Grilled Pesto Eggplant and Polenta

This dish is vegetarian and gluten free and can be made vegan by omitting the goat cheese. Fresh ingredients make cooking outdoors feel like home!

Serves 6-8

1 eggplant, sliced into 1 inch discs (preferably 2 slices per person)
½ cup of salt (to prevent eggplant from becoming bitter and soggy, will be washed off)
20 small tomatoes (about 3 per person), chopped
18 white mushrooms (about 3 per person), sliced
1 large onion (any color), diced
5 cloves of garlic, diced
2-3 chopped tablespoons of each: fresh basil, rosemary, oregano, and parsley
1 roll of pre-prepared polenta, sliced into ¾ inch discs (preferably 2 slices per person)
1 bag of fresh spinach
¾ cup of pre-prepared pesto
½ cup of goat cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Prepare the eggplant at least an hour in advance. Lay the slices in a large bowl or plate and cover both sides with salt. This will extract the bitterness of the eggplant. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms, and fresh herbs. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes uncovered or until it resembles a thick tomato sauce. Cook off as much of the liquid as possible.
  3. Prep your plates for serving by putting a handful of fresh spinach on each.
  4. Rinse salt from eggplant. Set aside.
  5. Heat oil on a grill plate. Heat both polenta and eggplant slices on both sides until cooked through and grill marks appear. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and any leftover fresh herbs. Set aside.
  6. Scoop a portion of the tomato sauce onto each plate, atop the spinach. Place two slices of grilled eggplant on top of the tomato sauce, followed by two slices of grilled polenta, a dollop of pesto, and a dollop of goat cheese.
  7. Serve right away and enjoy!
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