A very healthy, easy, and yummy crowd pleaser. Can be served as a standalone meal or a side salad. Men, women, vegetarians, omnivores—everyone will love it. And your body will love you for eating it.   


  • 1 package (18 oz) fat-free, plain precooked polenta
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes – I typically do 1/8 teaspoon
  • 1 head romaine, torn (about 6 cups)
  • 20 basil leaves
  • 4 oz fresh part-skim mozzarella, cut into small cubes


  1. Heat oven to 400°.
  2. Remove polenta from package, and quarter lengthwise.
  3. Slice polenta crosswise evenly 7 times, so you end up with 32 triangles.
  4. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange polenta triangles flat; then spray the tops with cooking spray.
  5. Place tomatoes on a small rimmed baking sheet or in a small glass casserole dish; evenly coat with cooking spray.
  6. Place both sheets in oven.
  7. After 10 minutes, gently stir tomatoes, then cook for an additional 20 minutes.
  8. Remove tomatoes from oven (they should be brown/charred in spots and wrinkly)
  9. Remove polenta from oven, flip them over, and return to oven. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. (If you want the croutons to be very crunchy, cook an additional 10 minutes.) 
  10. While polenta croutons finish, transfer tomatoes to a bowl and pour vinegar over them.
  11. Gently mix in beans, salt, pepper and pepper flakes; set aside. Then add in mozzarella.
  12. Divide romaine and basil among 4 plates. Pour tomato mixture over greens; top with croutons.

Serve 4. 


Source: Self | Mediterranean Chef Salad with Polenta Croutons