Mediterranean Pepper and Squash Hash with Creamy Polenta

  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes 8 cups hash + 3 cups polenta
  • Print/save recipe

Every bite of this Mediterranean medley is packed full of succulent produce and savory flavors that transport you straight to the Italian coast. Each serving starts with a base of creamy polenta that’s drizzled in a tangy roasted red pepper and balsamic sauce before being piled high with a summer squash and pepper hash. It’s worth seeking out Italian frying peppers at the farmers market for their distinct flavor, but they vary greatly in their level of heat, so be sure to ask the vendor about the ones you buy. Chewy chickpeas complement the produce by adding extra substance, while Castelvetrano olives infuse the veggies with their briney bite for a truly delicious meal. Lemon zest and fresh herbs tie everything together in this trattoria-worthy recipe.

Tip: Some names for Italian frying peppers are Cubanelles, Italianelles, or Italian long peppers. Anaheim, banana peppers, and small red bell peppers are good substitutes if you can’t find any.

For more creative polenta recipes, check out these tasty ideas:

By Shelli McConnell,


  • 1 7-oz. jar roasted red bell peppers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dry polenta
  • 6 cups cut up summer squash mix (zucchini, yellow, and pattypan)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 Italian frying peppers, halved, seeded, and chopped (2 cups, see intro for tip)
  • 12 Castelvetrano olives, crushed (⅓ cup)
  • 2 15-oz. cans no-salt-added chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained (3 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil, oregano, and/or flat-leaf parsley
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • In a small food processor combine roasted red peppers and balsamic vinegar. Process until smooth.
  • In a large saucepan combine broth and 2½ cups water. Bring to boiling. Gradually whisk in polenta. Reduce heat. Cook, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until thickened and creamy, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, in an extra-large skillet combine the next four ingredients (through olives). Cook over medium about 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally and adding water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed to prevent sticking. Stir in chickpeas, garlic, and lemon zest. Cook and stir 2 minutes or until heated through. Stir in fresh herbs, salt, and black pepper.
  • Spoon polenta onto plates. Spoon roasted pepper sauce over polenta. Top with vegetable mixture.

Comments (1)

(5 from 2 votes)

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I enjoyed the combination of flavors and textures of this recipe.

About the Author

Headshot of Shelli McConnell

About the Author

Shelli McConnell

Shelli McConnell graduated with a bachelor of science in consumer food science and a minor in journalism from Iowa State University. She began her career as a home economist in the Better Homes & Gardens test kitchen before moving into an editorial position within DotDash Meredith. She has since freelanced for 25 years and has served as an editorial project manager for many books and magazines, including three editions of the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book. She has also developed thousands of recipes for publications including Forks Over Knives magazine; Eat This, Not That!; Diabetic Living; Better Homes & Gardens; The Magnolia Journal; and more. McConnell loves to entertain and inspire, so when she’s not in her office, she’s usually in her kitchen. Find her on LinkedIn.
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