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Baked Polenta with Fresh Tomatoes and Cauliflower Ricotta

And on the 5th day, she paid tribute.

Welcome back on this fifth day of MoFo. Today's prompt is to share some food inspired by a cookbook that's inspired us. Well I've got a lot of them. In fact, I collect cookbooks of all kinds - well not all kinds - I only collect vegan or vegetarian cookbooks. I've got a few cookbooks that are dedicated to to a certain type of veggie and some of those  recipes may call for meat but I don’t pay too much attention to those recipes. See I don't actually cook the recipes in the cookbook, I get the book and read it from cover to cover, and then put it in my kitchen's bookshelf. I'm certain the ideas I get from reading the cookbooks shine through my food eventually.

Out of all my possible cookbook choices for this prompt,  I was immediately drawn to Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I mean who doesn't love her food? I feel like everyone has a copy of Veganomicon, or Vegan with a Vengeance. Appetite for Reduction came out right when the vegan friendliness of grocery shopping hit it's first big spike where I live. Super processed vegan faux whatevers started popping up in nearly every grocery store in my area and I went in hard and deep. This cookbook reminded me that moderation is important and steered me back to a whole food vegan way of eating.

It also really motivated me to start paying more attention to how much waste I'm contributing. Around the time I finished reading it was when I started using reusable grocery bags; and upcycling jars for storage for spices and leftovers; and speaking of leftovers - I started upcycling those too!

You might not believe this but I used to waste so much food! I'd make food for the purpose of posting on this here mediocre blog and I'd make more than I needed in case of a plating disaster. There would always be leftovers the next day. Instead of eating those leftovers, I'd start creating a new dish and a whole new batch of leftovers. Needless to say, there was always food cooking and leftovers going bad in the fridge. But not anymore!

This dish is inspired by Appetite for Reduction in a few different ways:
  1. the coloring of the dish is inspired by the color palate of the cookbook's cover;
  2. The cauliflower ricotta is inspired by the cauliflower ricotta in this book; and 
  3. I upcycled leftovers from previous MoFo dishes this week to reduce waste in the kitchen.
I used some fresh tomatoes from my friend's garden, fresh basil from my garden, and leftover homemade tomato pasta sauce to make this dish pop but you can make it equally as good and quicker to put together from start to finish by using dried basil or whatever herbs you have in your kitchen, jarred tomato sauce, precooked polenta, or any other time saving tips that strike you. Also, I've been doing a good job of staying away from highly processed foods (other than tofu because I can't quit you, tofu) but if you aren't staying away from processed foods, I'd totes recommend pulling the nooch and adding in as much vegan cheese as your lil vegan heart desires - I bet that would be so bomb. 

As is, this dish take about an hour from start to finish.

Baked Polenta with Fresh Tomatoes and Cauliflower Ricotta 

1 c grits, or polenta
2 1/4 c water
1 c cashew milk
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 c nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 c roughly chopped fresh basil
2 medium tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 c pepita parmesan, or your fave vegan version of the stuff
your fave tomato pasta sauce
  1. Get your oven really hot - I'm talking 450 hot (also make sure you made the Cauliflower Ricotta inspired by the Cauliflower Ricotta from Appetite for Reduction before you start the polenta);
  2. In a big pot get the water, milk, and coconut oil to a rolling boil and whisk in the grits - or polenta if you're a yankee. Whisk that shit until the grits are thick and most of the liquid is hard to find. Remove from heat and mix in the fresh basil, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Plop this mixture in your fave cast iron and bake for 15 minutes. 
  3. Decorate the top of the polenta with some fresh tomato slices and a sprinkle of your pepita parmesan - cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the tomatoes start to brown. 
  4. Top with a heaping tablespoon or two of the Cauliflower Ricotta, a tablespoon or two of your fave tomato-based pasta sauce, some more pepita parm, and some more fresh basil. HELLO DINNER. 

Cauliflower Ricotta 

1 head of cauliflower, cut in florets and roasted 
1 block of tofu, crumbled like you're making scramble
1/4 c nutritional yeast
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar 
  1. Blend all together to get the consistency you desire for your ricotta. Depending on what kind of tofu you get, you might need some water handy for thinning during the blending process. 

Other similar dishes you might like:

Polenta Brunch Tart w/ Tomato Pomegranate Glaze
Poblano Peppers stuffed with Mushroom Chorizo and Sweet Polenta
Ethiopian Chickpeas of Polenta Cakes
Broccoli Polenta Cakes
BandMan's Bomb Spaghetti Sauce

Up next, I have been presented with the opportunity to challenge the ever shrinking group of Anti-Vegans with some bomb food that might not change their minds about how they can't live without bacon but it'll def stop them from bitching about how gross vegan food is...cuz it's not gross, they just have a hard time admitting when they're wrong. 


Can't get enough? I'm all over the place, let's follow each other (cause that doesn't sound creepy, at all!) InstagramTwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.  Nothing makes me heart more full than when people let me know they've tried my recipes. If you wanna help make my heart happy you can # vegan4one, comment on the post, post on my wall, tweet at me; whichever socials you feel comfy with.

All the love,



  1. Oooh, lovely - I'm a huge fan of the cauliflower ricotta from Appetite for Reduction, so it automatically sounds like a winner to me!


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