Crusted polenta tart with pesto, courgette & gruyère

Crusted polenta tart with pesto, courgette & gruyère

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(10 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 1 hr, 15 mins


Serves 4

A gluten-free polenta base makes this cheesy tart much lower in fat than traditional pastry – delicious served hot or cold

Nutrition and extra info

  • Gluten-free
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal322
  • fat16g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs30g
  • sugars3g
  • fibre3g
  • protein12g
  • salt1.1g
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    For the polenta crust

    • 500ml hot, gluten-free vegetable stock
    • 140g fine polenta



      An Italian storecupboard staple, polenta has its roots in the peasant cuisine of northern Italy…

    • 50g gruyère, finely grated



      Gruyère is an undoubted pinnacle of traditional Swiss cheese-making, a culinary masterpiece as…

    • 1 medium egg, lightly beaten



      The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

    For the topping

    • 1 tbsp olive oil
      olive oil

      Olive oil

      ol-iv oyl

      Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

    • 3 tbsp fresh pesto (from a jar is fine too)



      Pesto is a generic Italian name for any sauce made by pounding ingredients together.


    • 3 small courgettes, thinly sliced into rounds



      The courgette is a variety of cucurbit, which means it's from the same family as cucumber,…

    • 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
    • ½ small pack basil, leaves only



      Most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking but also very prevalent in Asian food, the…

    • 25g gruyère, finely grated



      Gruyère is an undoubted pinnacle of traditional Swiss cheese-making, a culinary masterpiece as…


    1. First, make the polenta crust. Bring the vegetable stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan and, working quickly, pour the polenta into the pan. Keep your pan over a low heat and, using a wooden spoon, stir constantly, beating any lumps that form. Continue stirring for 5-6 mins until the polenta is very thick.

    2. Remove the pan from the heat, add the Gruyère and stir until the cheese has melted. Finally, stir through the beaten egg, season generously, and allow to cool slightly.

    3. Lightly brush a baking sheet with oil. Tip the polenta into the centre and, using a spatula or oiled fingers, gently spread the polenta into a rectangle shape roughly the size of an A4 sheet of paper.

    4. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Smother a thin layer of pesto over the polenta, leaving a 1-1.5cm border around the edge of the tart. Top the pesto with slices of courgette, intermittently adding the sliced garlic and most of the basil. Season with ground black pepper and a good sprinkling of gruyère.

    5. Cook on the middle shelf of the oven for 45 mins. Reduce the temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 for a further 15 mins. Remove and allow to cool for 5-10 mins, scatter over the remaining basil and serve.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    7th Nov, 2017
    Too many courgettes! I was using up the last part of a packet of polenta and only needed to serve two people, so I made this recipe with around a half to two-thirds of the quantities recommended for the base. Based on the recipe I’d bought two courgettes for the topping but only needed half of one courgette to cover my base. I’m struggling therefore to see how three courgettes might be needed for a full size tart, even if, as per the recipe, they are ‘small’! After about 50 minutes in the oven the tart was a good colour so it didn’t quite get the full cooking time either, but I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome which was light but full of flavour and texture. It went well with a rocket and tomato salad to provide contrasting sweetness and moisture. I would make it again although not that often as an hour is a long time to wait for dinner!
    15th Jan, 2017
    Really nice dish and impreesive looking - very clever. Perfect for vegetarians and gluten intolerance. Could even be cut up into small pieces with drinks
    Minoo's picture
    9th Jul, 2016
    We were not so impressed by this, it unfortunately didn't taste that interesting and the Gruyere didn't come through very much.
    3rd Sep, 2015
    Very nice, easy recipe, I made a simpler version with standard grated cheese and 1 large courgette. Took it out of the oven a bit earlier, because it was golden after 50 minutes. Delicious! I should add that it wouldn't have been full meal for the 4 of us. We are reasonably big eaters, but next time I will make a big salad with it. (this time I made rice)
    14th Aug, 2015
    This was easy and quick to make (though not quick to cook!). I used strong cheddar instead of gruyere, and red pesto. I left out the egg and added the basil leaves after cooking. It was very tasty and satisfying with nice crispy edges.
    16th Aug, 2015
    Can you substitute the Gruyere for Parmesan?
    3rd Sep, 2015
    Yes, any cheese would do!
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