Polenta Crust Creamed Spinach Tart for #SundaySupper

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, it’s almost spring, so #SundaySupper is bringing you all things green! I took two of our favorite side dishes, polenta and my lightened up creamed spinach recipe, and combined them into this simple, elegant, healthy, tasty, and naturally gluten free appetizer, side dish, or meatless main. The Bug may have called it “pizza”, but I’ll call it Polenta Crust Creamed Spinach Tart.

Polenta Crust Creamed Spinach Tart

Polenta Crust Creamed Spinach Tart | cupcakesandkalechips.com | #vegetarian #glutenfree #sidedish

As some of you may have seen, every weekday I post a picture of what is in The Bug’s lunchbox on Instagram and Facebook. I do this because I like to show that there is a middle ground between the same old sandwich and bag of random snack everyday and those sandwiches with homemade bread and backyard-grown fruits and veggies cut into shapes and arranged to replicate a Van Gogh painting. I know lots of parents are looking for different ideas, sometimes even for themselves, and I hope that my attempt at creativity can inspire someone. Honestly, what it comes down to is that I like to use up food, so I rarely buy things specifically for his lunch and instead try to use whatever is in the fridge and pantry.

One thing that challenges my creativity is that because his school leases space in an annex to a Jewish temple, the kids’ meals are required to be meatless in order to ensure that all food consumed on Temple grounds abides by Kosher laws (no mixing meat with dairy, no pork, I’m not sure what else because I am not Jewish). We are definitely not vegetarian, so I am always trying to come up with different things to make sure he gets protein.

Well, some days I get comments about how shocked people are that he eats what he eats. They say how their kids or grandkids would never touch the stuff or would demand peanut butter and jelly. People often want to know how I have such a good eater. You know, he is three. He has his likes and dislikes and picky moments. He is currently having a tomato sauce aversion. He doesn’t love steak or anything that he really has to chew. Won’t touch zucchini, and doesn’t quite pop broccoli like candy the way he did as a baby. He’d prefer to live on bananas and chocolate and bread and cheese. But yes, he eats a wide variety of foods and has an amazing appetite and palette for his age. And it started from Day 1. Well, I supposed Day 5 Months when he started solid food, but this is the type of food I have always fed him. To him, this isn’t weird food or healthy food. It’s just food. And of course he’ll gobble up ice cream and cupcakes and pizza, but he also enjoys cauliflower and carrots and apples and salmon and nuts, and heck, even asks for prunes and dates and dried apricots instead of fruit snacks.

So I’m gonna ride the wave while I can. There’s gonna come a day where he can read the menus at the restaurants and wants chicken fingers and french fries, where he will raid the Doritos and Oreos at a friend’s house or that Daddy stashes in the pantry, and can get himself into Mommy’s ice cream or treats that she made for the blog. But if he continues to eat a variety of nutritious foods most of the time, then this is all OK. Balance, you know. Moderation.

I tell this story because yup, you guessed it, The Bug brought this for lunch one day. In his mind, it was pizza. His favorite kind of pizza is white pizza with broccoli. This had crust, cheese, and a green veggie – who am I to correct him?! Sure kid, I’m sending in pizza for lunch!

Polenta Crust Creamed Spinach Tart | cupcakesandkalechips.com | #vegetarian #glutenfree #sidedish

Since polenta and my lighter version of creamed spinach are two of our favorite side dishes, I knew combining them would be a hit. Both of my boys, well, actually all three, devour polenta. The Bug is actually only a recent spinach convert, but the little guy is surprisingly a huge fan. And The Hubby, who before I met him was not the biggest veggie eater, and is pretty much anti-leafy greens, really likes my spinach dish (which I swear I will blog at some point). I simply use a little light cream cheese and parmesan to make it rich and creamy, but still light. The earthy, creamy spinach atop the savory, soft but firm polenta was a perfect combination.

This tart was a nice side dish when I threw a chicken in the crockpot one night, but it would also make a lovely lunch or meatless main course. You could even cut it into small wedges for a little appetizer.

The Hubby likes polenta cooked firm, versus the creamy style. Sometimes I don’t cook it long enough for it to get firm immediately after taking it out of the pot and set up like he prefers it, so when I can, I try to cook it early in the day. That approach is perfect for creating a crust for a savory tart. You can either make sure you cook it suuuuper duper thick, then pour it in the tart pan and bake it, or throw it in the fridge at some point, even for just a short while, before baking it, after filling it, or after the final turn in the oven to heat through and brown the spinach and parmesan. It reheats quite well, and this chill time allows it to firm up enough to slice well.

Polenta Crust Creamed Spinach Tart | cupcakesandkalechips.com | #vegetarian #glutenfree #sidedish Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.
Sunday Supper Movement
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And from spinach to mint, broccoli to lime, and everything in between, check out the great green menu from the #SundaySupper contributors at the bottom of this post.

Polenta Crust Creamed Spinach Tart | cupcakesandkalechips.com | #vegetarian #glutenfree #sidedish What is your favorite green food?

