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8 Ways to Use Tube Polenta: Recipes and Ideas

Tube polenta slices with syrup and fruit

Are you looking for a great polenta recipe? The kind where the coarse cornmeal is cooked to a smoothish mush, then let it solidify and cut it and bake it and… If so, you’ve come to the wrong place. Here we’re talking recipes for polenta that comes in a tube, a great natural product that lends instant character to all kinds of dishes. Here are 8 ways to use tube polenta — recipes for some, simple ideas for others.

As for tube polenta nutrition, it’s not a powerhouse, but not at all bad, either! You’ll get zero fat, a little protein and iron, and a surprisingly good amount of vitamin C. Best of all, tube polenta will dress up even the simplest dishes, and even on its own with little or no embellishment (I’m looking at you, Baked Polenta Fries), can be surprisingly yummy. 

polenta tube

There are a number of brands that offer tube polenta. You might find it in the Italian foods section of well-stocked supermarkets; near the flour products or gluten-free section of natural foods stores, and some Italian specialty markets. The product itself is gluten-free, but if you’re very sensitive, make sure it’s not from a facility that uses wheat. The package information should let you know.

Easy Baked Polenta fries

Photo: Evan Atlas

Here in our Vegan Food Hacks’ kitchen, where our motto is “why bother?” we recommend making Fuss-Free Baked Polenta Fries with tube polenta. Your 2 to 3 hours of prep and wait time is cut down to 2 to 3 minutes.

Polenta with Chard and olives recipe

Photo: Evan Atlas

If you’re trying to eat more greens, or getting your family to do so, little wedges of tube polenta add immense charm to this simple Chard with Polenta Wedges. The flavor and texture of polenta is so compatible with leafy greens; you can use kale or collards in this in place of chard, if you’d like.

Polenta with brussels sprouts

Photo: Evan Atlas

Same idea, even simpler, and no recipe required — combine wedges of sautéed polenta with any steamed green vegetable — brussels sprouts, as shown above, broccoli, zucchini, etc. to make them more substantial and more appealing to picky eaters.

Tube Polenta croutons on salad

Photo: Evan Atlas

Use tube polenta as gluten-free croutons for salads. They make most any kind of standard salad tastier and more substantial!

Polenta slices with syrup and fruit

Photo: Evan Atlas

When my kids were young, they loved this kind of polenta sliced, sautéed in a little vegan butter on both sides, then served with syrup and fruit. No recipe needed, maximum breakfast or brunch enjoyment.

seitan and polenta skillet from vegan express

Photo: Susan Voisin

Use tube polenta to boost easy vegan main dishes. Seitan and Polenta Skillet with Fresh Greens is one of our all-time favorites. There’s something enticing about the seitan/polenta synergy, and with the addition of greens, results in a great-looking, hearty dish.

Amy's chili on polenta

Photo: Evan Atlas

Use tube polenta as a bed for bean dishes. Their flavors are so compatible! Sauté slices of polenta on both sides in a little olive oil until golden and slightly crispy, and top with your favorite chili. For an instant meal, use Amy’s Black Bean Chili, as shown in the photo.

polenta and vegan sausage stuffing

Photo: Evan Atlas

This one is a little more involved, but then, it’s a holiday recipe, and not at all difficult. In Polenta, Vegan Sausage, and Mushroom Stuffing, the polenta stands in for bread, and it works spectacularly well. Try it for your next vegan Thanksgiving menu!

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