I love caprese salads (salads that consist of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil), but had to find a way to make them vegan so my skin and my husband’s tummy would love it….so I did! This EASY dish may take a little longer to make than some of my other meals, but it’s totally WORTH IT! I promise! Make these bites as a meal, a type of a salad, or as an appetizer.
What is polenta? Polenta is simply a paste or dough made from cornmeal/ground maize. It’s gluten-free and so loveable! The kind I used for this recipe is already prepared, so you are basically just heating and crisping it for this dish.
Prep/cook time: 60 minutes
Yield: 2-8 servings (depending on if you are serving as an appetizer or a meal
Suggested cooking tools: measuring cup, measuring spoons, large mixing bowl, small bowl, parchment paper or a form of grease/oil, 2 sauce pans, knife, blender (preferably a high-speed one, see tips and tricks below the recipe if you don’t have a high speed blender), skillet, spatula
One recipe of my Casherella (Cashew Mozzarella “Cheese”)
One 17.6 oz. (or similar size) tube of prepared polenta (I used 365 Everyday Value Yellow Polenta from Whole Foods)
1 cup balsamic vinegar
10-12 fresh basil leaves (1-2 oz.)
One pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon olive oil
Make my Casherella recipe. Allow it to chill while you make the rest of the meal.
Make the balsamic reduction by pouring one cup of balsamic vinegar into a saucepan. Place on the stovetop and cook on medium low heat until it has reduced to at least 1/2 the original amount. This takes approximately 15-20 minutes. When it is done, it will taste slightly sweet and be slightly thickened.
Slice your tomatoes into halves. Set aside.
Slice the polenta into small 1/4 inch rounds. Heat a skillet to medium heat with the olive oil. Fry the polenta approximately 4-5 minutes on each side or until slightly browned. I place mine in a foil covered pan to keep them warm if I have to fry them in batches.
Put the bites together: Drizzle some of the balsamic reduction onto a plate. On top of it, stack 3 pieces of polenta, a 1/2 slice of Casherella, a leaf of basil, and a slice of tomato. Drizzle some more balsamic reduction on top. See images below the recipe for a visual.
Eat and enjoy!
Tips and Tricks:
If you don’t have a high speed blender (the Magic Bullet, Vitamix, etc) you can use a regular blender but should soak the cashews longer (about 1-2 hours).
Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator
Don’t feel like stacking the polenta? Instead, try laying some on a plate and tossing some tomatoes and basil on top and drizzle with the balsamic reduction.