Polenta cakes with mint arugula pistachio pesto

My inspiration for creating this dish was simply using up leftover ingredients in my refrigerator and pantry. The result was a super delicious, refreshing summer dish, and I’m excited to share the recipe! I made crispy polenta cakes and served them on top of a mint arugula pistachio pesto and topped them with fresh cherry tomatoes and basil. I served it also with balsamic reduction and extra virgin olive oil. Give it a try, and if you post to Instagram use #plantbasedartist! I’d love to see your creations! πŸ™‚ 


yield: about 6-8 servings 


for polenta cakes:

3 cups water (plus more if needed) 

1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste) 

1 cup dry polenta 

1 teaspoon nutritional yeast flakes (optional but recommended)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (substitute Earth Balance spread or use a combination of the two which is what I did) 

light olive oil (or cooking oil of choice) 


for pesto: 

5 oz baby arugula 

1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves 

1/4 cup pistachios (roasted or raw) 

salt to taste 

1-2 tablespoons lemon juice 

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 

water if desired 


for serving (optional):

cherry tomatoes 

fresh basil 

balsamic reduction (make your own by reducing balsamic vinegar at medium heat with a bit of sugar or use store bought)

extra virgin olive oil 



prepare the polenta cakes by bringing the water to a boil. add salt and stir in the polenta. reduce to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes while stirring frequently. if the polenta becomes too thick while cooking, add more water. once the polenta is tender (check this by simply tasting it), ensure that the mixture is as thick as possible. if it’s too runny, simply continue cooking until the water cooks off. this will allow the polenta to set better. remove from the heat and immediately pour the mixture into a shallow pan and spread evenly. refrigerate  for at least two hours. remove the polenta from the pan and cut into desired shapes. pan fry in a bit of light olive oil (or cooking oil of choice) on both sides until crispy. 

prepare the pesto by combining pistachios, arugula, mint, salt, lemon juice, and olive oil in a food processor or blender. blend until the ingredients are well combined. if needed, add water while blending. 

plate the polenta cakes with the pesto. if desired, plate with cherry tomatoes, basil, balsamic reduction, and extra virgin olive oil, and enjoy! 

4 thoughts on “Polenta cakes with mint arugula pistachio pesto

  1. Thanks for these recipes, they are awesome. I made this one for the family the other night and my kids practically devoured their plates. I have always told my daughter to eat the thing she likes less first (veggies), but after this recipe she said ‘if you cook like that, theres is nothing I like less’! Really great site and presentation πŸ™‚


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