Smart staple: Polenta

Polenta, also known as cornmeal, is ground corn. Like other grains, polenta is mainly carbohydrate but also adds protein and fibre to a meal. Polenta can be white or yellow and may be finely or coarsely ground. There are also quick-cook varieties that take only around three minutes to prepare, compared with the 30—40 minutes for varieties that have not been precooked.

This gluten-free grain is incredibly versatile. Prepared to a creamy consistency, polenta can be used as a porridge at breakfast, or in the same way as mashed potato at dinner. Prepared to a thicker consistency, polenta can be poured into a dish to set. Sliced into triangles, squares or long chips, it can be served as is for dinner, or used as a base for both savoury and sweet toppings.

Recipe ideas

Slow-cooked beef pie with polenta topping
Poached egg on polenta with tomato relish
Chilli beef stew with polenta dumplings
Grilled lamb and polenta with mint and feta greens

First published: April 2017

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