Polenta Crust Creamed Spinach Tart
 
Combines two favorite sides into a simple, elegant, and healthy appetizer, side dish, or meatless main.
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish, Main, Apetizer
Ingredients
For the polenta crust:
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock or broth
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup cornmeal or polenta
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
For the creamed spinach:
  • two 6 oz bags of baby spinach
  • 2 oz. cream cheese (I used light)
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • a few grinds black pepper
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
Instructions
For the polenta crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the stock and salt to a gentle simmer.
  3. While whisking, slowly pour in the cornmeal.
  4. Continue to simmer, stirring frequently, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until very thick and almost firm.
  5. Stir in the parmesan cheese.
  6. Pour into a 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom (a springform pan would probably work as well).
  7. Bake for 10 minutes. (*See Note)
  8. If filling right away, set aside until the creamed spinach is ready. (*See Note)
For the creamed spinach and to assemble the tart:
  1. Spray a large pan with olive oil or cooking spray and add spinach, salt, pepper and nutmeg and cover to allow spinach to wilt for about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Remove lid and stir in cream cheese until cream cheese blends in evenly and excess moisture evaporates.
  3. Remove from the heat.
  4. Take the baked polenta crust (warm or chilled) and press down the center to create an indentation and a raised crust around the edge.
  5. Fill the indentation with the creamed spinach.
  6. Sprinkle top with parmesan cheese. (*See Note)
  7. Bake at 400°F for 10-15 minutes, or unti hot, slightly bubbling and lightly browned. (*See Note)
Notes
*At any of these points, you could chill the crust or tart in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and then proceed or reheat before serving in the oven or microwave. Chilling will ensure that it firms up to slice cleanly.

Enjoy!

Polenta Crust Creamed Spinach Tart | cupcakesandkalechips.com | #vegetarian #glutenfree #sidedish

Want some more great greens from me…

Cornmeal-Crusted-Asparagus-1.jpg Broccoli-Potato-Cheese-Egg-Muffin-Cups-4-title.jpg Romaine-Wedge-Salad-with-Hot-Maple-Bacon-Dressing-1-title-wm.jpg

And #SundaySupper has tons of great recipes to help you eat your greens of all kinds…

Green Light Appetizers and Sides

Getting Greens Through Salads

Entreés That Will Leave You Green With Envy

Desserts and Beverages That Will Make Others Turn Green

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Ohhh yummmm! I would eat a slice of that right now! I have 2 kids… and they are so different. My eldest daughter (she’s 6) is the fussiest eater on earth, while the little one (she’s 4) eats everything… ahhhhh well, it could have been worse and I could have had them both fussy!!! ;-)

  2. says

    I love this recipe and it is now on my must try list. I adore spinach and polenta — what a brilliant idea. I agree with you, my kids will eat almost anything I put on a pizza. What a great way to sneak in some veggies.

  3. says

    Have I eve seen a crust made with polenta? What a fabulous idea that must be tried in my kitchen soon. And I love that your son has developed a sensible and adventurous palate. I tire of seeing some of the things I see in lunch bags and the lines of cars at fast food joints. Bravo for you. Nice cooking with you for Sunday Supper.

  4. says

    I love your idea to use polenta as the crust! And the creamed spinach filling, well…let’s just say this is another one of your winners. PS-I love when you show the Bug’s lunchbox! And pics of him…he is too freaking cute!

  5. says

    I love having kids who know what to eat. My kids always shock people at restaraunts because they choose vegetables over things like chips or fries. They have grown up loving things like cauliflower, broccoli and celery (my daughter loves to snack on celery). It’s great that your son eats that way. I agree with you, sure some days they will eat junk, but at least we know that sometimes they’re eating the good stuff too! HUGS

  6. says

    My kids do not like sandwiches for lunch at all so I always pack different foods as well. Veggies, and fruit is in the lunchbox every day as well :)

    I love you polenta spinach pizza!!! Fantastic idea!!!

  7. says

    What gifts of inspiration you are giving parents with your Instagram and FB posts, Brianne…Wish my great-nephew (who is in Qatar) were closer so I could make him your scrumptious polenta spinach “pizza.”

  8. says

    I love the idea of making a tart with polenta crust! I can see doing with with a number of items and I bet this would taste great with some tomatoes and mozzarella!

  9. says

    Oh, you have really nailed this one! Wow, and gluten-free, too?
    We love it and are going to link to it from our social media (Twitter and Facebook), so our followers can see how you made it.

    Keep up the good cookin’ and we invite you to follow us for even more delicious recipes starring all sorts of healthy greens.

    –Your friendly Southern California farmers at Cut ‘N Clean Greens

  10. says

    Okay, I am now OBSESSED with your lunchbox posts on instagram. I just finished reading French Kids Eat Everything and it was SUCH an interesting read! It seems that French parents raise their kids to be just like yours–to view food as food and to eat a wide variety of wholesome foods (really, whatever their parents feed them). It’s so inspiring to hear about an American kid who is doing the same! And this looks so delicious–can’t wait to try it!!

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