Skillet Polenta in Creamy Tomato Sauce


A few pantry staples come together for an easy one-pan vegetarian meal.  

Skillet Polenta in Tomato Sauce
Photo: Caitlin Bensel
Hands On Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
35 mins

This is the one-skillet meal to make when you're craving something easy and cozy. Pantry staples like cooked polenta, canned tomatoes, and white beans make a nourishing and satisfying dish (that's mighty pretty, too!). Start by bursting whole peeled tomatoes with your hands, submerged in their juices to avoid any messy splatters. Then simmer the tomatoes with oregano-scented onions to make a flavorful sauce before adding the white beans. Finally, nestle tender slices of polenta into the sauce before popping it under the broiler to develop a deliciously crispy top. Pro tip: Mash some of the beans for a creamier sauce without any cream.


  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1½ cups)

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1 15.5-oz. can navy beans or great northern beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 18-oz. tube plain polenta, cut into ½-in.-thick slices

  • finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and flaky sea salt, for serving


  1. Place tomatoes with their juices in a large bowl and crush with your hands. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large broiler-safe skillet over medium-high. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add oregano and ½ teaspoon kosher salt; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes; simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

  2. Add beans, 1 cup water, and remaining ½ teaspoon kosher salt to skillet. Simmer, stirring and mashing about half of beans, until sauce thickens slightly, 6 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat broiler with oven rack 6 inches from heat.

  3. Nestle polenta slices into sauce, overlapping slightly. Brush polenta with 1 tablespoon oil. Transfer skillet to oven; broil until bubbling and browned in spots, 4 to 6 minutes. Top with finely chopped parsley and flaky sea salt. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil.

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