4 Ways to Use Polenta Tubes

By Dana Raidt | Last Updated: February 26, 2015

4 Ways to Use Polenta Tubes

4 Ways to Use Polenta Tubes
My first job as a wee vegetarian was cashiering and sweeping up the bulk aisle at the natural foods co-op near my high school. I remember feeling cool (okay, looking back, maybe “cool” is not the right word) because I was in the know about every healthy product on the market. This was 1996, you guys; the general public barely knew what tofu was, let alone quinoa or cashew milk. Kale wasn’t cool—in fact Beyoncé probably had yet to sample her first leaf!

There was always one item that confounded me, though: those big tubes of prepared polenta. Everyone bought them and I had no clue why, nor did I ever think to ask. Well, one day I bought one and the lightbulb went off: These suckers are useful. Especially if you’re gluten free, store-bought polenta is a lifesaver. Just slice; bake, grill or sauté; top; and serve. No stirring, no scraping cornmeal out of your pan later. Here are four favorite ways to use polenta tubes:

Top It With Fixins

Mexican Baked Polenta with Salsa Beans & Sautéed Veggies Recipe
Oh, fixins. How I love thee. Crispy, golden-brown polenta slices are the perfect base for a Southwestern-style bean-and-veggie pile. This Mexican Baked Polenta with Salsa Beans and Sauteed Veggies is the kind of dinner you can eat every week and never get sick of. You can always sub in whatever beans, veggies and cheese you have on hand to create a different flavor profile.

Make Fries With It

Baked Polenta Fries with Garlic Tomato Sauce Recipe
There are so many wonderful dips and sauces in the world, but sometimes you need to mix up your dip vehicle. As much as I’d like to eat French fries all the time, that’s just not very healthy or practical. Nor can a woman live on baby carrots for eternity! Instead, I make baked polenta fries, which are perfect for dipping in tomato sauce (homemade or store-bought), aioli, mustard or any number of delicious condiments. Try these out on the kids next time they ask for fries. Oh, and they’re basically the easiest thing ever: Cut polenta into fries, bake.

Use It As “Bread”

Grilled Polenta with Walnuts and Bleu Cheese - The Healthy Foodie
Polenta’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside when you bake or grill it, making it a perfect stand-in for toast. The Healthy Foodie’s Grilled Polenta Stuffed with Bleu Cheese and Walnuts (pictured above) is like a polenta version of a beautifully browned grilled cheese. Or try using it as a veggie-burger or sandwich “bun,” like Sweet as Honey’s Polenta Burger Buns.

Make Lasagna With It

Greek Polenta Lasagna
Swap in thin slices of polenta for the noodle layers in your favorite lasagna recipe (or give this Greek Polenta Lasagna a try) and you’ve got a filling, hearty casserole with all those comforting flavors that everybody loves. It freezes really well, too!

Don’t have store-bought? Learn how to make your own polenta.

About Dana Raidt

Dana Raidt is a Minneapolis-based writer and editor with a passion for music, a penchant for thrift-store shopping and a never-ending recipe repertoire.

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I’m also loving the tubes because if you mash and add water or broth and simmer for a bit, you get back to the creamy polenta consistency that some of my recipes call for.

I love these ideas! Polenta is certainly useful, but we usually end up just grilling it and having veggies on the side. The Mexican Baked Polenta and lasagna will be on our list this week for sure!

Hi Kathy, I’m not sure how you would DIY the tube part, but you can definitely make polenta from scratch with cornmeal and water. If you buy cornmeal, there should be instructions on the box (or along with the bulk cornmeal if you buy in bulk) on the ratio to use. It’s really easy on the stovetop!

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