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24 Recipes and Ideas for Polenta

By Alana Sugar, September 23, 2013  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Alana Sugar

Polenta Tart with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese RecipeI first got hooked on polenta when my Italian friend, Josephine, made it for me. She stirred yellow cornmeal into homemade broth, adding grated Reggiano and extra virgin olive oil. I loved it so much I had to experiment! I quickly created my first bowl of creamy hot breakfast polenta with nuts and honey. It was wonderful, just like this delicious Breakfast Polenta with Dried Fruits and Almonds

Polenta is basically boiled porridge made from cornmeal. Originally the name referred to crushed, ground grains and/or legumes. During the 16th century, once corn was cultivated in Europe, cornmeal polenta became an important food for farm families in Northeastern Italy. Because of this, polenta is associated with the cuisine of Northern Italy.
Breakfast Polenta Casserole Recipe

Traditional polenta is typically simmered for about 45 minutes. It requires almost constant stirring. These days, quick cooking and ready-made packaged polenta are easy to find. Once cooked, polenta can be formed into various shapes and then fried, baked or grilled until crispy golden brown on the outside, and creamy-tender on the inside. 

Polenta is so versatile, you can serve it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or as an appetizer. Once you try some of these polenta recipes, I think you’ll agree that polenta is simple, elegant and delicious! 

Have you tried polenta?  Got a Polenta recipe or a great idea?  Let me know.

