Recipe developed by Vicki Shanta of

The Mediterranean diet is a well-known heart-healthy way to eat.  It is loaded with protein, fiber, spices and whole food.  These polenta cups are great for a home-cooked dinner or as a side item on the road.  They are seasoned and flavored with a variety of herbs and spices instead of salt, making them a heart-healthy choice for you and your blood pressure.


  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup polenta cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup shredded pistachios, lightly salted
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
  • cooking spray 


  1. Mist a 12-muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Bring water to boil in a medium stockpot over high heat. Add polenta and remove from heat. Stir constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes. 
  3. In a food processor, pulse pistachios until finely chopped. Add basil and pulse, then add oil, parmesan and garlic. Continue pulsing until blended, about 45 seconds. 
  4. Stir half of the pesto mixture into the polenta. Spoon the pesto-polenta mixture into muffin tin compartments, filling each halfway. Cover and refrigerate until polenta has set, at least 2 hours or overnight. 
  5. Turn on oven broiler. Remove polenta from the refrigerator, gently remove each polenta cup and place on a cookie sheet lined with silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Top each polenta cup with 2 tablespoons each of the olives and peppers and 1 tablespoon of the remaining pesto. Place under broiler for 1-2 minutes, until polenta is lightly browned and pesto bubbles. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
  6. Freeze leftover polenta cups in an airtight container. To reheat, place polenta cups in the refrigerator for two hours to thaw or microwave for 45-60 seconds. 

Nutrition Facts (Makes 6 servings) Per Serving: 

Calories: 198 | Fat: 11 g | Protein: 5 g | Carbohydrates: 20 g | Fiber: 3 g

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