Lately I’ve been craving a simple dish of savory vegetables over creamy polenta, so I decided to make a grilled vegetable napoleon with portobello mushrooms, asparagus, artichoke hearts, and cherry tomatoes. This dish wouldn’t be complete without a flavorful sauce to bring out the flavors of the vegetables, so I created a fire-roasted tomato and red pepper harissa with the perfect amount of heat and acidity. The resulting dish was exactly what I wanted — warm, filling, flavorful, and so easy!
I often become bogged down by my desire to make fancy plant-based recipes, when in reality, vegetables are delicious on their own. I’m always amazed by how much flavor is brought out by roasting or grilling unseasoned vegetables.
In this recipe, I grilled some of my favorite vegetables on my panini press and arranged them atop a mound of polenta seasoned only by vegetable broth. I then topped the whole dish with fire-roasted harissa, which is completely optional (but recommended).
Harissa is typically a spicy red pepper sauce used as a condiment for various dishes. I love the combination of tomato sauce and polenta, so I made my harissa more tomato-based and less spicy than traditional recipes. My harissa recipe is so delicious, I’m considering using it as a pasta sauce instead of the usual marinara in the future!
- 1 15.5-oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 fire-roasted red pepper (jarred kind is fine)
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ t. ground cumin
- ½ t. red pepper flakes
- ½ t. agave
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- ½ t. sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1 t. white balsamic vinegar
- 4 cups water
- 1 vegetable bullion cube
- 1 cup polenta (cornmeal)
- 2 portobello mushroom caps
- 6 artichoke hearts, halved or quartered
- 8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 12-14 asparagus spears
- Blend first 9 ingredients in a blender or food processor to desired level of smoothness. Taste and add salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Set aside.
- Bring water, bullion cube, and polenta to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stirring occasionally, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until thick and creamy.
- Using grill plates, a George Foreman grill, or a panini press, grill vegetables for about 3 minutes over medium heat until you see grill marks.
- Spoon about 1 cup of polenta into each pasta bowl or plate. Spread the grilled vegetables on top of the polenta, then drizzle desired amount of harissa on top of the vegetables. Serve and enjoy!
This dish is colorful, spicy, and filling. Serve it with a small side salad, and you have a complete meal that’s impressive but so easy!