Sassy Squash and Polenta Appetizer with Green Salsa

A simple delicious gluten-free and vegan-adaptable recipe that is aromatic and elegant. Crispy polenta topped with spinach, sautéed squash, tomatoes, green salsa and yogurt. For the vegan version, use non-dairy yogurt or cashew cream.

I call this dish sassy because it’s got a big personality! Simple ingredients can go a long way when utilized to the best of their abilities.

Is polenta gluten-free?

The answer is yes. It is made entirely from corn which does not contain gluten. Gluten is found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye, so this is a great option in lieu of bread-based appetizers.

Sassy seasoned squash on polenta with green salsa

A simple delicious gluten-free and vegan-adaptable recipe that is very aromatic and elegant. It features crispy polenta topped with spinach, sautéed squash with cumin, tomatoes, green salsa and greek yogurt.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Servings: 4 portions


Seasoned Squash:

  • 1 small delicata squash. peeled
  • 500 grams cooked polenta buy pre-cooked polenta or precook homemade polenta and set it in a baking dish
  • 1/2 cup onions diced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Other ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 2/3 cup green salsa store-bought or homemade
  • handful fresh cilantro washes and chopped
  • 2/3 cup green yogurt or unsweetened vegan yogurt or cashew cheese spread
  • handful of cherry tomatoes halved (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 400F (200C)
  • Unwrap pre-cooked or store-bought polenta*, cut into square slabs (2 inches x 2 inches and 1/2 inch thick). The shape and size is not that important, just ensure they are not thinner than 1/2 inch so they are not too flimsy. If you are working with homemade polenta set it to be 1/2 and inch thick and cut into 2 inches by 2 inches squares.
  • Grease a large cast-iron skillet or baking sheet with a generous amount of olive oil. I recommend a cast-iron skillet because the heat distributes more evenly, allowing polenta to become crunchy on the outside.
  • Roast polenta for 20 - 30 minutes, checking frequently: roasting varies greatly from one oven to another.
  • While polenta is roasting, peel delicata squash, cut in half, clean out seeds, and cut into half-inch cubes.
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet to medium-hot, add cumin, toast for about 1 minute then add onions. Sauté onions for around 2 minutes or until they start to brown. Add in cubed delicata squash, salt and sauté until just tender, remove from heat.


  • Divide your roasted polenta into four equal portions – there will be about 2 - 3 pieces per plate.
  • Divide the remaining ingredients among the four plates. Starting with fresh baby spinach, followed by roasted squash, followed by green salsa, tomatoes, yogurt, and cilantro.


*Usually store-bought polenta comes in a cylinder: lay cylinder on its side, cut lengthwise into three equal parts and cut those into three.


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