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Baked Polenta Bites with Butternut Squash Bruschetta Recipe

 This post was sponsored by Ancient Harvest. All opinions expressed are ours alone. 

Thanksgiving is really sneaking up on us, y’all! I looked at a calendar last night and there it was just staring me in the face, 2 weeks from now. It’s wild! However, despite its close proximity, I refuse to panic. I’m just gonna do what I did so well in college and let the energy I’ve built up from procrastinating propel me into getting it all done. So, no worries — We’ve still got time to create a killer menu for your Friendsgiving/Thanksgiving celebration, and today I’m excited to share a dish that will be perfect on your holiday table as an appetizer or side dish. This is definitely not your momma’s boring cheese and crackers appetizer and is full of delicious fall flavors! It’s a recipe for Baked Polenta Bites with Butternut Squash Bruschetta!

If you haven’t worked with or consumed polenta before, it’s wonderful! Polenta is a dough made of corn that has origins in Italy. I’m a big corn girl and love tamales, corn bread and grits, so polenta is right up my alley. Plus, we used Ancient Harvest Heat-and-Eat Polenta so the quality and taste were the best you can find and it was so easy to make! If you have never had Ancient Harvest products in your pantry before, I’m happy that I get to introduce you! Ancient Harvest started over 35 years ago by being the first company to bring quinoa to the U.S. Since then, they’ve been cooking up modern versions of ancient foods making them easier to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet!

Ancient Harvest Heat-and-Eat Polenta is so great to work with, especially if this is your first time using polenta, because it is pre-cooked and ready-to-eat, is non-GMO project certified, and can be microwaved, sauted, fried, baked or grilled! For our recipe we baked the polenta in little disks, giving them a delicious crunchy exterior and warm, moist middle. Add to that delicious corn goodness some butternut squash, fresh tomatoes and herbs, and other delicious flavors and you’ve got a fall-inspired bruschetta that is going to give you and your guests something to be thankful for on the big day! Let’s get cooking!

Baked Polenta Bites with Butternut Squash Bruschetta

Serves: 6-8 | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 18 oz. tubes of Ancient Harvest Polenta, Traditional Italian flavor
  • 1/2 pound grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled de-seeded and cubed into 1/4-1/2 in chunks
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt + more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper + more to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  •  goat cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place tomatoes and squash onto a baking sheet and toss with oil, vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, pepper, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, mixing every 10 minutes, until squash is tender.
  4. Remove from oven and toss in walnuts. Cover and set aside to cool slightly while polenta is baking.
  5. Heat oven broiler to high
  6. Cut polenta into 1/2 inch discs and brush both sides with olive oil.
  7. Place discs on a greased baking sheet and broil for 7-10 minutes or until slightly browned.
  8. Remove from oven and spread with goat cheese. Top with bruschetta mixture and garnish with more chopped herbs and walnuts, if desired.
  9. Enjoy immediately!

Is your mouth watering yet? Not only are these things delish but I also think they are kind gorgeous to look at with all those rich colors and will make your Thanksgiving table look even better!

I am obsessed with the combination of flavors and textures in this recipe. The sweetness of the tomatoes mixed with nuttiness of the squash with the tangy cheese and, of course, the delicious corn taste are all so good together! Add a little crunch with the walnuts and the lovely flavors of the herbs and it’s all just a warm, yummy little hug for your guests to enjoy. Everyone will eat these and forget that turkey is even on the menu. Who needs it when you have this deliciousness!?

Using Ancient Harvest Heat-and-Eat Polenta in this recipe made things so easy since all you have to do is cut and bake, and your guests will be wowed. However, I’ll understand if you don’t want to tell them it was easy and make them think you slaved over the stuff for hours. Your secret is safe here!

What fun recipes are on your Thanksgiving menu? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Happy making!
ox. Liz

Check out these other delicious appetizer recipes!

Blood Orange and Goat Cheese Crostini

Fruit, Feta, and Balsamic-Topped Crackers

Joe-Boy Hot Salsa

Homemade Soft Pretzels with Three Cheese Dip


Looking for more Thanksgiving food inspiration? Check out these recipes from some of our talented friends!

Green Fluff Side Dish – Sugar Bee Crafts
Best Thanksgiving Stuffing – Play Party Plan
Wild Rice Stuffing – Suburban Wife City Life
Roasted Carrots with Thyme – That’s What Che Said
Roasted Butternut Squash – The Ruffled Daisy
Sweet Hawaiian Bread Simple Stuffing – Made in a Day
Green Beans with Bacon – Rachel Teodoro
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon Maple Syrup – Julie Measures
Make Ahead Sweet Potato Casserole – It Happens in a Blink
Butter Pecan Sweet Potato Recipe – Liz on Call