Easy Grilled Polenta with Fresh Mozzarella and Balsamic Tomatoes

~ A super-easy appetizer or side dish! Packaged polenta is grilled (or broiled), topped with creamy mozzarella, and heaped with balsamic tomatoes and basil. ~

Easy Grilled Polenta with Fresh Mozzarella and Balsamic Tomatoes Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

Even though the official first day of summer isn’t for a few more days, Father’s Day always (always!) seems like summer. Mother’s Day is definitely spring, but Father’s Day is totally summer.

It just begs for games of wiffle ball and badminton. And grilling.

Easy Grilled Polenta with Fresh Mozzarella and Balsamic Tomatoes Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

There must be a grill involved.

When we bought our current home (which is our forever home … because moving makes me nuts!), my husband made me a deal. I got to pick out the washer and dryer that I wanted, and he got to pick out the grill he wanted. Seemed fair enough to me!

Easy Grilled Polenta with Fresh Mozzarella and Balsamic Tomatoes Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

Polenta is very easy to slice. Simply cut the log of polenta in half, then into quarters. Each quarter is then sliced in half and then into quarters again, so you have 16 equal-sized rounds.

And boy, does he love that grill. (And yes, I do love my washer and dryer … what little girl ever dreamed that she’d grow up to say that?!?!)

But he looooves that grill.

He likes to cook (and is really good at it!), but he excels at grilling.

Easy Grilled Polenta with Fresh Mozzarella and Balsamic Tomatoes Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

Anytime I suggest something on the grill, my sweet hubby is so thrilled to make it. He jumps at the chance to try new recipes. No fear.

But let’s be honest here, friends. It’s Dad’s special day … does he really want to spend the day prepping a meal and sides? No way! And since we’re all being so honest here … you don’t really feel like doing that, either. Am I right?

Easy Grilled Polenta with Fresh Mozzarella and Balsamic Tomatoes Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

So how about a super-easy, super-summery, super-delicious recipe? One that comes together in about 4.3478 minutes flat (a rough estimate). One that’s an amazing appetizer or side for any meal, or (as Shelley and I have already found!) can be a nice, light lunch. One that will WOW! anyone who tastes it. One that uses the grill, but only for a few minutes (because you need to keep your spot in the badminton game!).

Warm, lightly grilled polenta, topped with melty, creamy mozzarella, then sprinkled with sweet tomatoes in a delightful balsamic dressing with fresh basil. It’s totally amazing.

Easy Grilled Polenta with Fresh Mozzarella and Balsamic Tomatoes Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

Totally. Amazing.

And should the rain come pouring down unexpectedly … no worries! These cheesy polenta bites are just as great prepared under the broiler as they are on the grill! (But sorry – the broiler’s not gonna help with your soggy badminton game.)

Easy Grilled Polenta with Fresh Mozzarella and Balsamic Tomatoes Recipe {www.TwoHealthyKitchens.com}

So if you’re entertaining this weekend, (or any weekend, for that matter!) be sure to whip this up. You’ll be the envy of your friends (who’ll never guess these schwanky little bites took just minutes). Plus, your husband won’t need to spend all day tending the grill, and everyone can have a fun game of wiffle ball with the fam … ’cause this polenta is absolutely a home run!

THK by Gretchen

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Looking for Some More Great Recipes to Grill Up for Dad? Check Out Our:

Grilled Polenta with Fresh Mozzarella and Balsamic Tomatoes
Shared By: 
Yield: 16 Polenta rounds
 
Ingredients
BALSAMIC TOMATOES
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ⅛ kosher salt
POLENTA
  • 18-ounce tube refrigerated, prepared polenta
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into thinly sliced pieces
Preparation
  1. Preheat your grill on medium heat.
  2. Combine tomatoes, basil, vinegar, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and ⅛ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Using a sharp knife, cut polenta into 16 even rounds. The easiest way to do this is to cut the log of polenta evenly in half, then cut each half in half again, so you have four quarters. Cut each quarter in half and then cut those two rounds in half again, so you have 16 polenta rounds.
  4. Lay polenta out on a baking sheet or large tray and brush lightly with ½ teaspoon of olive oil. Sprinkle ⅛ teaspoon salt and 1/16 teaspoon black pepper lightly across the rounds. Flip the rounds, brush again with the remaining ½ teaspoon of olive oil, and sprinkle evenly with the remaining ⅛ teaspoon salt and 1/16 teaspoon pepper.
  5. Grill the rounds about 10-12 minutes on the first side. Once they begin to develop some light grill marks, flip them and grill for another 8-10 minutes.
  6. Turn grill to low and top each polenta round with some of the mozzarella. Close grill lid, and continue grilling for just a minute or two, until cheese has started to melt but isn’t so melted that it’s dripping off into the grill.
  7. Arrange cheesy polenta rounds on a serving platter and dollop each generously with balsamic tomato mixture. Alternately, you can pass the balsamic tomatoes separately and let everyone top their own.
Notes
Grilling: Remember that grills vary widely in temperature settings, so the settings and times you use may need to be adjusted according to your specific grill.


Alternate Broiling Instructions: You can also cook these polenta rounds indoors under the broiler. Simply preheat your broiler as needed. Then, once you’ve brushed both sides of the polenta rounds with oil and sprinkled them with salt and pepper, broil them for approximately 8-10 minutes on each side, flipping them when they begin to get a bit golden brown. Add mozzarella and finish by broiling for just another minute or two, until mozzarella begins to melt. Serve topped with balsamic tomatoes.

