Grilled Polenta with Chickpeas, Artichokes & Tomatoes
4.16 from 13 votes

This dish of grilled polenta with chickpeas, artichokes & tomatoes is a hearty and flavorful plant-based dinner idea! It’s easy to make ahead and perfect for grilling season.

An overhead image of two slices of grilled polenta, which rest on a white dinner plate. They're smothered in a tomato sauce and chickpea mixture.

Hey friends! Apologies for the unexpected quiet on Sunday. I wasn’t able to get Weekend Reading up this weekend, but the thoughts and links are tucked away for next time.

I’ve never had that much luck with spontaneous cooking; for better or for worse, I’m not the type of home cook who peeks into the fridge, grabs whatever is on hand, and whips up a spontaneous meal with intuition as my guide. I make better food, and enjoy cooking a lot more, when I have a plan.

Sometimes, though, one of those last minute, use-what-you’ve-got meals does work out. This dish of grilled polenta with chickpeas, artichokes, and tomatoes came together in my head as I was looking through my pantry: I’ve always got canned beans and tomatoes in there, and I’ve pretty much always got cornmeal, too. This week, I happened to have a can of quartered artichokes that I’d planned to put in a salad sometime and never did. From all of that, dinner was born.

I won’t lie: making the grilled polenta here isn’t nearly as quick or easy as making soft polenta, like grits. But the end result is a really pleasant base for vegetable and legume toppings, and you can freeze the rectangles once you’ve gone to the trouble of making them. I made them in my grill pan, and they turned out beautifully.

A saucy mixture of tomatoes, chickpeas, and artichokes is resting on top of cooked cornmeal.

The topping was a happy surprise, a combination I hadn’t really used before but which worked out nicely. The saltiness of the artichokes paired well with the sweetness and acidity of tomatoes, and the chickpeas give the dish texture, as well as a dose of plant protein. I didn’t really add any herbs here—garlic and shallots give plenty of flavor on their own—but oregano, basil, or parsley would all work nicely.

As for finishing the dish, vegan parmesan (like my homemade walnut herb parm, or a store-bought option) is perfect. But I’ve been completely inconsistent in remembering to add it to my leftovers, and the dish is lovely without it, too. Here’s the recipe.

A mixture of beans and artichokes has been cooked in a tomato sauce. It's plated over a whole grain and resting on a white dinner plate.
An overhead image of two slices of grilled polenta, which rest on a white dinner plate. They're smothered in a tomato sauce and chickpea mixture.
4.16 from 13 votes

Grilled Polenta with Chickpeas, Artichokes & Tomatoes

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Cooling time 2 hours
Yields: 6 servings


For the Grilled Polenta

  • 1 1/2 cups polenta (or medium grind cornmeal)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter
  • 2 tablespoons cashew parmesan cheese (substitute nutritional yeast)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Chickpeas, Artichokes & Tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced or minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 28-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 1/2 cups quartered artichoke hearts (1 14.5-ounce can, drained)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • cashew parmesan cheese (optional, for topping)
  • chopped fresh parsley or basil (optional, for topping)


  • To make the polenta, preheat your oven to 350F and lightly grease a 9 x 9 inch square baking dish. Bring the broth or water to a boil, then add the polenta in a thin stream. Reduce the heat to low. Cook the polenta, stirring frequently, for 5-8 minutes, or according to package instructions. (You may wish to wear an oven mitt for stirring, as polenta spatters furiously!) The polenta is ready when it has the consistency of grits or porridge. Stir in the butter and vegan parmesan, if using, then season the polenta to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Pour the polenta into your prepared baking dish and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is set and the polenta is browning at the edges. Let the polenta cool for 2 hours, or allow it to cool completely before refrigerating for up to 2 days.
  • To make the chickpea topping, place the tomatoes into a mixing bowl and use a potato masher to crush them. You can also use a pair of clean kitchen sheers to cut them up into pieces. Set the tomatoes aside.
  • Heat the olive oil (or broth, if substituting) in a large, deep skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, or until the shallots are clear and soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste to the skillet and stir; cook the paste with the garlic and shallots for another minute. Then, stir in the smashed or cut tomatoes. Reduce the heat to low and cook the tomatoes for 5 minutes, or until they've released their juices and thickened up in your pan. Stir in the artichokes and chickpeas, and heat everything through. Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Cut the polenta into 6 rectangles and remove them from the baking dish. Lightly oil a skillet or grill pan and allow it to warm up over medium high heat (if you have a regular, outdoor grill, you can use it, too!). Add the polenta to the grill pan or skillet and either grill or lightly sear the rectangles for 3-4 minutes per side, or the pieces are crisp and golden.
  • To serve, scoop about 3/4 cup of the chickpea mixture over each polenta rectangle. Top with vegan parmesan or fresh herbs, if desired, and serve.
A saucy mixture of beans, vegetables, and tomatoes is piled on top of pieces of grilled polenta. They rest on a white plate on a white surface.

A couple of additional notes on the recipe: first, you don’t have to use whole, peeled tomatoes. You can use diced ones, too. I like the whole ones because I think they’re more flavorful, and because I can leave them in bigger pieces than the canned and diced ones. It feels like a closer approximation of having fresh tomatoes in wintertime, when I haven’t had them in a while. But either whole or diced will work.

Also, you can most definitely whip up beds of soft polenta for the recipe, rather than the grilled rectangles. I just made the chickpea topping again, and now I’ve tried it over soft polenta, pasta, and toast. All good.

No matter how you serve it, I hope you’ll enjoy this flavorful and hearty meal. And I’ll be back soon, for real this time, for some weekend sharing 🙂


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Categories: Recipes, Main Dishes
Method: Oven, Stovetop
Ingredients: Chickpeas
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Meal Prep

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    Gena, this was AMAZING! Instead of tomato paste I doubled the tomatoes and cooked it down until it thickened. Also added some kalamata olives and a few capers. Omitted the salt. This was hearty, filling, rich and satisfying. We all loved it!! Thanks so much for sharing your recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious.
    I had TJ polenta so I used that to speed up the process as short on time.
    I added a balsamic glaze which gave it some depth.

  3. WIll it work to bake the polenta but skip the grilling step? That is, is the polenta sufficiently cooked after the baking step?

    • Hi Beth! Yes, it is sufficiently cooked. It’ll still hold together for you—the grilling is just nice for a crispy exterior texture.