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Polenta crust creamed spinach tart combines two simple dishes into one elegant, healthy, naturally gluten free meal! It’s a perfect way to celebrate a gluten free St. Patrick’s Day!
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 lightened up creamed spinach , and combined them into this simple appetizer, side dish, or meatless main. The Bug may have called it “pizza”, but I’ll call it Polenta Crust Creamed Spinach Tart.
Every weekday, I post a picture of what is in The Bug’s lunchbox on my Instagram and Facebook pages. 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. That means no mixing meat with dairy, no pork, and 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 grand kids 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’s currently having a tomato sauce aversion. He doesn’t love steak or anything that he really has to chew. He won’t touch zucchini, and doesn’t quite enjoy broccoli like 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 he’ll want chicken fingers and french fries. Times where he will raid the Doritos and Oreos at a friend’s house. And he’ll 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 for a reason.
The Bug brought this polenta crust creamed spinach tart 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!
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. 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 can 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. So it doesn’t set up like he prefers it. When I can, I try to cook it early in the day. That approach is perfect for creating a savory tart crust.
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.
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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.
What is your favorite green food?
Please tell me it will be this polenta crust creamed spinach tart!
Polenta Crust Creamed Spinach Tart
For the polenta crust:
- 3 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock or broth
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup cornmeal or polenta
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
For the creamed spinach:
- two 6 oz bags of baby spinach
- 2 oz. cream cheese I used light
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- a few grinds black pepper
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
For the polenta crust:
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the stock and salt to a gentle simmer.
- While whisking, slowly pour in the cornmeal.
- Continue to simmer, stirring frequently, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until very thick and almost firm.
- Stir in the parmesan cheese.
- Pour into a 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom (a springform pan would probably work as well).
- Bake for 10 minutes. (*See Note)
- If filling right away, set aside until the creamed spinach is ready. (*See Note)
For the creamed spinach and to assemble the tart:
- 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.
- Remove lid and stir in cream cheese until cream cheese blends in evenly and excess moisture evaporates.
- Remove from the heat.
- Take the baked polenta crust (warm or chilled) and press down the center to create an indentation and a raised crust around the edge.
- Fill the indentation with the creamed spinach.
- Sprinkle top with parmesan cheese. (*See Note)
- Bake at 400°F for 10-15 minutes, or unti hot, slightly bubbling and lightly browned. (*See Note)
Want some more great greens from me…
- Cornmeal Crusted Asparagus
- Broccoli, Potato and Cheese Egg Muffin Cups
- Romaine “Wedge” Salad with Hot Maple Bacon Dressing
And #SundaySupper has tons of great recipes to help you eat your greens of all kinds…
Green Light Appetizers and Sides
- Espinacas con Crema (Creamed Spinach) from La Cocina de Leslie
- Steakhouse Style Creamed Spinach from It’s Yummi!
- Oven-Fried Green Beans from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Irish Champ from girlichef
- Fresh Herb Tabouleh from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Moroccan Greens from Cooking On The Ranch
- Broccoli and Cheese Soup from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Polenta Crust Creamed Spinach Tart from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Cheesy Broccoli Baked Potatoes from MealDiva
- Spinach and Artichoke Squares from Kudos Kitchen By Renee
- Green Rice from Basic N Delicious
- Broccoli and Blue Cheese Tarts from Mess Makes Food
- Avocado Fries from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
- Spinach Cashew Pakoras with Tangy Date Sauce from Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
- Garlicky Italian Green Beans and Potatoes from Webicurean
Getting Greens Through Salads
- Pixie Dust Salad with Avocados, Pixie Tangerines and Radishes from Shockingly Delicious
- Roasted Broccoli Spinach Salad from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
- Apple, Spinach and Zucchini Salad from Hip Foodie Mom
- Brussels Sprouts Slaw from Hot Momma’s Kitchen Chaos
- Asparagus-Fennel-Pea Shoot Salad from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Cilantro Lime Ranch Dressing from The Foodie Army Wife
- Creamy Chicken Pesto Salad from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Entreés That Will Leave You Green With Envy
- Eggs and Greens Pizza from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Creamy Green Pizza from The Foodie Patootie
- Shamrock Spinach Crepes from Curious Cuisiniere
- Healthy Green Pasta from Momma’s Meals
- Swiss Chard & Sausage Pasta Bake from Delaware Girl Eats
- Smothered Cabbage with Pork from Food Lust People Love
- Spinach Fettuccine with Bacon Alfredo from Crazy Foodie Stunts
- Roasted Asparagus Eggs Benedict With Cajun Hollandaise from Having Fun Saving
- Indulgent Pesto Risotto from The Weekend Gourmet
- Twice Baked Turkey Pie with Cabbage from Confessions of a Culinary Diva
- Slow-Cooker Irish Stout Chicken Stew from FoodieTots
- Chicken and Asparagus Flatbread Pizza from Family Foodie
Desserts and Beverages That Will Make Others Turn Green
- Lemon Kiwi Meringue Pie from Desserts Required
- Mint Cookies and Stout Shake from Melanie Makes
- Verde Sangria from Country Girl in the Village
- Baileys Mint Ice Cream & Chocolate Stout Float from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Shamrock Cookies from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Green Tea Latte from Manu’s Menu
- Grasshopper Mousse from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Amazing Grass Brownies from Killer Bunnies, Inc
- Leprechaun Ice Cream from Cookistry
- White Chocolate Cupcakes with Pistachio Pudding Frosting from Cookin’ Mimi
- Collard Greens, Mushroom, and Cheddar Bread Pudding from The Texan New Yorker
- Coconut Avocado Ice Cream from URBAN BAKES
- Lime Meltaways from Pies and Plots
- Chocolate Mint Cake from NinjaBaking.com
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!!
