Creamy, comforting, a little rich but not greasy, seriously fragrant, and seriously easy to throw together, this wildly handy and tasty polenta gratin is likely to be on heavy rotation all fall and winter long. It gives big return for simply slicing, whisking, pouring, and baking.
The trick here is taking advantage of prepared polenta. You'll dress it up with dried herbs (making this a fabulous pantry recipe), soy milk, and almond meal. Admittedly, making your own polenta in advance will probably make this taste even better, but this recipe about convenience. The effect is obviously different from a traditional potato gratin, but you still get lots of creamy, carb-y goodness with a fraction of the work.
This will effortlessly round out any simple meal, like a green salad with some beans or tofu for protein. Or serve it with scrambled tofu and baked apples for brunch. And it will be right at home on any big fall holiday table, if you happen to have one of those coming up.
Dead Simple Polenta and Herb Gratin
18 oz polenta (1 prepared tube)
3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/4 cup blanched almond meal
1 TBSP nutritional yeast
rounded 1/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt (plus additional for finishing)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
pinch crushed red pepper
freshly cracked black pepper
Heat oven to 375.
Slice polenta into thin (scant 1/4-inch) slices and arrange in an overlapping spiral pattern in a 1 1/2-quart baking dish (shallow, app 9"x12"). Whisk together measured salt, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and red pepper. Pour slowly and evenly over polenta. Sprinkle top with a pinch of additional salt and add freshly cracked black pepper, to taste. Bake until polenta is lightly crusted and bubbly, 35-40 minutes.
If desired, finish under broiler to give the top a golden brown finish in spots. Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.