Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Caroline Murphey
Prep Time
20 Mins
Cook Time
35 Mins
Bake Time
30 Mins
Makes 6 servings

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°. Bring 3 cups water and 1 tsp. salt to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in cornmeal; reduce heat to low, and simmer, whisking constantly, 3 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, and stir in steak seasoning and 1/4 cup Cheddar cheese. Spread cornmeal mixture into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish.

Step 2

Brown ground chuck in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 10 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink; drain and transfer to a bowl.

Step 3

Sauté onion and zucchini in hot oil in skillet over medium heat 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in beef, tomatoes, and tomato paste; simmer, stirring often, 10 minutes. Pour beef mixture over cornmeal crust. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese.

Step 4

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle casserole with parsley just before serving.

Step 5

Italian Beef Casserole With Polenta Crust: Substitute Italian sausage for ground chuck and Italian six-cheese blend for Cheddar cheese. Prepare recipe as directed, sautéing 1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped, with onion in Step

Ratings & Reviews

June 12, 2016
I found that letting the polenta cool until it was firm and dougy made it easier to work as a crust. 

MamaItaliana's Review

November 18, 2012
This recipe was good, but a few changes made it even better. I cooked some of the cheese into polenta mixture then let it sit in the fridge overnight. (To be honest I had leftovers in the fridge already.) This makes it less mushy. Then I cooked the beef/veggie/tomato mixture with fresh rosemary, bay leaf, garlic, salt & pepper. This added more flavor. My husband loved it! We would make it again. A nice alternative to pasta.

debijean's Review

April 21, 2013
I have never made a polenta crust... and I found this recipe much too mushy to my liking. My husband thought I should have baked it some first, then add the ground beef topping. I decreased the tomatoes by one can and added salt & pepper. If I make this recipe again, I would definitely add a dash of sugar to tone down the acidity of the tomatoes and add more spices than the s&p.

Mizboo275's Review

February 04, 2013
I added 3 - 4 tbsp of taco seasoning to the meat mixture as I knew it would be bland without some herbs or spices. My polenta came out fine and the dish was tasty an comforting on a cold winter day. I would make again.

bluedragnkittn's Review

February 13, 2013
Mediocre at best. The polenta crust was amazing. That I liked. The beef mixture was waaaay too bland and acidic from the tomatoes. It could do without the tomato paste and one can of tomatoes. I added a portabella mushroom to the veggies and added sliced avocado on top along with sour cream. In the beef mixture I added salt, pepper, garlic powder, a hit of cayenne pepper and some cumin which made the dish a million times better. As it, it's rather bland and American tasting. This could use a lot more work and a lot more consideration on spices. Tomato is not a viable seasoning alone and is rather lazy. Skip this one or follow the comments on how to improve it. It needs desperate improvements.

bridgetwalczak's Review

March 22, 2010
My husband and I enjoyed the polenta crust in this recipe for a weeknight meal, but (as expected) the tomato/ground beef/veggie mixture was terribly bland. I was surprised that the recipe called for no seasonings added to the tomato mixture, as it definitely needs some. I also found my 11x7 dish to be much too small - use a 13X9 for sure! I may use the idea for this crust again, but I will continue to search for a different filling, or at least some additional seasonings to add.

taylorwillis1's Review

October 27, 2013

92ohpets's Review

June 08, 2009
My family really enjoyed this casserole. I'd classify it as "comfort food". Except for the squash, all of the ingredients are things I usually have on hand. I think next time I'll put an additional layer of cheese under the meat as well as on top, and maybe add a little salt to the meat mixture. This recipe is a keeper.

Gettinthere46's Review

April 29, 2014
This recipe is even better if you change a few things. I added taco seasoning to my meat, also some garlic powder and salt. Added a can of Rotel diced tomatoes and chilis. For the cheese topping I used a bag of Velveeta shredded cheddar. It gives it a good salty, cheesiness. It's in my Saved Recipes now.

AnneAPrice's Review

April 07, 2013
Made this for lunch today and it is wonderful! Will make it again many times for my family.