Aww, thanks. I do need to read that book! Honestly I am kinda bummed that his school next year provides lunch for the preschoolers.
Yum! This looks great.
Stopping by from the Show Stopper Saturday Link Party!
Thanks Amy! It is so yummy!
It’s beautiful and very elegant looking
And the crust is super unique!
Thanks so much!
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
Thanks so much for sharing! Always looking for new ways to get my boys to eat their greens!
WHATEVER you choose to call this, I want it for lunch, AND dinner!
Yep, you can certainly have this any time of day!
Love the polenta crust! It’s so clever.
Brianne, now this is my kinda Sunday night supper! I could eat the entire pan of creamed spinach and have loved anything with polenta for the past 6 months! Can.Not.Wait to make this. Thanks!
Thanks Meg! We are big polenta fans here, too!
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!
Mmm, in the summer when we have good tomatoes and basil, I need to make a caprese tart!
I just love this idea of a polenta crust, the ideas running through my head of what to do with it are endless. Thanks for the inspiration.
I know, me too!
“Just food” is a very positive way to teach kids what is normal and wholesome. I love the idea of a polenta crust. Must try!
Thanks Cindy. With my kid, the more you make big deal out of anything, the more resistant he is. That even hold true with food.
Simply yummy! I LOVE the polenta crust and wish I was eating some of this right now! Yum!
I love this creation! What a fabulous idea, happy sunday to you!
Thanks so much!
Love the polenta crust! very inventive and looks delicious!
Thanks Alice! It is so good, and so much more I want to do with it!
What a great idea to use the polenta for a crust. This looks great to serve for brunch, lunch or a savory breakfast.
Yes, I think it’ll be great for the brunch-y occasions coming up.
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.”
Hehe, call anything “pizza”, right?! Thanks Kim!
What a great brunch idea!!! Looks yum 🙂
Yes, it would be perfect for brunch too!
This is so elegant and beautiful. I’d totally make this for a brunch with friends.
Thanks! Yes, I was thinking it might be nice for Easter or Mother’s Day brunch.
What a creative crust! It looks tasty indeed!
Thanks Julia, it is quite yummy!
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!!!
Thanks Bea! My little guy likes sandwiches sometimes, but he definitely enjoys the variety, and LOVES fruit!
Another great use of creamed spinach this week for #SundaySupper. Thanks for sharing!
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
Right, when everyday is well balanced, the treats are ok.
Such a creative idea for a crust! I’ve had potato crust before and loved it, now I have to try this!
Now I want to try a potato crust!!
I can understand why anyone would call this pizza. For me, I don’t really care what it is called as long as I can have some! Pinning for later!
Haha, thanks Betsy!
Now THIS is how to eat your creamed spinach! YUMMY!!!
I know, right?!
Love that theres a polenta crust! This looks yummy 🙂
Thank you!! It makes a nice crust!!
There are days I vow to live on polenta. lol … This sounds amazing! Indulgent but healthy. Yum!
I could live on it too!!
I love that you used polenta for this! I’m definitely pinning to make at a later time.
Give it a try! Thanks!
I am totally making your crust! What a great idea! Your whole recipe is just gorgeous!!
Thanks Jennifer! I’m thinking there are so many appetizer ideas using this crust!!
Great combination of flavors with the polenta crust and spinach topping. I know I would love this!!! It looks great!
Thanks Renee. They do work well together.
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!
Thanks Shaina. It does make a yummy crust!
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.
I want to try more versions. I love this crust!!
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.
Thanks Isabel! I wonder if The Bug will eat the asparagus on your pizza. Hmmmm.
Spinach makes me swoon, and you just put it onto an amazing transportation device, Brianne! 🙂
I love spinach too and the polenta makes it even better!
Spinach is the ONLY vegetable my daughter will eat! So this would be a hit with the whole family!!!
That’s so funny! Give it a try – it’s deceptively easy!
Creamed Spinach is my favorite. Going to try this recipe…soonest!
We love it, too, especially since I make it light enough to be an everyday food!
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!!! 😉
That is very true. I’m not yet sure about my little guy. So far he is good with a lot of things, but there is time for that to change.
You know, when I first saw your picture above, I wasn’t thinking pizza; I thought it looked like a slice of quiche. Either way, corn and spinach do pair well together. Thanks for participating this week.
I think 3 year old boys have pizza on the brain 🙂 Thanks for hosting.