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3 Easy ways to take polenta to the next level

Brandi is natural born food lover of anything from gourmet cheeses and wine down to plain baked breads. When not in the kitchen cooking, she loves to be outdoors, especially near the ocean. She puts her focus mainly on healthy organic ea...

Cheesy, creamy and even as a pizza crust

Did you know that polenta is a versatile food? Here are three simple and tasty ways to use this corn-based food that are not only gluten free but delicious too.

Polenta tastes similar to grits but tends to be coarser ground. While especially good warm with cheeses mixed into it, polenta can be topped with just about anything, making the possibilities for creating dinner ideas endless.

1. Cheesy Parmesan cheddar polenta recipe

Cheesy parmesan cheddar polenta

Serves 10

Ingredients:

  • 1-3/4 cups dry polenta
  • 1-1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup very sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cherry tomatoes and sliced jalapeños for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a pot over medium-high heat, add the milk, and bring it to a light boil.
  2. Stir in the polenta, mix well, and turn the heat down to medium-low.
  3. Cover the pot, and cook (stirring occasionally) for 30 minutes or until the polenta is nice and thick and has softened.
  4. Once completely cooked, add in the butter, cheeses and garlic powder, and season with salt and pepper. Stir very well to allow the cheese to melt.
  5. Best served warm, spoon the polenta into serving bowls, and garnish with fresh cherry tomatoes and sliced jalapeños.

2. Creamy Mexican polenta bowl recipe

Creamy Mexican polenta bowls recipe

Serves 10

Ingredients:

  • 1-3/4 cups dry polenta
  • 1-1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the topping

  • 2 cups black beans
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced red onions
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 3 avocados, pitted and sliced or cubed
  • Fresh cilantro as garnish

Directions:

  1. In a pot over medium-high heat, add the milk, and bring it to a light boil.
  2. Stir in the polenta, mix well, and turn the heat down to medium-low.
  3. Cover the pot, and cook (stirring occasionally) for 30 minutes or until the polenta is nice and thick and has softened.
  4. Once completely cooked, add in the butter and cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Stir very well to allow the cheese to melt.
  5. In a microwave-safe bowl, add the black beans and taco seasoning. Mix well, and heat on high until the beans are hot.
  6. Spoon the polenta into serving bowls, and spoon the warm black beans on top.
  7. Garnish with tomatoes, onions, avocado slices and fresh cilantro, and serve immediately.

3. Polenta pizza crust recipe

Polenta pizza crust recipe

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, diced
  • Fresh basil for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a pot over medium heat, add the water, milk and butter. Bring to a boil, and stir in the polenta using a wire whisk. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and allow to cook for 25 minutes or until the polenta is very thick.
  2. Once the polenta has cooked, remove it from heat, and allow it to cool.
  3. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Pour or spoon the cooled polenta onto the baking sheet. Using your hands, form the polenta into the desired pizza shape.
  5. Bake the polenta crust for about 10 minutes, and then remove it from the oven.
  6. Top with tomato sauce and mozzarella, and return it to the oven until the cheese has melted.
  7. Remove the pizza from the oven, and garnish it with fresh basil.
  8. Slice into wedges, and serve.

More polenta recipes

Creamy polenta mushroom ragu pots
Creamy goat cheese polenta with herb pesto
Broccoli and gorgonzola polenta

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