Recipe | Grilled Veggie Salad with Basil Parmesan Polenta

Grilled Veggie Salad with Parmesan Polenta Recipe

Grilled Veggie Salad with Basil Parmesan Polenta
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On Tuesday I mentioned how I’m going into freak-out mode over the fact that summer is almost over. More specifically, I’m freaking out because I feel like I haven’t fully taken advantage of the availability of cheap, seasonal produce. Must! Eat! More! Veggies!

Kabob Veggies
Sometimes I feel like recipes get in the way when I’m shopping at the farmers market, so I decided to throw caution to the wind last weekend and buy all the freaky weird vegetables that I usually pass by. You know, the ones you see and think to yourself, “Well, that’s really cool, but what would I do with it?” I found cherry tomatoes that look like tiny Romas and baby eggplant and papaya squash. Papaya squash! Where can you get that besides the farmers market?

Grilled Veggie Kabobs
Once I got home with shopping bags full of the weirdest vegetables I could find, I had to figure out what to do with them all. I’ve been working on a recipe involving grilled vegetables and polenta for a while and I could never get it right. It was always so close to greatness, but something would be off about it. First the polenta was bland; then it was too thick. Then the polenta was perfect and the veggies weren’t. So I thought I’d revisit this recipe and switch things up a little bit by making it a grilled veggie salad, served with basil Parmesan polenta on the side. Finally, I got the recipe right. Finally!

Grilled Veggie Salad with Parmesan Polenta
In general, I’m not a big salad eater. People are always shocked at that. “You don’t eat salad? Well, what do you eat then?” (Because vegetarians subsist on salads alone. Didn’t you know?) This is the kind of salad I like–it’s a meal salad, but it’s not heavy. And it’s a great summer dinner because not only is it both light and filling, but you can use whatever veggies you have on hand. So go buy yourself some crazy looking zucchini or a rainbow of cherry tomatoes and make this salad!

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Grilled Veggie Salad with Basil Parmesan Polenta

Prep Time

2 hours 30 minutes

Cook Time

20 minutes

Total Time

2 hours 50 minutes





  • oil mister or cooking spray
  • 2 1/2 c. water
  • 3/4 c. instant polenta
  • 1/4 c. roughly chopped basil
  • 1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
  • salt + pepper to taste

Grilled Veggies

  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. minced fresh herbs (whatever you have on hand–I used chives, rosemary, basil, and oregano)
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • vegetables for 4 kabobs, cut into uniform sizes (I used 6 baby eggplant, 2 papaya squash, and 12 cherry tomatoes)
  • oil mister or cooking spray


  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 4 c. salad greens (I used baby kale)



  1. Coat an 8×8-inch baking dish with an olive oil mister or cooking spray.
  2. Bring water to boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat to low and slowly add polenta, whisking constantly. Remove from heat once polenta is thick and creamy, about 3 minutes. Stir in basil, cheese, salt and pepper, then transfer to baking dish. Allow polenta to cool to room temperature, then cover the dish with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to solidify for at least 2 hours.
  3. Cut the polenta into 8 evenly-sized pieces and carefully remove from baking dish. Spray or brush grill with oil and grill polenta until warmed through, about 5 minutes on each side (less on an outdoor grill).

Grilled Veggies

  1. Whisk together olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper in a large baking dish. Place vegetables on skewers and put skewers in baking dish. Cover and refrigerate; marinate for 2 hours, basting veggies with herb-and-oil mixture every 30 minutes.
  2. Grill veggie skewers on medium heat with the polenta, about 15 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally so all sides cook evenly.


  1. Whisk together oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss with salad greens and divide onto 4 plates or bowls. Top with veggies from one skewer and 2 pieces of polenta.


Prep time includes time for polenta to solidify and veggies to marinate–it’s not all active time!


Ah, in Europe (or the EU at least) there is no such thing as vegetarian Parmesan, the names protected so therefore has to be made with calf rennet. Although obviously imitations exist under different names. Just always becomes a problem eating out as the majority of vegetarian options include Parmesan due to ill informed chefs!

Yeah, this definitely isn’t the authentic stuff from Italy–it comes pre-shredded in bags and little plastic tubs! I think a lot of restaurants confuse meatless with vegetarian…

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