Polenta Cakes with Chili-Garlic Sauce from The Lusty Vegan by Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg

Polenta Cakes with Chili-Garlic Sauce from The Lusty Vegan by Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg is a delicious appetizer or snack to serve on date night. While creating a restaurant menu, Ayinde came up with a quinoa cake similar to this. However, he later swapped in polenta, because he found the grain to be heartier in this dish.

Polenta Cakes with Chili-Garlic Sauce

Prep time: 8 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Serves 2


  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or safflower oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dry corn polenta
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • Chili-garlic sauce, to serve


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté for approximately 4 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent.
  2. Add the rosemary, basil, garlic powder, cayenne, and red pepper flakes and sauté for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Heat the water in a medium saucepan until boiling. Add the polenta and salt, whisking to incorporate and smooth out lumps. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to cook for 3 to 5 minutes. The polenta will start to thicken. Add the almond milk and mix well with a whisk. Remove from heat once the mixture has thickened. Fold the sautéed veggies into the polenta and mix until well combined.
  4. Pour the mixture into a lightly oiled 8-inch square baking dish and refrigerate until firm, 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Once the polenta has cooled and firmed, cut the polenta into triangles and flash-grill it in a hot skillet with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook until lightly browned on both sides, approximately 3 minutes. Serve with chili-garlic sauce.


TLV Square From The Lusty Vegan © 2014 by Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg. Used with permission from Vegan Heritage Press.