Polenta, the creamy Italian porridge made from cornmeal, takes a bit of stirring (and a lot of patience) when you make it from scratch. Lucky for us, it comes pre-cooked, in small plastic-covered tubes, usually found near rice in most large supermarkets. Baked until crisp on the bottom, sliced polenta rounds can be topped with gooey, sweet caramelized onions and a dab of goat cheese for an easy, fun (and gluten-free) appetizer.

Time: 1 hour, start to finish

Makes: About 12 toasts


  • 1 (24-ounce) tube pre-cooked polenta, cut into 1/2” thick rounds
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large onions, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 ounces crumbled goat cheese


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the polenta slices on a parchment-covered baking sheet and brush liberally on both sides with the olive oil. (Reserve the extra oil for cooking the onions.) Bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the polenta evenly with the Parmesan cheese, and bake another 10 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is toasted and the polenta is crisp on the bottom. Transfer the polenta to a cooling rack.

Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the remaining oil, then the onions. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions soften. Uncover and cook another 30 to 40 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are deep brown. (If the onions begin to stick, add a bit of water to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape any brown parts off the bottom of the pan.)

Divide the onions between the polenta rounds, top each with a bit of goat cheese, garnish with pepper and serve warm.

To Make Ahead: Cook, cool and refrigerate the polenta and the onions overnight. Pile the onions onto the toasts, bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees, then add the goat cheese, and serve.