Fire Life

Polenta Pizza

By Rip Esselstyn


3-4 cups water (depending on your brand of polenta)
1 cup polenta
16 oz. Plant-Strong tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
2 cups fresh spinach
3 large tomatoes, sliced
1 cup pineapple, cubed
½ cup roasted red peppers
2 cloves garlic, crushed
(Other favorite pizza toppings: mushrooms, arugula, asparagus, olives)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast


1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
2. Prepare pizza stone by sprinkling with corn meal or lining a pan with parchment paper.
3. To boiling water, add polenta and whisk until mixture thickens and there are no clumps (instructions for preparing polenta vary from brand to brand–check the specific preparation instructions for your type of polenta).
4. Pour polenta mixture onto pizza stone or pan and flatten into desired crust shapes: round pizza, square pizza, mini pizzas, elephant pizza, fire-hydrant pizza.
5. Precook the polenta crusts for 10 minutes.
6. Remove crusts from oven, add sauce and toppings and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.
7. Return to oven and cook for 10 minutes.
8. Slice into generous portions and serve warm.

*Tip: Precook the vegetables before placing on the pizza, if you prefer.


Rip Esselstyn is a mission-driven man. As a swimmer at the University of Texas at Austin, he was a three time All-American. As a professional athlete, he was one of the premier triathletes in the world for more than a decade. As a firefighter for the Austin (TX) Fire Department, he helped people and saved lives. As a friend to other firefighters, he transformed the way Austin’s Engine 2 ate to save firefighters’ health. Now, as the author of The Engine 2 Diet, he is teaching people the irrefutable connection between what they put in their mouths and their ability to reach their ideal weight and their ideal health. Recently, he has teamed up with Whole Foods Market as a Healthy Eating Partner to raise awareness for Whole Foods Market team members, customers, and all of America about the benefits of eating a PlantStrongÔ diet composed of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

Rip comes from a family steeped in medicine. His great-grandfather, George Crile, co-founded the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, where his father, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., was chief of the breast cancer task force and completed one of the most extensive studies ever conducted on the relationship between the heart and diet–proving that a plant-based diet can stop, prevent, and even reverse heart disease.  

Rip serves on the Board of Directors for The Wellness Foundation, EarthSave’s Meals For Health Program, and the AllergyKids Foundation.