Hi. Hello. Let's eat pickles and tomatoes together and pretend it's not almost October. Sound good? Even though I'm not ready to move past summer tomatoes, I can't lie to myself any more. It's really fall. It's time to create a new favorite 'salad' that we can obsess over for the next few weeks. My ultimate favorite kind of meal (salad + bread + cheese + whatever I have in the fridge) like this panzanella recipe from earlier in the summer, needs to become autumnal... which is exactly what happens in this Southern Veggie Polenta Toast Salad. There's baby swiss chard. There's pickled okra. We've got corn. We've got feta. And I should also mention it's naturally gluten free thanks to the polenta toast. Before I hear grumblings from the carnivorous audience, let me tell you that you'll love the dressing which contains a smoky secret ingredient. It's delightful. 

Southern Veggie Polenta Toast Salad
Southern Veggie Polenta Toast Salad

Southern Veggie Polenta Toast Salad

/// Ingredients per Plate ///

  • 3 pickled okra, chopped 
  • 1/4 c roasted corn kernels
  • 3 Polenta Toasts
  • 1 rounded Tbsp feta cheese
  • 1 small tomato, rough chopped
  • 1/4 th of a small red pepper, diced
  • a few slices of jalapeño
  • 1/8 of a small red onion, sliced
  • 1 pickled garlic clove, slivered
  • small handful of mixed salad greens (these are baby swiss chard and spinach) 
  • 3 drops liquid smoke
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 basil leaves
  • salt

Polenta Toast

  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/3 cup polenta mix 

/// Directions ///

Polenta toast: Preheat Oven to 350ºF. Whisk together ingredients in bowl. Pour and spread evenly over (pre-oiled) lipped pan- work quickly the mix will start to set up and it is harder to spread evenly. Use a spatula to get every last bit and even by lightly shaking or tapping on the pan on the counter. Bake at 350ºF for approximately 45 min or until firm. Let cool until room temperature. Place in fridge until polenta is completely cooled. Slice into triangles and brush olive oil on top. Place under the broiler to brown and crisp.

Salad: Arrange triangles on a  bed of greens. Whisk liquid smoke, salt, olive oil and chopped basil together. Add chopped ingredients to plate. Drizzle dressing over the top. Optional: add bacon. (Psh...optional. If you have it, add it.)

Southern Veggie Polenta Toast Salad

I feel like I should add an okra virgin disclaimer. If you have never had okra before, know that okra that's cooked or pickled can be slimy. You may fork a piece and see a strand of goo. Push past it. Okra goo is normal. Eat it and hush up (just kidding- but really, it's fine). Okra has magnesium, vitamin A and vitamin C. Do it! Do it! 

This is really the perfect recipe for the week as I'm en route to Nashville TN shortly to speak at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo on personal branding in the Dietetics and Nutrition world. If you want to follow along with my shenanigans, add me on Snapchat (@CarleneRD) or for just the pretty stuff, Instagram @HealthfullyEverAfter. 

Dietitian Nutritionist and cookbook author sharing flavor-forward recipes and simplified science-driven wellness.