Let me breathe a new life into polenta for you, if you ever tried to cook it and it didn’t hook you up. We are going to discover here a new great ways how to use polenta for snacks or side dishes. Easy vegan snack ideas that are great for parties or accomplishing your serving table. Polenta can be used to make crostini – as a base for appetizers, served as fries with a sauce or cooked as croquettes with various fillings.
So what is polenta?
Polenta is a ground cornmeal, which is common dish in Northern Italy and is cooked as a porridge or baked with meat and cheese. This is good a alternative to wheat, since it is gluten-free and has less calories than in pasta or rice.
There are two types of cornmeal in shops: consistent grind cornmeal (for quick cooking, commonly referred to as “polenta” on the package) and coarsely grind cornmeal (commonly referred to as “cornmeal” on package). If you want to make your polenta quickly, I advise you to go for consistent grind cornmeal. But if you have coarsely grind cornmeal at home, the cooking technique of the snacks will be a bit longer.
My favourite ways is to use it as a base for appetizers – crostini. It even can be used instead of bread, for example, kind of avocado toast, but served on polenta crostini. I do like to use following toppings: fried green jackfruit, avocado mash, soft piece of vegan cheese or eggplant dip with greens or capers.
How about French fries? I am not such a big potato eater, so polenta fries are the perfect option to replace potato fries. However, potatoes are much more specific to our culture than corn. Corn is not widely used in Eastern Europe as you know, but I like to add polenta to my recipes sometimes, because it has thickening properties and also gives volume to some dishes, for example amaranth porridge. These fries are so great, especially when sprinkled with chopped dill and served with BBQ sauce.
COURSE: Lunch, Dinner, Snack, Side Dish
CUISINE: Plant-based, Vegan, Gluten-free
PREP TIME: 15-60 min
COOKING TIME: 25 min
! In order to make polenta fries, croquettes and crostini use cornmeal and water in proportion 1:2. For cooking polenta porridge use polenta and water in proportion 1:4.
Tip! If you are using polenta, it is enough to pour over boiled water to cook it and just leave to rest for 10 min under a cover before to put in the fridge. If you use a cornmeal, you have to simmer it in the pot of hot water for 20-25 min over medium heat to get it cooked.
crostini and croquettes
- Pour hot water over the polenta. Add nutritional yeast, spices and finely cut greens (parsley, dill). Stir well and leave under a cover for 10 min.
- The consistency should allow you to form any shape.If it’s too liquid, add a little bit more polenta or simmer on medium heat to get it more sticky. If it is too thick, add a little bit more hot water.
- You can skip cooling it down in the fridge, if you don’t plan to cut the shape with a knife. Otherwise, place it in the fridge for at least 30 min in the form of a bracket 1-1,5 cm high.
- Shape a crostini with a spoon: round or square, or more complex.. 🙂
- Put in the oven and bake it for 25 min at 180°C.
- After 10 min of baking grease the surface with an oil and continue baking for the remaining 15 min.
- Allow to cool it down at room temperature for 10 min, then put any topping you like.
- Pour hot water over the polenta. Add nutritional yeast, spices and finely cut greens (parsley, dill). Leave to rest for 10 min under a cover.
- Make a solid piece in a shape of bracket 1-1,5 cm high.You can put it in a square baking trial to make it perfect shape.
- Cool it down in the fridge for 30 min to 1 hour. If the consistency allows, cut it into long strips in the form of French fries. The proportion specified in the recipe should allow you to cut it.
- If it is still sticks to the knife while trying to cut it, place it in the oven for 10 min at 160°C until it becomes thick to cut it. In case you are still struggling, grease the knife with some oil or use a rubber spatula. But if you follow the proportions, you will probably skip this paragraph.
- Cut the polenta bracket into pieces, grease baking sheet and polenta strips with an oil.
- Put it in the oven and bake for 25 min at 180°C.
Sprinkle baked polenta fries with pepper and salt or mixed spices for French fries. Serve it with dill and tomato sauce (BBQ sauce, for example).