Polenta is the Italian name for a basic cornmeal mush that can be served on its own or with a variety of toppings (see variations after recipe box). It’s a comforting, naturally gluten-free grain dish that kids and picky eaters will love! When mine were growing up, they loved this with a side of steamed broccoli, and a platter of raw veggies with a dip. Thanks to Colavita for supplying the Instant Polenta used in this recipe, which not only cooks up super-fast, but is extra smooth. Photos by Evan Atlas.
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal (or quick-cooking polenta)
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons vegan buttery spread (like Earth Balance)
- Toppings (see below recipe box) as desired
- Bring 4 cups of water in a large, deep saucepan bring to a rapid simmer. Turn the heat down to low. Pour the cornmeal in slowly, whisking as you pour it in to make sure no lumps form.
- Simmer over very low heat for 15 to 20 minutes (or, quick-cooking polenta only takes about 3 minutes) Whisk occasionally The polenta should be smooth and thick. If the polenta is spattering while being cooked, cover with a lid, keeping it ajar. If you’d like a thinner polenta, add one additional cup of water, whisk in, and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer.
- When done, stir in the margarine until melted. Serve at once in bowls and top as suggested below.
Here are a few simple suggestions for toppings polenta. Use any one, or a combination of two or three, and vary it according to season and mood!
- A sprinkling of Vegan Parmesan-Style Cheez
- A sprinkling of nondairy mozzarella-stye grated cheese
- Lightly cooked diced tomatoes
- Thinly sliced basil leaves
- Brown mushrooms (lightly sautéed in olive oil)
- Sautéed garlic
- Wilted greens
- Cooked fresh corn kernels
- Thinly sliced scallions
- Sautéed onions and/or bell peppers
Nutrition information (without toppings)
Per serving: Calories: 206; Total fat: 5 g; Protein: 4 g; Fiber: 3.5 g; Carbs: 37 g; Sodium: 479 mg
- Try more of our other Mediterranean Diet Delights.
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