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Low-Glycemic Baked Polenta with Tomatoes

Polenta is a basic Italian dish of cooked cornmeal mush — a versatile food that forms the base for a variety of flavor-packed toppings. Polenta is low-glycemic and has some fiber and a small amount of B vitamins. This recipe for Baked Polenta with Tomatoes isn’t too difficult to make, but it does take some time (and gives your arm a workout since you have to stir for about 30 minutes!).

Baked Polenta with Tomatoes

Make Basic Polenta from the recipe that follows this one, and then you're ready to add tomatoes, basil, and Parmesan for an Italian taste treat.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 10–15 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Six 1-inch-round slices polenta (1/2 cup each), from Basic Polenta recipe

Nonstick cooking spray

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 heirloom or 2 Roma tomatoes, cut into 6 slices

6 fresh basil leaves

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the polenta slices on a cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, and brush each slice of polenta with about 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil. Bake the polenta for 5 minutes.

  2. Remove the polenta from the oven, and layer the each slice with 1 tomato slice, 1 basil leaf, and 1 teaspoon of Parmesan.

  3. Bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes soften and the cheese is melted. Serve warm.

Per serving: Calories 161 (From Fat 29); Glycemic Load 9 (Low); Fat 3g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 1mg; Sodium 760mg; Carbohydrate 29g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 4g.

Basic Polenta

If you like, add two teaspoons of butter to give basic polenta a creamier flavor.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

7 cups water

2-1/2 teaspoons salt

1-2/3 cups coarse yellow cornmeal

  1. In a small, stockpot, bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the salt, and slowly whisk in the cornmeal. As you add the cornmeal, continue to whisk.

  2. Reduce the heat to medium–low, and stir consistently until the mixture becomes thick, forms a mass, and pulls away from the pan, about 35 minutes.

  3. If you’re cooking a meal with the polenta, serve promptly. To store it for use later in the week, spread the polenta about 1 to 2 inches thick on a nonstick baking sheet; cool completely. Cut the polenta into 2-x-2-inch squares (approximately half a cup of polenta per square), and store in the refrigerator.

Per serving: Calories 129 (From Fat 4); Glycemic Load 9 (Low); Fat 0g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 727mg; Carbohydrate 28g (Dietary Fiber 0g); Protein 3g.

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