Roasted Red Pepper Polenta Bowls with Market Vegetables & Seared Sea Scallops

By Denisse Salinas

Spend a little time in the kitchen making these Roasted Red Pepper Polenta Bowls with Market Vegetables and Seared Sea Scallops, and you'll have the perfect weekend dinner to serve for a date night in or when company calls. The extra effort of mixing pureed roasted pepper into cooked polenta doesn't go unnoticed, and sea scallops are always impressive.

  • Yield: 4 servings

All you need for this recipe and more...


  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, minced
  • Micro greens

For the Polenta:

  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

For the Vegetables:

  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup zucchini or yellow squash, any variety sliced
  • 2 Japanese eggplants, sliced
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, sliced
  • 1 ear corn roasted, cut off the cob
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the Scallops:

  • 12 sea scallops
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or other high-heat cooking oil


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring vegetable broth to a boil over medium heat. Gradually add polenta and salt and lower heat to a simmer, whisking to avoid clumps. Simmer until polenta is cooked, about 15-20 minutes, stirring often. When polenta is cooked, remove from heat and stir in butter and milk. Cover and set aside or keep on low heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Roast the bell pepper under an oven broiler or an open flame until blackened and charred in spots), turning often. Remove from heat and place in a covered bowl or ziploc bag to steam for about 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and remove the seeds. Chop coarsely and add to a food processor, pureeing until somewhat smooth. Add pureed pepper and balsamic vinegar to the polenta and stir to combine
  3. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add squash, eggplant and snap peas and saute until browned, about 5-7 minutes. For more even browning, add vegetables in batches and add more olive oil as needed, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. If cooking in batches, add all vegetables back to the pan when cooked. Add tomatoes and corn and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Season vegetables with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Cover to keep warm.
  4. Add oil to a skillet and heat over high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Pat sea scallops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Carefully add scallops to the hot pan and cook, without moving, until a brown crust has formed, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Using tongs, carefully flip and cook for another minute or so on the other side. Do this in batches depending on the size of your skillet to avoid overcrowding
  5. Divide polenta evenly into bowls. Top each bowl with the vegetable mixture and three sea scallops. Garnish with fresh basil and micro greens.