Polenta is an incredibly versatile and delicious grain that is prepared in many ways, such as as a hot porridge, or even baked into cornbreads!
Polenta is a very common staple of Italian pantries, and you’ll find that it is used in countless recipes.
However, if it is your first time actually preparing polenta, it can be difficult to determine how you should actually use it. What are some of the best ways to prepare it that are nice and easy?
And which ones are best for first-timers?
Grab your polenta, wash your hands, and get ready, because we are going to take a deep dive into 33 of our absolute favorite polenta recipes that can be found on the web. Some of these will totally surprise you!
1. Polenta Fries
One of the benefits of polenta is that it can easily be shaped and molded to create all sorts of different foods and snacks that resemble others.
We were so totally blown away by how amazing these polenta fries tasted, and the golden color they took on. Each bite was heavenly, as the golden coating melted away, allowing the soft polenta to break free.
Make sure to serve these up with your favorite dipping sauce!
2. Oven-Roasted Polenta
If you want to experience polenta in a very traditional way that makes the very most of its awesome texture and has an immense flavor, then you will definitely want to give this oven-roasted polenta recipe a try.
This recipe will only take you a few minutes to prepare, and then you can simply allow the polenta to bake slowly over the course of around 50 minutes! Nice and easy, and perfect for a lazy evening!
3. Saucy Chicken And Sausage Over Creamy Parmesan Polenta
Parmesan and polenta were practically made for each other.
With polenta’s incredibly satisfying texture and light creamy taste combined with the rich and mature taste of parmesan, you can bet that this creamy and savory treat is one of our absolute favorites on this list.
To make it even better, though, it also includes a very fiery chicken and sausage mix over the top that gives it a savory dimension, making it seem more full.
4. Cheesy Mushroom Polenta With Bacon
Cheesy, rich, three-dimensional, and delightfully savory. This simple combination of ingredients comes together to create absolute culinary beauty that you just have to try for yourself.
This recipe is incredibly easy to follow, and only makes use of a small number of ingredients, so you won’t have to hunt around in your local grocery store to find the right stuff to make it taste just right.
5. Rosemary And Semi-Dried Tomato Polenta
Wow. We didn’t know that polenta could be used like this and that it would possibly pair so well with the rich and tangy flavor of semi-dried tomatoes.
The inclusion of rosemary atop the finished snack helps to give it a final herby taste that we believe completes the picture perfectly.
6. Kale Hush Puppies With Lemon Aioli
These delightful kale hush puppies use polenta as a batter that allows them to quickly fry up like classic doughnuts. Biting into these hush puppies is such a delight, and it is very difficult to limit yourself to just a few.
We can guarantee you’ll want to make more right away.
Even better, this recipe also shows you how to make a delicious lemon aioli dipping sauce that pairs beautifully, and makes this sharing snack one of the best ways to enjoy your polenta with others.
7. Pork Ragu Over Creamy Polenta
Pork ragu almost seems like it was made to be paired with polenta. The pork itself becomes incredibly tender, and it quickly absorbs the flavors from the sauce it is coated in, becoming very rich and almost quite fiery!
This makes for a contrast against the sheer creaminess of the polenta that helps to keep the dish grounded.
8. Creamy Polenta With Zucchini And Tomatoes
The tomatoes that top this polenta dish is just waiting to burst and release their juicy flavors into your mouth.
The creamy polenta is able to easily absorb the flavor of the tomatoes, making it taste nice and fruity, while the zucchini becomes soft and juicy. As well as being a medley of flavors, it’s also a medley of textures.
9. Soft Polenta And Mushroom Bowls
Everything just comes together so beautifully in this recipe that is equal parts fulfilling and wholesome as it is refreshing and vibrant.
There is an incredibly varied number of ingredients used throughout this recipe, and each one brings a different flavor to the table, as well as a totally different texture.
These colorful bowls are perfect if you want a simple and healthy dinner for one, but they are also great for parties and other social functions, as they are easy to serve out.
10. Mini Polenta Pizzas
With a little bit of ingenuity, you can also bake your polenta to create tiny perfect pizza shapes that you can then top with whatever your heart desires.
We strongly recommend trying the toppings included in this recipe, as they are totally fabulous and very rich and decadent. You’ll feel like you’re eating a full gourmet pizza!
