If you need a 30-minute vegan appetizer idea, these Polenta Bites will do the trick. Tubed polenta is fried until crispy and then topped with a tangy Kalamata Olive-Caper spread. Easy and mouthwatering appetizer that everyone will love.
I said this before and I'll say it again - I'm an appetizer person. If I could, I would eat them all day instead of the full meals.
Now, you have to believe me when I say that these vegan polenta bites are made in no time. Being a busy mom of two very active kids doesn't leave me much time for complicated recipes.
That's why I love making crispy Vegan Polenta appetizer with olive tapenade.
If you're looking for tubed polenta recipes, you're in the right place.
I first made this recipe after I dropped my older daughter off at a preschool and put the youngest down for a nap. Her morning naps were really short, so I knew I had to make something really fast.
This healthy polenta appetizer didn't disappoint.
It combines all of my favorite ingredients. I love polenta, but I'm also a huge fan of olives and capers. The best part is that tapenade is very versatile. It has a wonderful flavor and goes well with crackers, raw vegetable sticks or anything else you could think of.
Here's Why This Recipe Works
- easy and quick. These crispy polenta rounds are ready in just 30 minutes, making them a perfect last-minute finger food appetizer for Thanksgiving, Christmas or a birthday party;
- simple ingredients. You can find the ingredients in all grocery stores;
- delicious. The combination of crispy polenta rounds and rich and flavorful olive tapenade works perfectly together. It's an appetizer that always goes fast.
Here's an overview of the specific ingredients for this recipe. For the exact ingredients and measurements, please scroll to the recipe card below.
- avocado oil. You don't necessarily have to use avocado oil. Olive oil is also a great choice. I love using avocado oil for cooking because it is a good source of monounsaturated fat which is linked to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
- yellow polenta. I buy it packaged in tubes. It's available in Whole Foods as well as Kroger and Walmart;
- breadcrumbs. For this recipe, Japanese Panko breadcrumbs work best. They have larger flakes than the regular breadcrumbs as well as a delicate texture. This helps them crisp up better. Plus, they absorb less oil. You can buy Panko in all grocery stores; If necessary, use gluten-free Panko.
- olives. Kalamata olives have a salty and a little bit fruity taste and they work best in tapenades. These are the olives I use most often in cooking. I recommend buying them in big jars if possible. My favorite places to buy them at a good price are Costco and Home Goods. If you're in a rush, then any other grocery store carries them as well.
- Make Kalamata olive tapenade. In a bowl of a food processor, combine olives, capers, lemon juice, parsley, garlic and 1 tablespoons of avocado (or olive) oil. Pulse until the mixture is pureed but still has some texture.
- Cut the polenta. Unwrap the tubed polenta and drain any excess water. Place it on a cutting board and using a sharp knife, thinly slice the polenta into 16 rounds.
- Dredge the polenta in breadcrumbs. Place bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. In another bowl, add 1 tablespoon of avocado oil. Lightly brush each polenta slice with some oil and press both sides of polenta slice in bread crumbs.
- Pan fry the polenta rounds. Heat 2 tablespoons of avocado oil in a medium skillet and over a medium heat. Add polenta and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Transfer the crispy polenta bites on a clean paper towel and cook the remaining polenta.
- Serve. Arrange polenta on a serving plate, top with a teaspoonful of tapenade, garnish with a tomato half and a parsley leaf. Serve immediately.
👩🏼🍳 Chef's Tip
The thinner you slice the polenta, the more delicious and balanced your polenta bites will be.
These vegan Polenta bites taste especially delicious when served warm. If you make them ahead of time, I recommend either keeping the fried polenta rounds in a warm oven or reheat for 10-20 seconds in a microwave. Top the rounds with the olive tapenade right before serving.
💭 Frequently Asked Questions
It's a savory spread made of olives, capers and olive oil. The ingredients are finely chopped or pureed until the mixture resembles pesto. Tapenade is very popular in the south of France and is typically used in appetizer recipes.
Yes! Brush the polenta rounds with some oil, dredge in breadcrumbs and lightly spray with oil spray. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake the rounds at 450 F for about 20 minutes or until slightly toasted.
Sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onion or tomato bruschetta are some of my favorite polenta toppings.
❄️ Storage Tips
I recommend storing tapenade separately from the polenta. Add the leftover tapenade in a jar, cover with a tablespoon of olive oil and store covered in a refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
You can also freeze it. To do this - spoon the tapenade in the the freezer-friendly bags leaving a ½-inch headspace. Place in a freezer and store for up to 3 months.
Thaw the tapenade in a fridge or place a bag with a frozen tapenade in a bowl filled with cold water.
If you make this recipe, please leave me a comment below and rate it. I always appreciate the feedback. Also, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.
For a quick overview of the recipe, please check out my Polenta Appetizer With Olive Tapenade web-story.
Vegan Polenta Bites With Black Olive Tapenade
Make Kalamata olive tapenade
- In a bowl of a standing mixer, combine olives, capers, lemon juice, parsley, garlic and 1 tablespoons of avocado (or olive) oil. Pulse until everything is finely chopped.
Cut the polenta
- Unwrap the polenta and drain any excess water. Place it on a cutting board and using a sharp knife, thinly slice the polenta into 16 rounds.
- Dredge the polenta in breadcrumbs
- Place bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. In another bowl, add 1 tablespoon of avocado oil. Lightly brush each polenta slice with some oil and press both sides of polenta slice in bread crumbs.
Fry the polenta bites
- Heat 2 tablespoons of avocado oil in a medium skillet and over a medium-high heat. Add polenta and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Transfer the crispy polenta bites on a clean paper towel and cook the remaining polenta.
- Arrange polenta on a serving plate, top with a teaspoonful of tapenade, garnish with a tomato half and a parsley leaf. Serve immediately.
Iryna Bychkiv is the founder and writer of the culinary website Lavender & Macarons, where she shares clean, European-inspired recipes that are delicious, easy to prepare, and made with wholesome ingredients. Iryna loves creating meals that are simple yet healthy and unique, including vegan and vegetarian recipes.
Iryna is also a freelance writer for MSN and Associated Press Wire.