If you’ve ever leafed through an Italian cookbook, you probably will have come across recipes featuring polenta. It’s an incredibly versatile food and it is used as a replacement for a variety of other ingredients, including pasta and potatoes. It can be bought in blocks, and sliced and cooked, or in ground form, and added to a huge range of dishes.
It has long been popular in Italian cooking, and is a great way to lighten the carb load in many everyday meals. It’s a good source of a number of minerals and nutrients, including magnesium, iron, zinc, phosphorus and thiamin. As Healthy Food website points out, it’s a great alternative to many wheat-based foods as it is naturally gluten-free, making it a fantastic choice for anyone who needs to avoid gluten. If you’re unsure about polenta, pretty much any Italian restaurant in Dublin or any other city will feature it on the menu.
Here are five delicious ways to enjoy polenta.
Italian veggie stir fry
Swap your rice or noodles for polenta in a healthy, tasty vegetable stir-fry. Using flavours traditionally associated with Italian cooking rather than Asian, create a stunning stir fry with all your favourite Mediterranean veg, such as courgettes and red peppers, and some fresh basil or oregano.
Polenta with tomato sauce
Instead of serving pasta with your favourite rich tomato sauce, swap it for polenta. Use the juiciest plum tomatoes you can find for the best flavour. You can add grated cheese to the top of your dish at the end, or omit this if you want to keep your meal dairy-free. Try Dublin Italian restaurant Toscana to experience just how delicious a freshly prepared tomato sauce can be.
This makes a great appetiser or smaller main if you don’t want a heavy meal. Use pre-cooked polenta to save time and you’ll have a tasty, healthy light meal in no time.
Caramelised onions with polenta
If you’re veggie or trying to cut down on meat, use polenta as a healthy, nutritious meat substitute. Caramelise your onions until they’re sweet and soft, and saute some tasty field mushrooms before tossing them on top of some cheesy polenta.
Make a hearty casserole with polenta instead of meat. Polenta works well in layered casseroles and adds a great texture, as well as lots of minerals.