Category: Food & Recipes




liltiger2 says ...
Thanks for this article, I have polenta in my pantry and just haven't come across any ideas for using it!
09/26/2013 3:07:19 PM CDT
Jennifer says ...
What's the difference between polenta and grits? Sounds like grits to me...How about a southern favorite...fish and Grits. Served with fried fish and hot sauce! You can make it healthy by adding some sauteed onions and greens to the grits...Or cheesy taco grits(my personal recipe) basically cheese grits and taco meat!!
09/26/2013 11:12:28 PM CDT
al Reeves says ...
I can hardly wait to make dish's from these menu's , been waiting some good recipes for polenta and have been laize in not looking them up. al
09/28/2013 10:26:02 AM CDT
Paula says ...
I teach English as a second language in Brazil and your good recipes help me to motivate my students´learning evem more. Thank you.
09/28/2013 12:36:47 PM CDT
Mary C. Karau says ...
Little-known fact: You can make polenta in the oven and you don't have to stir it more than three quick stirs. Put one cup of cornmeal (coarse, medium, or fine) into an oven-proof casserole or deep bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, 2 tablespoons of butter (optional), and 4 cups of water. Stir briefly. Put in a 350 degree oven for about 40-45 minutes. Take out and stir once, halfway through. At the end, polenta will be still somewhat "wet". Take it out and stir it. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. It will firm up nicely. SO EASY!!!!! You can add various cheeses at the beginning, halfway through cooktime, or at the end. Delicious!
09/29/2013 11:41:28 AM CDT
Helene Cox says ...
As I child I ate polenta for breakfast with just a lump of butter on top. We called it mammalega! Now I like to swirl some fine green basil pesto through the cooked polenta just before serving....maybe a grating of parmesan on top.
10/16/2013 5:11:28 PM CDT
karen schwarze says ...
I went to the Whole Foods store in Glastonbury a few weeks ago with a friend and tried the polenta on the prepared food bar. It was polenta topped with spinach and onion in maybe a maple sugar or syrup type reduction. It was absolutely delicious and I would love to get the recipe. Can you help me?
12/01/2013 10:42:49 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@KAREN - We have tons of recipes using polenta on our website at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/search/polenta. I did not find the exact recipe you referenced though. If you don't find it, check with the store directly to see if they have a recipe, if they have one they will be happy to share!
12/02/2013 3:35:41 PM CST
Max Veale says ...
Thanks for the recipes and suggestions. My first experience with Polenta was a disaster, due entirely to a recipe that would have been a loser in combination with any other accompaniment. The only part of the dish that appealed to my dinner companion was the Polenta itself. I'm ready to try again, this time with ideas that make sense..
01/15/2014 7:45:17 PM CST
RAMONITA says ...
01/16/2014 1:14:38 PM CST
Julie Johnston says ...
I enjoyed your information on polenta. I have just recently started experimenting with polenta. I found a delightful polenta lasagna recipe in the Light Cooking Italian book a 1994 book I found in a thrift shop. There is a polenta apricot putting cake recipe in the book I still want to try. Thanks for posting your recipes. Julie
02/13/2014 12:17:54 PM CST
Emaroo says ...
have only eaten Polenta plainly cooked, no flavours added, now I will try some of the ideas mentioned, thank you.
03/02/2014 5:50:16 PM CST
Hipsia Keister says ...
thank you so much... great recipes for someone who has just started a gluten free diet
03/06/2014 11:58:08 PM CST
VALERIEV says ...
Being from the south we call polenta, mush. I had this most mornings sliced and fried with eggs. While polenta and grits are prepared the same way, they aren't the same thing. Two totally different flavors and textures. Grits are exactly what their name says, it's gritty. Polenta is a much smoother texture than grits.
04/04/2014 10:52:26 AM CDT
Scott Sargis says ...
Thanks for sharing your valuable thoughts on polenta with us. We can use Polenta as breakfast and lunch/dinner. Keep sharing
05/15/2014 10:09:39 AM CDT
Gella says ...
I have had a roll of polenta in the fridge for weeks and tonight felt inspired to try it. I decided on the Kale, Mushroom and Tomato saute... Superb!!! Loved it. It was as quick and easy as it seemed and very tasty with light seasoning. I did not manage to have the crispy golden brown shell because I started with too much oil. But it was yummy none-the-less. Now that I know more about it I realize I usually have it as a creamy corn meal porridge. But the fried roll reminds me of a Jamaican starch patty called bammy that is soaked in milk for a few hours or overnight then fried. I am not sure what bammy is made of but it is white and has a similar texture. Anyway, thank you for this article and the recipes. I will try more.
06/09/2014 9:37:05 PM CDT
Betty Santiago says ...
I sliced the precooked polenta, sprayed a cookie sheet with butter flavored Pam. Topped with a slice of tomato and baked for about 12 minutes on 350F. Broiled an additional 90 seconds with grated mozzarella and parmesan. Num num!!
09/08/2014 11:50:38 AM CDT
Joanne Ciullo says ...
Hello, I purchased polenta from the "bulk buy" bins. I need the cooking directions, please
12/10/2014 10:35:23 AM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@JOANNE - Our vendors in bulk will differ between stores. Reach out to your local store and they will be happy to let you know the cooking instructions based on the vendors recommendations.
12/12/2014 6:20:34 PM CST
tina says ...
Still trying to figure out how to cook my tube of polenta for starters....
03/09/2015 1:36:48 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@TINA - Typically there will be cooking instructions on the package. If not, you can often slice the tube polenta in to rounds and pan sear them. Here is a great recipe to check out: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/mediterranean-polenta-rounds.
03/09/2015 12:02:11 PM CDT
Dyan Merick says ...
I write vegan cookbooks and use a lot polenta, both hot and cooled/sliced as a base. You are right. It's a perfect base, almost as versatile as tofu.
08/03/2015 11:46:12 AM CDT
Robert Young says ...
Due to my Diabetes type II, my doctor tells me I cannot eat white bread, biscuits, rice or grits (polenta). I am wondering if YELLOW polenta would be allowed. Because I can eat brown rice but not white rice & I can eat WHEAT bread but not white bread. This past week my doctor closed his office & moved to another state & I must locate a new doctor.
08/26/2015 4:08:15 PM CDT
RALPH P KASS says ...
I have a soup recipe that says (in part) to add 1/4 cup polenta with the broth and cook for 45 minutes. I don't know if that means I should add plain cornmeal which will become polenta as it cooks, or if it means I should add finished polenta, which I can either pre-make myself or buy pre-made.
12/13/2015 6:25:25 AM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@RALPH - To me, it sounds like it calls for uncooked polenta that would need cooking for 45 minutes. Corn meal and polenta are often interchangeable names in recipes.
12/22/2015 4:28:36 PM CST