goat cheese grits with roasted cherry tomatoes
goat cheese grits with roasted cherry tomatoes

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Goat Cheese Grits

5/5
You can make an elegant meal using polenta, a pantry staple, by simply adding goat cheese and topping with roasted vegetables. Here, I've used cherry tomatoes and balsamic vinegar to create some little pops of flavor.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes
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Recipe Rundown

If you have an abundance of cherry tomatoes, they make an excellent topping for goat cheese grits, especially when roasted with a drizzle of olive oil. Tomato confit, if you will.

roasted cherry tomato sauce served over goat cheese polenta with spinach

This dinner comes together in just under an hour and stands on its own merits as a wonderful vegetarian summer meal.

Speaking of tomato confit, I’m excited to share this technique today because I have a few tricks up my sleeve that should give you RESULTS. Let’s dive in!

grits served with roasted cherry tomato sauce and greens

A few things I’ve learned when working with cherry tomatoes:

  • Spread them out. When roasting tomatoes, you’ll be tempted to fit them all on the tray, but if you can give them some space, they get less steamed and more delicious caramelization.
  • Salt and sugar. Cherry tomatoes really benefit from a pinch of salt and sugar when roasting. The salt draws out moisture, concentrating flavors, and the sugar helps the natural sugars caramelize even more. I especially like using maple sugar or coconut sugar.
  • Time, usually more is better. This is one of those situations where a recipe can give you a time, but you should ultimately use your eyes to determine doneness. Better yet, pop a tomato in your mouth and see if you’d like them to go a little longer. They should be savory and sweet and loaded with flavor when they’re close to done, not to mention a bit shriveled looking (see pictures).
cherry tomatoes on a roasting sheet pan tray

One thing that I’d also like to draw your attention to is the use of acid, in this case, balsamic vinegar. Acid releases all the caramelized bits off the tray and gives you a really concentrated sauce. It’s a great vinegar to use with tomatoes, too, because the acidity and sweetness compliment each other (you’ll know this combination from the Caprese).

P.S. This One-Pan Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes and Torn Basil is another weeknight staple.

P.S.S. Also, wanted to share this roasted Roma tomato sauce in case you want to try it with cherry tomatoes.

How to Make Cherry Tomato Sauce with Creamy Grits

There are 3 straightforward steps involved in this simple recipe:

You (1) roast the cherry tomatoes on a sheet tray in the oven and while that’s happening, you (2) sauté the greens in a skillet and then (3) simmer the grits. I’ll show you each step below, but first, let’s gather the ingredients.

goat cheese, salt, olive oil, cherry tomatoes, grits, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and thyme

Ingredients:

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes:

  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 sprigs thyme, destemmed
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Greens:

  • 3 cups spinach (may substitute kale, collards, mustard greens, arugula or watercress)

Polenta aka “Corn Grits” are available next to the pasta or flour section of your grocery store or online here.

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup corn grits or polenta
  • 4 ounces goat cheese (a great vegan substitute would be 1 tablespoon chickpea miso with 2 teaspoons umeboshi paste)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Step 1: How to Perfectly Roast Cherry Tomatoes

Spread the tomatoes out so that no tomatoes are over-lapping. They need room to release steam. Add that special pinch of salt and sugar to really make these pop.

cherry tomatoes spread on sheet tray with garlic, thyme, and olive oil

Let them roast as long as it takes to get them looking like this (see below). They should be shriveled and somewhat moist on the inside and have great flavor.

cherry tomatoes roasted on a tray with balsamic drizzle

Add the balsamic vinegar and give everything a quick stir to release any sugars stuck to the pan/parchment paper.

Step 2: Basic Wilted Greens

For the greens, you just want to wilt them in a pan. You don’t need any water or oil to wilt greens. Just heat and the occasional stir.

wilted spinach

Step 3: Cooking Polenta aka Corn Grits

For the polenta, you want to stir pretty constantly to prevent it from bubbling over. You can add more liquid if it gets too thick and keep tasting until it’s completely soft and no grittiness remains.

grits in a pot cooked until creamy

You can add goat cheese to taste. It will give it some flavor as well as make it creamy.

polenta in a pot with goat cheese

I like to serve the polenta in it’s softened state (as it sits, it will firm up). You can add water, reheat, and stir to reconstitute the polenta.

goat cheese polenta in a bowl topped with wilted spinach and tomato confit with balsamic glaze

I like to make it a meal with a hearty portion of polenta, topped with wilted greens, and the cherry tomato confit. You can even use extra goat cheese as a garnish, if you wish.

How to Store for Make Ahead Meals

  • You can conveniently cook and store the polenta/grits in a Dutch oven. Polenta keeps for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Simply put a lid on it, let it cool for 20 minutes, and transfer to the refrigerator. To reheat, add water and stir until creamy.
  • Store the wilted greens separately in a sealed container and simply reheat.
  • Tomato confit can be stored in a sealed container, like a jar, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can just slightly warm the tomatoes in some olive oil to serve them later.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Goat Cheese Grits

You can make an elegant meal using polenta, a pantry staple, by simply adding goat cheese and topping with roasted vegetables. Here, I've used cherry tomatoes and balsamic vinegar to create some little pops of flavor.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cherry tomatoes, grits, vegetarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 414kcal
Author: Chef Sara Furcini

Ingredients

Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce:

  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 sprigs thyme destemmed
  • 4 garlic cloves smashed
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Greens:

  • 3 cups spinach

Polenta:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup corn grits aka polenta (not cornmeal)
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  • Roast the cherry tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 375F. Toss the cherry tomatoes with olive oil, sea salt, thyme, and garlic and spread onto a single layer on 2 half sheet trays. Roast for 20 minutes, or until blistered. Remove from the oven and deglaze with balsamic vinegar.
  • Meanwhile, saute the greens. In a large saute pan, add the spinach and cook over medium heat until just wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir and transfer to a serving plate.
  • Make the grits. In the same pan, bring the water to a boil. Add the polenta (corn grits) and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until the polenta has thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the goat cheese and the salt and stir until smooth. Taste and adjust as necessary. Serve the polenta immediately with the tomatoes and the spinach.

Notes

Notes: Polenta has a creamy texture when served hot. As it cools, it hardens. If this happens, you can loosen it by rewarming with additional water while stirring.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 414kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 1554mg | Potassium: 644mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 3086IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 3mg

Photography by Adam Rahman.

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