11. Chili Con Carne Pie
Using polenta to make cornbread is one thing, but imagine using that cornbread to create an amazing topping for your chili con carne dish!
Well, thanks to this awesome recipe, it doesn’t have to remain in your imagination alone! The cornbread topping of this pie easily absorbs the flavoring of the chili con carne to make for a perfect accompaniment.
12. Honey Butter Blackened Scallops With Herby Polenta
Polenta makes for a perfect base with this recipe for honey butter scallops that are blackened to perfection to create amazingly crunchy, crispy, and smoky bites of meatiness that contrast with the soft creaminess of the polenta.
The polenta is also mixed with plenty of delightful herbs that help to draw the whole dish together into a cohesive whole.
13. Lemon Loaf
This loaf cake, made using polenta, will easily become a favorite, thanks to how simple but effective its flavor combination is. And how moreish the soft and pillowy texture of the loaf proves to be.
Best of all, unlike many loaf recipes, this recipe is incredibly easy to follow, and won’t leave you completely confused and mystified.
14. Ratatouille With Creamy Polenta
Want a little taste of France to go alongside the Italian taste of polenta? They blend together surprisingly well, and much better than you would otherwise expect.
Ratatouille is naturally very sweet and very refreshing, and when combined with polenta this flavor becomes all the more apparent.
For such a simple dish, ratatouille is surprisingly fulfilling and delightful.
15. Balsamic Braised Beef With Cheesy Polenta
Braising the beef in balsamic flavoring is the key to making this recipe really work. It gives the beef an incredibly sweet and vibrant flavor that perfectly melds with its existing rich and meaty flavor.
And, of course, the polenta is there to quickly and easily absorb this flavor and combine it with its own cheesiness!
16. Polenta Caprese Pizza
If the prospect of tiny polenta pizzas (see also our favorite frozen pizzas) wasn’t enough to whet your appetite, then how about a full-on pizza like this? It’s simple but incredibly effective. The tomato sauce is juicy, while the mozzarella gives it a hidden maturity!
17. Crunchy And Spicy Polenta Chips
These tiny little crunchy snacks were so popular that we quickly had to go back into the kitchen to whip up some more. Turns out, polenta takes incredibly well to the cooking process to create these amazing chips. Try them out for yourself!
18. Shiitake, Cauliflower, and Polenta Risotto Stacks
If you want to create a polenta dish that is incredibly fancy and decadent, while also being entirely vegan, then we think you’d get a serious kick out of this risotto stack recipe, complete with mushrooms and a polenta cake. A textural treat!
19. Mini Breakfast Corn Muffins
Polenta is so versatile that not only can it be used for numerous sweet and savory dishes, but it can also be used to create energizing and fulfilling breakfasts that are packed full of the nutrients you need to get you started.
This recipe also includes jalapenos, which will really get your taste buds started in the morning.
20. Polenta Bites With Wild Mushrooms And Fontina
Wild mushrooms have a naturally chewy texture, but a delightfully meaty flavor that helps to make them perfect for topping small polenta bites that you can easily cook up in no time at all!
21. Crispy Polenta Halloumi With Tomatillo Salsa
Using this recipe, you can make your polenta feel and taste exactly like deliciously rich and creamy halloumi, and it is surprisingly easy to do!
We were so stunned at how simple this recipe proved to be, and how delightfully satisfying the end results proved to be.
And of course, these amazing crispy bites would not be complete without the tomatillo salsa alongside it to dip into!
22. Cheese And Almond Stuffed Polenta Cubes
Never experienced what happens when almonds and cheese cross paths before? Make these little spongy cubes for an easy way to find out!
23. Instant Pot Polenta
If you want to enjoy your polenta in a quick and easy way that requires little effort and takes very little time, then this is the recipe for you!
Throwing all of the ingredients into a pot and allowing them to slowly cook makes this a perfect recipe for lazy evenings!
24. Mushroom Burgundy Sauce Over Polenta
The boldness of this dish alone will totally blow you away.
After you first taste the end result you will be fully convinced of the potential of polenta, just how many amazing flavors it can be combined with, and the number of dishes you can make with it!
The mushroom burgundy itself is full-bodied and very intense.
25. Cheesy Polenta With Spring Vegetables
Cheese and polenta totally belong together, but do you know what else pairs surprisingly well with cheese? Spring vegetables! This recipe will prove this to you once and for all, and we just know you’ll want to make even more!
