I felt the need to include polenta in this list even though it’s not really a ‘whole grain’. However, I’ll often use it as a grain, it makes for a wonderful start to a meal, and really, I just love it. I know (at least it seems) that polenta can intimidate people but I can assure you, it’s not hard and there’s really no reason to buy precooked polenta in the tubes. While it takes a bit of time to cook up (to let the flavors develop) but I find it to be one of the best comfort foods in the cooler months.

When first cooked, polenta amounts to a porridge like substance (which is great) but from there, polenta can be baked (which I was what I love!) ¬†Polenta is finely ground cornmeal that is full of nutrients and fairly simple to prepare for both the creamy version and the crispy version.¬† While cornmeal can be used in place of polenta, the texture and the flavor just aren’t quite the same. I’ve also been known to grind popcorn in a pinch and use as polenta (again, not quite the same flavor but it can be fun to say you made dinner from popcorn!)

Polenta is best when made fresh but if you have leftovers, it is easy to make in to crispy triangles by either frying in a bit of olive oil or grilling either of which are perfect for topping with cooked veggies.

NE Vegetarian Polenta Recipes: