Polenta Caprese Stackers

by Dorothy Reinhold on August 27, 2020

Print This Post Print This Post Polenta Caprese Stackers is a creative twist on a classic caprese salad, with cornmeal polenta adding a chewy layer as a counterpoint to the juicy tomato, creamy mozzarella and herbal basil.

Polenta Caprese Stackers is a creative twist on a classic caprese salad, with cornmeal polenta adding a chewy layer as a counterpoint to the juicy tomato, creamy mozzarella and herbal basil. 

A caprese salad is a wondrous salad of summer — a traditional Italian appetizer made from the ripest, juiciest tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil leaves. A caprese is a naturally stunning salad, and is most often arrayed on a serving platter, the ovals overlapping. What if, I wondered, we stacked it so each person was served a stack, and we inserted a grilled polenta layer for a little bit more chew and interest?

It turns out that’s a wonderful idea, or at least we thought so! I serves these as dinner the other night, with a cup of tomato soup alongside.

How to make Polenta Caprese Stackers

Ingredients for Polenta Caprese StackersAssemble your ingredients. In this case, a few select ingredients are going to add up to a lot of flavor.

Dribble olive oil on the panini pressGrill the polenta. First, dribble a little olive oil on the panini press. This will help the polenta get a crispy exterior.

Polenta grilled on the panini pressThen add the polenta slices and cook until slightly browned and crisped. For ease, I am using prepared polenta in a tube, although you could certainly make your own polenta and after it cooled, cut it into the size and shape you wanted. I have an Oven Polenta Recipe you might like to try for this purpose. But today, I’m using Hatch Chile flavored polenta in a tube, sold by Melissa’s Produce and found in the produce section of the supermarket. The Hatch chiles really give this a teeny kick, and a lot of flavor.

Sliced heirloom tomatoesSlice the tomatoes thickly.

Slice the mozzarella thicklySlice the cheese thickly.

Tomato slices on a white platterPlace tomatoes on a platter (or individual plates if you prefer to plate them).

Layer the mozzarella on top of the polentaTop with cooked polenta slices. If the tomato slice is particularly large, you may want to use more than 1 polenta slice and puzzle-piece it. Top with a slice of cheese.

Polenta Caprese Stackers recipeFinish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

Polenta Caprese Stackers easy recipe on ShockinglyDelicious.comTuck some basil around it, or tear off the leaves and sprinkle top with leaves, your choice.

Shall we make Polenta Caprese Stackers? I guarantee it will be the easiest, most delicious meal you’ve made this summer.

Polenta Caprese Stackers

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-8, depending on what course it is used for.

Polenta Caprese Stackers

Polenta Caprese Stackers is a creative twist on a classic caprese salad, with cornmeal polenta adding a chewy layer as a counterpoint to the juicy tomato, creamy mozzarella and herbal basil. 


  • 1 (1-pound) tube of prepared polenta (I used Melissa's Produce Hatch Chile flavor)
  • 3 heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 (12-ounce) package fresh mozzarella
  • Basil leaves
  • Balsamic vinegar glaze


  1. Grill polenta: Heat a panini grill, remove polenta from plastic tube and slice polenta into thick slices (maybe 8-10 slices or so). Dribble a little bit of olive oil onto the griddle, and add polenta to the hot griddle in one layer. Close lid and cook until slightly browned and starting to crisp, about 5-10 minutes. Or you may cook the polenta slices in a skillet if you like, flipping to get them browned on each side.
  2. While polenta is grilling, slice the tomatoes into thick slices and set aside. I like to let them rest on a paper towel, which will absorb some of the moisture. Arrange tomatoes on a platter or individual plates. Meanwhile, slice the cheese into thick slices as well, and set it aside.
  3. When polenta slices are done, place a slice of polenta on top of each tomato slice, top with a slice of cheese, and then a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Toss basil leaves on top, and you're done!
  4. Serve one stack as an appetizer, or 2-3 stacks per person if you are eating it as a main dish for lunch or dinner.
  5. Serves 4-8, depending on which course it is.


Recipe source: Dorothy Reinhold | Shockingly Delicious


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Polenta Caprese Stackers for summer photo collage

Progressive Eats

Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is Summer and Fall Salads, and our host is Jane who blogs at The Heritage Cook.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats it’s a virtual party. A theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. Come along and see all of the delicious and inspired dishes!

Summer and Fall Salads

Would you like to try other caprese ideas? 

Pesto Caprese French Bread Pizza on a white surfacePesto Caprese French Bread Pizza

4-Ingredient Caprese Stuffed Peppers on a green plateCaprese Stuffed Peppers

California Caprese Salad on a white plate with olive oil surrounding itCalifornia Caprese Salad

Heirloom Caprese Salad on a white platterTraditional Heirloom Caprese Salad

Caprese Grain Salad in a white bowl on a striped tea towelCaprese Grain Salad Bowl

Mango Caprese Salad in a white oval bowl Summer Mango Caprese Salad with Truffle Salt

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

susan | the wimpy vegetarian September 20, 2020 at 10:09 am

I actually have some polenta in the refrigerator that I made earlier this week and could use that! And I have more tomatoes ripening in my deck “garden”. So I’m all set to make this. It’s the perfect lunch for me!


Dorothy Reinhold September 20, 2020 at 10:08 pm

I am eating it frequently for lunch, before the tomatoes give up for the season.


Coleen @ The Redhead Baker September 13, 2020 at 7:54 pm

These look delicious! I never thought to use polenta that way! I must try these before this year’s tomato season ends.


Sarah Walker Caron August 31, 2020 at 3:54 am

I love the contrast of the warm, crisp-chewy polenta against the cool, juicy tomatoes and creamy cheese. Sounds wonderful! And those tomatoes are just PERFECT.


Suzy August 30, 2020 at 9:13 pm

Grilled polenta is the best but we really loved the addition of the cheese and tomatoes! So good!


Kevin August 28, 2020 at 12:17 pm

These look like a great snack options! Going to get everything to make it this weekend!


Karen August 28, 2020 at 8:31 am

These are super cute! I’ve never tried the premade polenta and I love what you did with it in the panini press.


Dorothy Reinhold August 30, 2020 at 8:45 am

I’m a new fan of the premade polenta! By the time I think of polenta, it is usually too late to make it for that dinner, so having this in the pantry is a huge help!


Toni Dash August 28, 2020 at 7:36 am

I really love this idea! Such an amazing appetizer!


Beth August 28, 2020 at 7:03 am

This looks so delicious and tasty! I can’t wait to give this a try! My husband is going to love this!


Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert August 27, 2020 at 6:17 pm

These Polenta Caprese Stackers are mouth watering!


Amanda August 27, 2020 at 3:29 pm

This looks so tasty I cannot wait to try it out!


Sara Welch August 27, 2020 at 2:50 pm

Such a perfect and flavorful salad! Looks worthy of a restaurant, indeed


Jane August 27, 2020 at 2:42 pm

What a wonderful twist on the classic Dorothy! I love the addition of the polenta, especially Hatch chile flavored from Melissa’s!! They are beautiful and I would happily eat stack after stack, LOL.


Dorothy Reinhold August 28, 2020 at 6:53 am

I’m sure if you had this at a restaurant, they would bring you one on a plate, as an appetizer. We have decided that 2-4 on a plate is a meal!


Liz August 27, 2020 at 10:34 am

These are PERFECT for all the green tomatoes in the garden that will be ripe soon! Absolutely delicious idea and so easy!


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