Polenta Tomato Tart with White Bean Spread
4.59 from 12 votes

This polenta tomato tart with garlicky white bean spread and roasted cherry tomatoes looks fancy, but it’s simple to prepare—and delicious! A perfect summer appetizer.

An angled image of a polenta and cherry tomato tart, which is topped with a white bean spread.

I’m so excited to share the recipe for this polenta tart with garlicky white bean spread and roasted cherry tomatoes, which Steven and I gobbled up last night! For the record, Steven isn’t a great fan of tomatoes, so I wasn’t sure how it would go over, but it seems that roasting the cherry tomatoes was all it took to win him over. Roasted tomatoes are a favorite of mine, too–and this is my first time making them this summer.

We both loved the dense polenta crust in the recipe, the silky smooth white bean topping, and all of the summery flavors.

An overhead image of a tomato and polenta tart, which rests on a round, white plate.

Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while knows that it took me a long time to warm up to garlic in my cooking. This is partly because my mother is not a fan of alliums, and I rarely ever had them growing up. They’ve remained a somewhat foreign flavor to me until the last few years, when more and more culinary exploration and education has helped me to embrace them! One of the easiest ways to love garlic in any recipe is to roast it, which brings out all of its natural sweetness and mellows its flavor somewhat. Roasted garlic is delicious in hummus and in other spreads. In this recipe, I’m pairing it with creamy white beans, lemon, and thyme.

The tart–which Steven called a pizza, and I think it could qualify as a non-traditional version of such–is a perfect option for a casual lunch or dinner or for cutting into thin slices and serving as an appetizer. It’s suitable for gluten free folks, and it’s a great canvas for other vegetable ideas. I think roasted red bell peppers or zucchini would be lovely, too.

A wide-rimmed, round white plate is holding a summer appetizer with fresh tomatoes. It rests on a white surface.

To streamline the process for the recipe, I’d recommend making the white bean dip a day in advance. The cherry tomatoes and crust can both be made in advance, too — it’s really just a matter of your schedule and what you’d like to prep first. If you do make the polenta ahead of time, cover it tightly before storing in the fridge.

A vegan appetizer with cornmeal and summer produce rests on a small, round white plate.
An angled image of a polenta and cherry tomato tart, which is topped with a white bean spread.
4.59 from 12 votes

Polenta Tomato Tart with White Bean Spread

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yields: 6 servings


For the Garlicky White Bean Spread:

  • 1 head garlic, top sliced off crosswise to expose the cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini or Great northern beans (240g, or one 15-oz /425g can, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (substitute 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup water

For the Polenta Crust:

  • 1 cup polenta or medium-grind cornmeal
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or as needed)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • Black pepper to taste

For the Roasted Cherry Tomatoes:

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  • To prepare the white bean dip, preheat your oven to 400F. Drizzle the olive oil over the garlic head. Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast the garlic for 35-40 minutes, or until its all soft and golden. Place the white beans, lemon juice, tahini, salt, thyme, and pepper to taste in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S blade. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the garlic head, into the bean mixture (all of it!). Pulse the ingredients a few times to combine. With the motor of the processor running, drizzle in the water. Continue processing until the white bean spread is very smooth. Check the seasoning and adjust seasonings to taste.
  • Lower the oven to 375F and lightly oil or spray a 9" springform pan (alternately, you can use a 9" tart shell). Bring the broth or water for the polenta to boil in a medium pot. When the liquid boils, pour in the polenta or cornmeal in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue stirring the mixture frequently, until it starts to thicken and bubble (about 15-20 minutes, but it could be more or less). It'll spatter angrily, so watch your hands! When the polenta mixture is very thick and pulling away from the edges of the pot, stir in the salt, nutritional yeast, and pepper. Pour the polenta into the pan or tart shell and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Transfer it to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until it's golden brown on top and pulling away from the baking dish. Allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes.
  • While you wait for the polenta cooking liquid to boil, half the cherry tomatoes and toss them in the olive oil. Transfer them to a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. Nestle the garlic cloves between the tomatoes. Sprinkle the tomatoes with a dash of salt and pepper, as well as the rosemary. You can transfer the tomatoes to the 375F oven at the same time as the polenta crust. Bake them for 30 minutes, or until they’re caramelized and crisping at the edges.
  • When all of the components are ready, spread the polenta crust with about 1 heaping cup of the white bean spread (an inverted spatula makes this easy work). Arrange the tomatoes on top, transferring over some of the crispy rosemary leaves. Cut the tart into wedges, and serve. Tart leftovers will keep for up to three days in an airtight container in the fridge. Any leftover white bean spread will also keep for 3-4 days, and can be used as an alternative to hummus.
A triangular slice of a vegan tart is resting on a round white plate, with the entire tart visible in the background against a white surface.

To serve, I’d pair the tart with a salad and a nice, summery soup. If you have a few leftover tomatoes after you make the tart, you can pile them into said salad or soup, as they’re too sweet and delicious to pass up.

I hope everyone is having a nice start to the week. I’ll be back soon with another summery dish!


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Categories: Recipes, Main Dishes, Side Dishes
Method: Oven, Stovetop
Ingredients: Tomatoes, White beans
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Holidays

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Recipe Rating

  1. This looks so delicious! How many does this serve? Is it full pizza size or personal pan pizza size? I want to make this for a party and am not sure if I need to double the recipe. Thanks.

    • Hi Aileen!

      It makes a 9-inch (in diameter) round tart, which would be most comparable to a personal pan pizza size. For an hors d’oeuvres, you could cut it into smaller slices, and for an appetizer or part of a main course, I’d guess that it makes 8 servings total. Hope this helps!


      • Thanks so much for the quick reply. I’m going to double the revipe to serve a family. It looks delicious!

