This cheesy polenta is a hearty side dish perfect for cool fall and winter nights. It’s creamy, garlicky and studded with ever fragrant rosemary.
There he was standing over the pot with buttery crackers in his hand.
“Can I dip it?” Tim said.
“You want to dip crackers in polenta?” I said.
I watched his dunk as if in slow motion, baffled and bewildered.
He loved it!
The conclusion? Polenta is delicious any way you choose to eat it.
What is polenta?
Polenta is essentially an Italian cornmeal based porridge.
It’s very similar to grits but the cornmeal is a tad finer. It’s a savory side dish, often cooked with butter, milk and sometimes cheese.
I chose the make this cheesy polenta recipe lactose-free so I opted for coconut milk and cheddar cheese (most cheddar is naturally lactose-free).
If you don’t suffer from lactose issues, you can use a different cheese like gruyere or even a little creamy goat cheese.
I still recommend coconut milk in this cheesy polenta recipe though because it’s super rich and a little sweet.
What to eat with this cheesy polenta?
This cheesy polenta has a sharp salty flavor from the cheddar so it goes well with either sweeter foods or spicy main courses.
Here are some mains to start with:
Another simple topper for this cheesy polenta is baked chicken or shrimp in homemade tomato sauce.
You can add a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes to your tomato sauce for a little kick.
- 1 tube pre-cooked polenta (18 oz)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2/3 cup coconut milk You can use any milk you like, but I like the flavor and creaminess coconut milk adds
- 1/3 cup chicken broth, vegetable broth or water Broth has more flavor but if you don't have any water works just fine
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary, stem removed
- 1/4 tsp black pepper fresh cracked is better
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup cheddar or gruyere cheese
- Heat your saucepan to medium heat. Once hot, add olive and garlic to the pan. Let the garlic cook for 30 seconds, gently stirring it.
- Add the polenta to the pan and use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to break the polenta up into small bits. Pour in the coconut milk and broth to the polenta while stirring in a circular motion. The lumps should melt away as you stir.
- Reduce the heat to low. Add the salt, rosemary, black pepper, red pepper flakes and cheese to the polenta. Keep stirring in a circular motion constantly until the polenta is smooth and the cheese is fully melted. Turn the heat off and cover the pot until you're ready to eat. Enjoy!
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see how it turned out! Snap a picture and tag @brightrootskitchen or use #brightrootskitchen on Insta.