Cherry Mint Polenta Bruschetta

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This Cherry Mint Polenta Bruschetta is the perfect appetizer or starter to feed a crowd. The tart cherries and salty feta works perfectly on top of the savory polenta rounds.

Cherry Mint Polenta Bruschetta

Good ol’ Father’s Day. I’ve been fortunate enough to always have a wonderful father in my life. We’ve haven’t always agreed on everything and it’s taken him a long time to come around to my creative lifestyle but we’ve found a good grove for ourselves over the years. I’m proud to say I received my wanderlust from him taking us all around the country to National Parks when I was a child and my goofy way of teasing people endlessly with sarcastic lies and jokes.

My mom and dad divorced before I was one but the one thing I’ve come to realize they shared in common (and probably what also ruined their relationship) is their struggle to show intimacy. We were never a touchy feely family growing up and I was taught, through watching them, that the best way to express emotion in any form is to hide it (the good old modest passive-aggressive Midwest mentality).  I still remember the first time I cried over a boy in front of my father. I was sulking on the couch and he came from work and started asking how my day was. When I refused to engage in the conversation, he frustratingly barked “what is wrong with you?” and I burst into tears. He got up and right when I thought he was going to come over and give me a big hug, he walked past the couch I was sitting on and left the room. When he returned a few minutes later, he sat down close to me and goes ‘Want a piece of gum? Will that make you feel better?’ and I remember smiling through tears at how far off from the solution that question was. It was an absurd response to the situation but I know now that was his way of dealing with a crying teenager.

Through the years since I moved out at 18, I’ve noticed him softening more and more. Perhaps it’s because I’m not around as much or maybe I’ve learned to navigate his passive way of saying “I’m proud of you” but the “I love you”s come more frequently and the time spent together cherished more. I wasn’t able to get you on the phone today, Father, but I know that is just because you are out exploring the woods just like we did when I was a kid and knowing you are doing that makes me just as happy as having a quick phone chat with you. <3

__________________

And now let’s quickly talk about this Cherry Mint Polenta Bruschetta. I went to the store the other day with full intentions of picking up some strawberries for a strawberry-bruchetta situation but found these gorgeous cherries gleaming at me instead. I added a touch of honey to them as my cherries were extra tart but you can skip that part if you have sweeter cherries on hand. Enjoy these Cherry Mint Polenta Bruschetta as an afternoon snack or as a starter at your next gathering.

Cherry Mint Polenta Bruschetta recipe below:

Cherry Mint Polenta BruschettaCherry Mint Polenta BruschettaCherry Mint Polenta Bruschetta

Cherry & Mint Polenta Bruschetta
This Cherry & Mint Polenta Bruschetta is the perfect appetizer or starter to feed a crowd. The tart cherries and salty feta works perfectly on top of the savory polenta rounds.
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Servings: 12 rounds
Author: Shelly Westerhausen
Ingredients
  • 1 18 oz round tube of cooked polenta
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt / pepper
  • 1 pound dark cherries (like bing), pitted and sliced in half
  • 2 tsp chopped mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Dash of pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice polenta into 12 even rounds and place in a single layer on baking sheet.
  2. Brush 1 Tbsp olive oil on both sides of the polenta rounds and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for thirty minutes, flipping halway through, or until the ends begin to crisp up. Remove from oven and let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, toss together cherries, mint, and feta.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 Tbsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, and a dash of pepper.
  5. Drizzle over cherry mixture and mix until the mixture is evenly coated.
  6. Divide and top the cherry mixture evenly over the polenta rounds and serve right away.

Other Vegetarian ‘Venture appetizer ideas:

Cherry Mint Polenta Bruschetta

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Comment

7 Comments

  • Janine Hegendorf
    June 20, 2016

    Never tried out Polenta and Cherries together. Such a great combination. I often bake Polenta Pizza with grilled vegetables. Such a great share. Thank you. xoxo Janine

    • Shellywest
      Janine Hegendorf
      June 21, 2016

      Yes! I love topping baked polenta with veggies – it’s such an easy and filling meal!

  • Katrina
    June 20, 2016

    The “polenta as a base” idea is genius! So many yummy flavours in here. I love it!

  • Abby @ Heart of a Baker
    June 20, 2016

    I grabbed a big bag of cherries at the store over the weekend, but was promptly stumped at what to do with them in a savory way. This is just perfect!

  • Considering The Radish
    June 20, 2016

    These look excellent. I’d make them for my dad, but he’d be hesitant to eat cherries where there are usually tomatoes.

    • Shellywest
      Considering The Radish
      June 21, 2016

      Haha understandable – I’ve got to admit that I bet my dad doesn’t even know what polenta is…maybe a silly recipe to dedicate to him.

  • Jessie Snyder | Faring Well
    June 21, 2016

    This is such a sweet sentiment Shelly, I have a similar relationship with my dad and its funny how as I get older our relationship deepens as well – both of us “softening” to the other like you mention here. You are a sweet, sweet girl. And this recipe looks stunning, I’m totally drooling and can only imagine all the drooling to come with your new book (!).

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