 

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Comments

Easy Grilled Polenta with Fresh Mozzarella and Balsamic Tomatoes — 44 Comments

    • Yes, Analida! This would make a lovely dinner! Shelley and I can tell you firsthand that it makes a wonderful lunch – we just kept munching on them while I photographed! :) A salad would absolutely complete this summery and light dinner! Have a great day! ~Gretchen

  1. I have been cooking polenta a lot lately and am in love with its versatility! Needless to say, I love love love polenta and the idea of grilling it is genius!! I love everything about this recipe – the tomatoes, balsamic, fresh basil… yummy! I cannot wait to try this on the BBQ this summer! Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Mmmm … you already know how awesome polenta is! It’s the perfect backdrop for the fresh tomatoes and basil, and the creamy mozzarella just ties it all together! And it looks pretty impressive for only taking a few minutes to whip up! Hope you try this out! :D ~G&S

    • Prepared polenta is surprisingly wonderful and saves an entire prep step! I use it in lots of ways because it’s so quick and easy! My son loves it when I cut it into “fries,” and we often oven roast it if we don’t have the grill fired up – turns out just as great (although without those pretty grill marks)! I think you’ll really love working with it … can’t wait to see what you create! :D ~Shelley

  2. Pingback: 65 Savory Summer Recipes for Picnics & Barbecues - Cupcakes & Kale Chips

    • Thank you, Maureen! How do you normally prepare it? We find that grilling is a really fast and easy way – and the grill marks look cool, too! Let us know how they turn out for you! Hope you love these little yummy bites! :) ~G&S

    • Hey, Kristi! The prepared, tube polentas are a total snap – perfect for quick and easy recipes! You’ll love it! Super flexible, too – you can grill it, use it in casseroles, broil it … the list goes on and on! Thanks so much for the pin, too! :D ~G&S

    • So glad you stopped by! My family and I have really gotten a bit addicted to polenta lately, too! There are so many delicious ways to make it, and the prepared, tubed polenta makes it so simple and fast! We cut it up like fries, dip it in buffalo sauce … the list goes on and on! But seriously, this combination of the sweet, creamy polenta with summery basil, sweet tomatoes and balsamic … mmmmmm … it’s outstanding! So excited for you to try it! :D ~Shelley

    • These are definitely a great way to use up that basil! I have three big, happy plants on my deck right now, and they’ve been keeping me well-supplied through our testing and photographing of this recipe! And don’t worry – even though we do love grilling these, when it’s rainy or chilly, you can just broil them instead of grilling – they still taste absolutely fantastic! :D ~Shelley

  3. I’ve never tried breakfast polenta, but it sounds like a really nice idea! Especially if you top it with basil and tomatoes – you can’t go wrong with that combo!! These look mighty delicious! And cute!
    Have a wonderful weekend! xx

    • Yes, Consuelo! These ARE mighty delicious! :) I’m hoping you’ll be able to find polenta near you … otherwise you’ll need to just make a trip to Ohio and we can make it for you! Really, Shelley and I wouldn’t mind a bit – this just comes together in a snap! Hope you had a fab weekend! ~Gretchen

    • Mmmm … the warm polenta, the melty cheese, the super fresh tomatoes and basil … it’s just totally delicious! And by totally delicious, I mean that Shelley and I just kept eating and eating these little beauties the day we photographed.
      Our favorite part is that it really is a quick recipe to put together, but it looks (and tastes!) so impressive – it’s perfect to whip up when you’ve got guests! Enjoy! ~Gretchen

    • I honestly hadn’t grilled polenta until recently, either … but it works perfectly! My family loves concocting different recipes with prepared polenta – it’s so easy and just delicious whether you toast it in a skillet or broil it or grill it – perfect no matter how you cook it! This summery recipe is a great way to dress up humble polenta – still super-easy but it looks really special! :D ~Shelley

    • These babies really do slide down pretty easily – lol! Maybe you’ll just want to plan to make a double batch! We actually found they were PERFECT as a little mid-afternoon lunchy-snack the day we photographed them … we’re not telling how many we ate all by ourselves! :D ~G&S

  4. This definitely rocks! but we need to have a little talk…A washer/dryer? Call me if you ever need some more suggestions! Manservant is needing a new grill as we’ve had ours probably 30 years, no lie! But a washer dryer is a given, is it not? Now a new couch-that might work!

    • 30 years with one grill!?!? That’s amazing! So you for sure should bargain for a new couch (and maybe a coordinating ottoman and loveseat?!?) when he picks out a new grill! And hey – maybe throw in a new washer and dryer while you’re at it, too! Lol! :D ~G&S

    • Fresh mozzarella is just all kinds of wonderful! So melty and creamy-licious! It’s perfect in this recipe, and a little bit goes a really long way! For sure if you love fresh mozzarella that much, you are gonna loooooove this polenta! :D ~G&S

    • The polenta really does bring a whole new level of “yum!” to the classic summer combination of tomatoes and basil – you’ll love it! The polenta gets a bit crunchy on the outside and so creamy-warm on the inside, and it adds a subtle little sweetness. So wonderful! Can’t wait for you to try it! :D ~G&S

    • Hi Christine! This is a total snap to make and just tastes like summertime! (Does summer even have a flavor?? Yes, it tastes like grilled polenta with fresh mozzarella and balsamic tomatoes!) :D So fresh, so easy, so delicious! ~G&S

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