificant – but still an interesting fact.

  4. sippitysup says:

    So this is what you had planned for those chubs! To add to the dietary issues with corn I also heard Native Americans had trouble getting the necessary nurtients on a corn rich diet. I also read that they added ash to the corn meal and this somehow helped. I can’t say if any of that is true. I’m “just sayin’…” GREG

    Andrea (FFC): Eating a primarily corn-based diet was not just a dietary problem for some Native groups but happened worldwide upon introduction to new cultures – northern Italians experienced difficulties as well. I read about ash to.

    FYI, the lye process used to make masa for tortillas and tortillas helps make the niacin digestable to humans. My pops still makes his own masa and soaks his corn in lye to remove the outer hull.

  5. eleni says:

    Great idea and I love polenta!!!

    Andrea (FFC): I think you’ll find the stacks are delicious and versatile.

  6. Have you tried pan frying the polenta in a little butter then drizzling it with maple syrup? It’s the breakfast of champions (or so I’m told).

    Andrea (FFC): I’m not much of a sweet breakfast person. My husband likes his grits/polenta drizzled with honey.

  7. Oh YUM! That looks so delicious :)

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