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve made this twice now and it is DELICIOUS! First time I made it in the original tart form. Second time I used mini muffin tins to make little individual bites for a party. Each occasion I served it to my non-vegan friends and it was devoured with high praise.

  3. 5 stars
    I made this tart this morning, thumbs up 100%….

    Absolutely beautiful…thanks so much for a wonderful recipe…

    Merry Christmas…

    Nuffy… xx

  4. I am thinking of serving this as an appetizer for Christmas. Any suggestions for an alternative to toasted cherry tomatoes, since they are out of season and might not be as delicious? Or maybe use marinated tomatoes? Thanks!

    • Hi Dana,

      I bet roasted cauliflower or red onions would be delicious! You could also use sun-dried tomatoes for sure.


  5. I made this for Valentine’s Day, and the tart was perfect! I made no adjustments to the recipe (except to cook the polenta in the microwave), just followed along, and the journey was fun. I’m not an avid cook, but I’m mindful of what I eat, always looking for interesting and tasty things to cook. This was FABULOUS!. My husband (a meat eater) loved it and ate 2 healthy portions. This recipe will serve company very nicely.

  6. It sounds like you served this dish at room temperature since everything is as smiled post-bake, is this accurate? Thank you!

    • Hi Sab,

      Yes, I served it at room temperature, but I think it would be fine if it were slightly warm.


  7. This sounds really nice. I would like to try it but use single portion quiche forms. Thinking to get 4 out of the recipe. Do you think I could freeze 2 of them with our without the tomatoes? If so making half size tomatoes when making 2?

    • Hi Pia,

      Yes, I’d cut the tomatoes in half and freeze two without them or the white bean dip. Enjoy!


  8. Gena. Thank you for this beautiful recipe! I made it tonight with a few alterations and we loved it. I topped mine with half roasted tomatoes and half caramelized onions and sprinkled it with chopped kalamatas and arugula. Served with zucchini noodles with garlic scape pesto. Flavour- bomb central. My boyfriend and I stuffed ourselves silly. Thank you!

  9. I am going to make this over the weekend,was looking for something different and healthy! I have done the tomatoes in the microwave in a pinch…not as good as in the oven,but needed them in a hurry….

  10. What a lovely summery dish – I adore roasted garlic – soooo good, in fact I love all these ingredients! I’m already harvesting courgettes (zuchini) from the garden, the garlic bulbs won’t be long, and the tomatoes are swelling in the greenhouse so soon I’ll be able to make it with mostly own grown goodies:) Well done!

  11. That polenta pizza looks amazing, Gena! I can already smell that fragrant roasted cherry tomatoes and garlic! And the thought that you can also use other veggies is pretty exciting – I’m also thinking peppers or zucchini 🙂

  12. i love roasted garlic! whenever we have the oven or grill up high, we roast a head or so of garlic! i love it, it’s great to add to a bunch of dishes, and you dont have to crank up the oven just for a little thing. (if i do, i use the toaster oven)

  13. This is most definitely “Emma food”! I actually made a batch of roasted cherry tomatoes this week (also with rosemary & garlic!). I just tossed them through some pesto quinoa & chickpeas but this polenta tart looks miles better.

  14. Presentation and the photos are beautiful. I love the idea of a polenta pizza, and can’t go past white bean dip… Yummy.

  15. Simply gorgeous, Gena. I haven’t had polenta in a long time but this makes me want to get some. I have some grits from Trader Joe’s and wonder whether it could work, too, but not sure.. it might be more soupy. 😛

  16. What a beautiful celebration of summer’s bounty! The roasted tomatoes, the roasted garlic, the fresh herbs, the white beans, the nooch – and such a delightful presentation – could not be more appetizing. And, I’m w/Steven on raw vs. roasted tomatoes – incomparable! I love your idea re. adding roasted zuchinni too. Now, if I can just get over the intimidation I feel at the the idea of baking a crust of any sort…

  17. Wow, Gena! This looks absolutely amazing!! I haven’t had polenta in a long time, but this recipe seems like a great reason to reintroduce it to my kitchen 🙂 Thank you for another creative and gorgeous recipe! So psyched for this one

  18. This recipe is so creative and beautifully photographed. White beans, rosemary, tomatoes, and polenta are a perfect match. I’ve got all the ingredients on hand, so I’m definitely going to make this for dinner tonight. Thank you, Gena!

  19. This looks SO good, Gena! Nothing screams summer more than tomato and herbs. What a fun fall/ summer transtiion dish,
    too, as the months grow chillier and shorter.

    I’m wondering if chickpea flour would work in place of cornmeal? Maybe not, since you have to add quite a bit of liquid with CF? Just curious on your thoughts.

    • Thanks so much, Emilia!

      I think you could definitely do chickpea flour, but I am a little nervous about suggesting quite the same ratios, only since I haven’t tested it. I’d use my Food52 socca recipe as a base, and keep everything else the same. If I test a chickpea flour base for it, I’ll circle back!


  20. Gena, this is absolutely beautiful and also looks delicious!! I am a big fan of polenta “pizza” and I will definitely try this out (or maybe my daughter-in-law and I will try it out together–they are going to have lots of tomatoes in their garden this summer, and also lots of delicious zucchini is already getting harvested). I love the idea of nestling whole unpeeled garlic cloves amidst the cherry tomatoes while roasting and also love how generous you are with the fresh rosemary. While there are many parts to this, it doesn’t seem difficult at all. Thank you so much!! Yum, yum. 🙂 xoxo

    • Maria,

      It’s a lot of steps for sure, but I didn’t find it to be a stressful recipe at all. And it got me excited for more variations of polenta pizza — good to know you’re a fan!