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Makes 4 1-cup servings

Polenta, or coarsely ground cornmeal, is easy to prepare and tremendously versatile. When it is first cooked it is soft, like Cream of Wheat, and perfect for breakfast topped with fruit and fortified soymilk, or for dinner topped with vegetables and marinara or other savory sauce. When chilled, it becomes firm and sliceable, perfect for grilling or sautéing.

5 cups water
1 cup polenta
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
1 vegetable oil spray

Measure water into a large pot, then whisk in polenta, salt, and herbs, if using.

Simmer over medium heat, stirring often, until very thick, about 25 minutes.

Serve hot or transfer to a 9″×13″ baking dish and chill until firm.

For grilled polenta, turn cold polenta out of baking dish onto a cutting board and cut it with a sharp knife into 1/2-inch slices. Lightly spray a large non-stick skillet with vegetable oil and place it over medium-high heat. Arrange polenta slices in a single layer about 1 inch apart and cook 5 minutes. Turn and cook second side 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining polenta.

Per 1-cup serving

  • Calories: 126
  • Fat: 0.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.1 g
  • Calories from Fat: 4.1%
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Protein: 2.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 26.8 g
  • Sugar: 0.2 g
  • Fiber: 1.4 g
  • Sodium: 596 mg
  • Calcium: 8 mg
  • Iron: 1.4 mg
  • Vitamin C: 0 mg
  • Beta Carotene: 33 mcg
  • Vitamin E: 0.1 mg

Source: Healthy Eating for Life to Prevent and Treat Cancer by Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D.; recipe by Jennifer Raymond, M.S., R.D.