Polenta is a comforting, inexpensive, and common side dish from Northern and Central Italy made from boiled cornmeal. In the last few years, celebrity chefs like Mario Batali have made polenta popular in North America. The only problem is that polenta takes a long time—45 minutes to three hours with constant stirring–to boil the polenta and cause the starch to gelatinize. (“Instant” polenta is available, but it’s considered inferior in taste and texture.) Enter Ancient Harvest Polenta that’s precooked and ready to eat. It not only makes a tasty side dish, Ancient Harvest Polenta is organic, Kosher, gluten-free, fat free, and certified non-GMO.
Polenta is fully cooked and only requires reheating (fry, sauté, broil, grill or microwave). It comes in convenient 18-ounce tubes that don’t require refrigeration (until open). You simply cut the polenta into 2-inch rounds and re-heat.
We sampled three flavors of Ancient Harvest Polenta: Traditional Italian; Basil and Garlic; and Sundried Tomato and Garlic. All of the flavors offer a corny flavor with a creamy texture. The basil and garlic features a nice herbal flavor; sundried tomato and garlic offers deep notes of tomato goodness.
Not only is Ancient Harvest Polenta easy to make, the loaf-like tubes can be made into a variety of easy, healthy, sweet and savory recipes.– Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor
Baked Polenta Fries with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
For the fries:
- 1 tube Ancient Harvest™ ready-to-eat polenta – we used the Traditional variety
- 1 -2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
- Cooking spray
- Salt and pepper to taste
- For the honey mustard dipping sauce:
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons regular or Dijon mustard
- ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Slice each unwrapped roll of polenta in half crosswise; then cut each half lengthwise and slice into rectangular fry shapes (approximately 30 – 32 fries per roll).
- Place fries onto a rimmed baking sheet lightly coated with cooking spray. Drizzle with olive oil or spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake until crisp, gently turning with a spatula midway through cooking, 25-30 minutes.
- While fries are cooking, prepare the sauce: whisk all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Serve with fries.
Polenta Pizza Bites
- 1 tube Ancient Harvest™ Polenta, cut into ½” slices
- ½ c. pizza sauce
- ½ c. cheese or vegan substitute
- Toppings of choice:
- minced basil
- sliced bell peppers
- chopped black olives
- chopped mushrooms
- Preheat your oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and lightly grease with olive oil spray.
- Place the polenta slices on the baking sheet and broil for 2 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and flip over with a spatula.
- Spread the pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings of choice on top.
- Broil another 2 minutes or until the cheese melts to your liking.
Gluten-Free Cheesy Shrimp and Grits Crostini Recipe
- 2 (18-ounce) tubes Ancient Harvest™ Gluten-Free Polenta
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, cooked, and chopped
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chives, chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1-2 teaspoons hot sauce
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Remove the plastic casing from the polenta and cut into ¼-inch thick slices. Pat dry with a paper towel and place on the baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown, flip and bake for another 10-12 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven. Let cool.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Spoon the mixture on top of the polenta rounds.
- Preheat the broiler to high and position the top rack of the oven about 8 inches from the broiler element. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until the shrimp mixture starts to brown.
Polenta “French Toast” Rounds with Quick Berry Compote
- 2 cups fresh or frozen mixed berries
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Cooking spray
- 1 tube Ancient Harvest™ ready-to-eat polenta Traditional variety
- Approximately ⅓ cup quinoa flour
- Optional: maple syrup and powdered sugar, to serve
- Prepare the compote: place fruit, juice, lemon zest, honey, and cinnamon in a small saucepan and bring to bubbling over medium heat. Break up fruit slightly with a spoon or masher. Reduce heat and let simmer while preparing polenta, approximately 10 minutes.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Place quinoa flour in a bowl and coat polenta rounds before adding to skillet. Cook rounds until golden brown and lightly crisped, approximately 2 minutes per side. Spray lightly with cooking spray as needed to keep rounds from sticking to the pan. Serve with compote and additional toppings as desired.
Fig and Goat Cheese Polenta Bites
- 1 cup chopped dried figs
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
- 1 roll Ancient Harvest™ polenta, sliced into 18 rounds
- 3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese*
- Combine figs, honey, and orange juice in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until liquid evaporates and figs are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in walnuts and cool to room temperature.
- Preheat broiler. Lay polenta slices on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil approximately 6-inches from heat 5 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Top each slice with a heaping teaspoon of fig mixture and a sprinkle with goat cheese. Return to oven and broil a further 2-3 minutes, or until top of cheese is browned.
- *For a vegan option, substitute goat cheese crumbles with cashew cream “cheese”: Combine 1 cup pre-soaked raw cashews (soak in water for 4 hours to overnight) with ¼ cup water, one tablespoon fresh lemon juice, a clove garlic, and a pinch sea salt in a blender and blend until creamy. (Makes approximately 2 cups “cheese”, so you’ll have leftovers to enjoy!)