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Help! We are up to our ears in polenta...

So, last night, I made far far, far too much polenta. I poured the ocean of leftovers into a lasagna pan and now have sheets of it in the fridge. What would you recommend we do with it over the next several days? We are impoverished dieting vegetarians in London, so braised pork ragu or a scrumptious cheese sauce are out of the question. Tomorrow night, I'm going to do a lasagna with some mushrooms and leftover tomato sauce. Any desserts you can think of? Maybe with clementines?

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  1. How about a mexican treatment.... serve with cumin-spiced black beans and sauce it up with your favorite salsa.
    For breakfast: do a french toast treatment- saute in a little butter and serve with maple syrup.

    1 Reply
    1. re: PamelaD

      I second the Mexican idea. Lots of tamale pie recipes use polenta. Put the polenta in a baking dish, top with a mixture of refried/smashed beans and salsa, and top with some grated cheese. Bake until hot and melty.

    2. According to the Splendid Table book, a sweet polenta 'casserole' used to be the standard evening fare in the poor parts of northern Italy. There's a more detailed description in the book.

      From a microwave cookbook I've made a polenta and berries dish. That recipe cooked the polenta with sugar, and then added a lightly cooked berry mix (leaving a marbled look), and served with a berry puree.


      1 Reply
      1. re: paulj

        I bet you can make bananas foster and throw it over a toasted polenta. Some vanilla ice cream, perhaps?

      2. This probably isn't for the orginal poster, but others may use the idea. I spoon beanless chili con carne over polenta and make something similar to open face Tex-Mex tamales.

        1. I am assuming that you mean you'll be making the lasagna with the sheets of polenta - correct? If so, how much more do you have left? Can't be a whole lot more. You can make two lasagnas and freeze one for another time (before baking).

          I just don't think I'd do a polenta dessert.

          1. I have successfully frozen polenta in a sheet well wrapped in tin foil. Have used it cut out in rounds for tasty hors d'oevres, served toasted with carmelized onions and roasted tomatoes. Could use lots of other toppings like variety of sauteed mushrooms & olives, roasted eggplant, other roasted veggies. Also used it as a quiche base one time when I was too lazy to make pastry, but you don't eat cheese, so not sure you would eat quiche.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Diane in Bexley

              Make putanesca sauce (Tomatos sauce with Olives, Anchoives, Capers,) and serve on top of the polenta. Even yummier, a piece of seared Tuna with the putanesca on top and the polenta on the side - I'm making myself hungry!

              1. re: Mel.D

                And even simpler, think of polenta as a base for tomatoes/olive oil/basil/garlic, in other words a bruschetta...and it does freeze very well so you don't have to use it all at once...though I, like Mel.D, am making myself long for a good feed of polenta.

                1. re: LJS

                  My cousin grilled polenta on her bbq and topped it with grilled veggies. Soooo good!

            2. slice thin. dip in egg. then dip in italian flavoured breadcrumbs (or make your own). pan fry until crunchy and golden. eat plain or serve with tomato sauce. YUM!


              1. You can top it with a mushroom ragout or braised greens (add canned beans for cheap healthy protein).

                1. mash a few chunks of it into your morning pancake batter. Eat cold (or hot) with milk and sugar.

                  1. This recipe for a polenta cheesecake looked interesting. I have not made it myself, but it sounds like you have enough polenta to experiment a bit!

                    Polenta can be reheated in the microwave with just a touch of liquid added, and turned back to its mushy goodness. Top with a poached or fried egg and sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Do you eat shrimp as a vegetarian? A shrimp and grits dish might work, with a holy trinity of diced celery, onion, peppers, a bit of cajun seasoning, some shrimp, and a touch of shrimp stock from the shells or vegetable stock (theorizing how you might make a tasso ham or andouille sausage-free version here!)

                    1. for dessert, keep it simple.

                      try one of these toppings:
                      low-fat ricotta cheese or greek yogurt blended with vanilla or almond extract, and a drizzle of honey or agave
                      warmed pumpkin puree blended with pumpkin pie spices, a drizzle of maple syrup, & a sprinkling of chopped, crystallized ginger

                      or simply sprinkle with raw sugar, brulée until golden, and top with a dollop of light whipped cream and/or any of the following...
                      fruit compote
                      berry purée
                      low-fat chocolate sauce
                      toasted nuts

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        concur with these recs... i'd make a parfait of polenta cut-outs with some stewed raspberries or rhubarb, and a little brown sugar and fat free sour cream.

                        make a frittata with some of the polenta, egg whites, skim milk, and veggies galore.

                        crumble with some skim milk, cinnmon, vanilla, sweetener or apricot jam and toasted almonds or pecans or pistachios if desired.

                      2. I'll bet you could still make it into Indian pudding, almost, even though you've let the polenta cool already. Below is my regular Indian pudding recipe. I think you could do an Indian pudding meets bread pudding by making a mix of the milk and seasonings and eggs and molasses and pouring that over a sheet of polenta (maybe use a fork to poke holes in the polenta) and baking it in the oven.

                        Indian Pudding

                        4 ½ cups whole milk
                        ½ cup molasses
                        ½ cup cornmeal
                        ¼ cup sugar
                        2 eggs
                        ginger, allspice, cinnamon

                        Set the oven to 350 F.

                        Scald about half the milk and mix in the cornmeal. Stir continually until cooked, remove from heat.

                        Whisk 2 eggs with sugar, then the remaining milk.

                        When the cornmeal mixture has cooled, add molasses and spices. Then whisk in the egg mixture.

                        Pour into a pan and cook for about 2 hours. If desired, pour a little milk over the top half an hour before it’s done.

                        Serve with cold cream, whipped cream, or ice cream

                        1. It seems like there should be some way to turn polenta into cornbread that's fluffy by adding eggs, a bit of regular flour, baking soda etc. Unless there is a reason that it wouldnt work once the polenta is cooked... perhaps someone better at food science than me can help.

                          You could also sautee small squares to make polenta croutons to go over a salad.

                          Perhaps you could also use the sauteed croutons (or cornbread?) to make a savory stuffing. For eg, I was thinking you could sprinkle them with a bit of sage, rosemary, and parsley, add some caramelized onions and celery, perhaps some toasted pine nuts, apple cubes, raisins... whatever you like in a stuffing.... and stuff a butternut squash. Perhaps they could also form a sweeter stuffing for an apple.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Mellicita

                            ooh, that just gave me a great idea. use it in place of the corn muffins in tyler florence's roasted apples stuffed with cornbread and sage [maybe just add a little extra brown sugar]...

                            8 Gala or Golden Delicious apples
                            1 lemon, juiced
                            1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
                            1 or 2 large corn muffins crumbled (1/2 cup), reserve some for sprinkling on apples
                            1/2 cup golden raisins
                            6 sage leaves, chopped
                            2 garlic cloves, minced
                            1/4 cup dark brown sugar
                            Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
                            1 cup hard cider
                            1 tablespoon lemon juice

                            Core the apples with an apple corer, making a good size cavity to hold the stuffing. Douse the cut sides of the apples with some of the lemon juice to prevent them from browning while you make the stuffing. In a mixing bowl, combine the softened butter, muffin crumbs, raisins, sage, garlic, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Spoon the stuffing into the cavities of the cored apples; stand them up, side by side, in a baking dish and sprinkle the tops with the reserved muffin crumbs. Pour the cider around the apples and bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 375 degrees F, until soft when pierced with a knife.