26. Paprika Manchego Polenta
Adding a little bit of paprika to your favorite polenta recipes can definitely go a long way!
Serve this polenta and paprika medley alongside one of your favorite meats, and you will soon have a veritable feast that both friends and family can all indulge themselves in.
27. No-Bake Vegan Strawberry Shortcake
You might assume that a strawberry shortcake would be off-limits for a vegan diet, and certainly that it would be impossible to make a perfect shortcake without any baking, right?
Well, prepare to be proven wrong once and for all because this recipe will show you how to make a vegan strawberry shortcake that tastes just like the real thing!
28. Roasted Tomatoes With Goat Cheese Polenta
Want to make your standard cheesy polenta taste even more rich, decadent, and more mature? Then you need to make use of goat’s cheese to create this recipe, complete with roasted tomatoes that are bursting with juicy and sharp flavor!
29. Slow Cooker Pork With Polenta
Do you have a slow cooker?
You’ll definitely want to make use of it for this easy recipe, as it will help you to create delightfully soft and juicy pork soaked in maple and chipotle, to give it a fiery warmth that allows it to pair expertly with the polenta base, which is also combined with plenty of fresh veg such as spring onions, and radishes, and plenty of cilantro.
30. Chicken And Polenta With Broccoli
Chicken and broccoli totally belong together, so why not pair them up with one another atop a bed of creamy, soft, and light polenta?
This is a perfect polenta dish to try out if you want to enjoy something uncomplicated, unshowy, but full of warming flavors that will deeply satisfy your stomach, and even put a rest to any of your burning cravings!
This recipe is also totally gluten-free, and is incredibly healthy! You can enjoy it without any guilt whatsoever, and still, feel like you have eaten a significant and hearty meal.
31. Vegan Grits With Dried Cranberries And Almonds
Whether you enjoy this as a dessert after a filling meal, or you enjoy it as an energizing breakfast, you can rest assured that you will definitely enjoy every single bite.
The fruit and almonds are perfect winter flavors that help to make the polenta taste more incredible than you would have ever thought possible!
Maple syrup also helps to give this recipe a slight fall/winter vibe that makes it perfect to indulge in when the weather turns and it gets a little more chilly.
This dish can be eaten hot or cold, but either way, it will fill you with lovely warmth!
32. Braised Lentils
At this point, it should no longer be a surprise just how versatile polenta is, and the number of ways you can cook it and serve it up, but definitely one of the most surprisingly satisfying ways to cook it is to grill it!
This recipe will show you how to grill your polenta to absolute perfection, to create a smoky snack that has a unique combination of crunchy and soft textures that will delight your mouth, and will have you craving even more polenta goodness.
But that’s not all.
This recipe will also show you how to easily braise some lentils that can then be lovingly poured over the top of the grilled polenta to create a perfect lunchtime meal that will fuel you up for countless hours to come!
33. Polenta Plum Upside Down Cake
This plum upside-down cake recipe makes use of the versatile power of polenta to allow you to create a perfect cake that will work perfectly as a dessert to cap off meals of all types.
We loved the way in which the polenta was able to absorb the flavor and the juices from the plums, and how sweet that made the entire cake taste.
Even more impressive, though, was how easy this cake was to make. Polenta really is a magical ingredient that makes it easy to achieve various culinary delights with very minimal effort needed!
We could wax lyrical for hours about this recipe, but you simply have to try it for yourself!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Add Flavor To Polenta?
The great thing about polenta is that it tastes great whether it is savory or sweet. So, one of the best ways to add flavor is to add some honey and some fruit, which makes it work perfectly as a dessert, but also as breakfast.
If you wanted to create a beautiful side for a main course, then you could always add an egg to your polenta, or even some cheese, to give it a savory flavor that pairs perfectly.
Is Polenta Good For Losing Weight?
Polenta can be great for losing weight, thanks to the fact that it contains very few calories, making it very unfattening.
It is also full of protein, which means that it will keep you full for much longer, which helps you to resist the urge to snack on unhealthy treats.
Is Polenta Healthier Than Pasta?
Polenta actually is healthier than pasta, and rice, thanks to the fact that it has such an incredibly low calorie content. This means that it can work perfectly as a replacement for any of these!
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