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Mediterranean Polenta by Sharon Palmer



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My family gave this dish a thumbs up–the Mediterranean flavors of capers, oregano, garlic and olives shine through, and best of all it’s a cinch! To top it off, polenta is a whole grain, which will help you meet those hard-to-get whole grain servings. And the tomatoes bring up the antioxidant power in this plant-based meal. If you include dairy, you can sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over it for extra flavor appeal. -Sharon Palmer


  • 1 cup polenta, dry

  • 4 cups water

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, diced

  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced

  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 Tablespoons capers, drained

  • 1/4 cup Mediterranean olives, whole

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano, dried

  • Black pepper, as desired

  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice


  • In a 2 quart baking dish, stir together polenta, water, salt and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.
  • About 40 minutes after baking, heat remaining olive oil in pan and sauté onions, pepper, mushrooms, and garlic until crisp tender–about 5 minutes.
  • Add capers, olives, seasonings and tomatoes. Stir together and cook on low for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove polenta from oven and top dish with tomato sauce. Serve immediately.


  • Note: If you consume dairy products, you can garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian™ is a writer and author of The Plant-Powered Diet. Over 850 of her articles have been published in national publications, including Prevention, Better Homes and Gardens and Today’s Dietitian. She is also the editor of the award-winning publication Environmental Nutrition and writes for her blog, The Plant-Powered Blog. Her specific expertise is in plant-based nutrition, including Mediterranean, vegetarian and vegan diets. She serves as the consulting dietitian for the Oldways Vegetarian Network, is a Regional Co-Director for the Association of Food Journalists, and is an editor for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic’s website,eatright.org. Sharon was most recently asked by the James Beard Foundation to judge the 2014 Journalism Awards. Her second book, Plant-Powered For Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps and 125 Delicious Recipes, will be in stores spring of 2014.