There are days when you want to spend time putting together a meal. Spending an hour chopping vegetables, stirring a pot on the stove, carefully garnishing the finished dish, that's all fine on those kinds of days. And then there are days when you're tired and you want to throw something in the oven and forget about it until the timer goes off.
For those days, I present to you: Baked Polenta Fries. If you haven't had them before, they're polenta cut into steak fries and baked until crispy on the outside. Magic happens when you bake polenta. Yes, really, magic! Although they take about 40 minutes to bake, they require minimal effort on your part--just take a tube of polenta, cut it into fries, and bake until crisp and golden and browned on the edges. Magic!
We usually have our polenta fries with jarred marinara sauce, but I thought I'd make an easy garlic tomato sauce to go with this recipe, just in case you're feeling ambitious. This adds a little more work, but not much. The tomatoes and garlic are roasted at the same temperature as the fries and then you give them a quick spin in your food processor to puree them into a sauce.
This post was originally published on May 30, 2013.
- 24 oz polenta tubed, halved and cut into 1 inch thick fries. I used Basil & Garlic
- olive oil mister or cooking spray
- salt + pepper to taste
- 3 roma tomatoes cut into large chunks
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- 3 basil leaves
- pinch crushed red pepper flakes optional
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray two baking sheets with olive oil.
- Place polenta fries on one baking sheet. Spray tops with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place tomatoes and garlic cloves on second baking sheet and spray with additional oil.
- Transfer both sheets to oven, placing the tomatoes on lower rack. Bake tomatoes for 10 minutes, stirring after 5. Bake fries for 25-30 minutes more, until crisp and golden-brown.
- Transfer tomatoes and garlic to food processor and add olive oil, vinegar, basil leaves, and red pepper flakes. Process until almost smooth. Add salt to taste. Serve sauce with polenta fries.
Free Chelsea Manning! says
Forty minutes proved to be too many in my case--perhaps because I was using a convection oven. I think I should've taken them out after 30.
Thanks for the recipe, though!
Yeah, I'm guessing it was the convection oven. Sorry they didn't work out for you!
Where do I find Polenta? I have tried Walmart and Publix and people look at me like I am making the word up. They say it doesn't exist or tell me they've never heard of it. Where can I buy Polenta?? Please get back to me at [email protected]
I buy polenta at my regular grocery store--it's in the pasta aisle. I've lived in several different cities over the years and I've never had a problem finding it, so I'm not sure what to tell you!
Polenta at walmart is usually found in the produce section in one of the little free standing cart/bin things that has the minced garlic in a jar and other random things...
Hi. Believe it or not, the only place I've been able to find it wad at our Walmart Express! And it was on the aisle with the canned vegetables. 🙂
I get the tube from our trader joes. Its like 1.99 and delish for so many things!
Thomasine Acosta says
Why not make your own?
Yee-UMMMM!! I tried these with homemade polenta once and it was a dismal failure. . . . I'm going to try your method with the tubed polenta. They look spectacular!
I tried making them with homemade polenta over the summer! It took me a few tries to get it right--unfortunately, I've found that you have to add a lot of extra oil (well, at least compared to how I usually make polenta), or they dry out too much.
Brooke Tokanang says
Hi I bought some dry polenta...for a recipe I saw. Well I lost it..Do you have a recipe for just polenta...
Yes, I do! It's part of a salad recipe, but you can make the polenta by itself: https://ohmyveggies.com/recipe-grilled-veggie-salad-with-basil-parmesan-polenta/
thank you for this recipe!! i always buy these polenta tubes and generally end up making a huge mess while frying... plus it's so much healthier to bake it without all the oil! trying this tonight in fact 🙂
I hate frying too--it's always a mess!
Wow! These are absolutely amazing! I LOVE them...I just made them & can't stop eating! Thank you for sharing!
Kiersten Frase says
I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe!
Cara's Healthy Cravings says
I am making these as I type this! They smell amazing and look really good so far. I used my own polenta...I love how you can make any shape you want. I have had much success using polenta triangles as a base for an hors d'oeuvre. I think it would also be fun to make cookie cutter shapes for my little nieces and nephews. Thanks!
Kiersten Frase says
I hope you enjoy them! Polenta is such a fun, versatile food, isn't it? 🙂
Awesome! I have a tube of polenta I have to use up so this will work out great! Whole Foods just started producing their own tubes of polenta and they are $2 a pop if anyone cannot find tubed polenta!
Kiersten Frase says
Ooh, I'm going to have to look for those next time I'm there! 🙂
Stephanie C. says
I came across this post looking for a polenta fries recipe, specifically baked and that would work with a tube of polenta I've had in my pantry forever. This is just what I was looking for! I look forward to making this tonight. 🙂
Kiersten Frase says
It's definitely a great way to use up those polenta tubes! 🙂
Hollis Ramsey says
Everything you say is exactly why I’m here: fries, tube, forever. I might grate some Parmesan over and/or play with some spice blends I just got from the Teeny Tiny Spice Company — won’t that be fun! Maybe I’ll make a blue cheese dip to go with them, too.
Ok, I'm new at this polenta thing. I bought a tube of polenta to use for this recipe but when I opened it out came a pile of mush. It had no form at all. Did I buy the wrong kind?
These look amazing!! As someone trying to lose weight, do you know what the calorie count is for something like this? How many fries per serving? Thanks!
I have to say I was thrilled with this recipe. I used homemade firm polenta. FIRM is the key here. I made it the day before and firmed it in the fridge (5 cups water, 1 cup cornmeal, 1 stick butter, salt to taste, wisk, wisk wisk) its a full proof way to make delicious velvety polenta. Let it firm up in the fridge (I keep mine overnight for extra firm). Mine took about 35 minutes in the oven and instead of salt and pepper I dusted them with Cajun seasoning and parsley. I used olive oil spray liberally to get a really good crust on the outside but a nice and fluffy inside. My husband said they are like crack and we are having them again tonight! Thanks for the recipe inspiration!
Kiersten Frase says
I'm so glad you enjoyed them! They really are addictive, aren't they? 🙂
These look so simple & tasty!
It's just amazing how creative you are 🙂 Love the recipe and love the photographs.
I wish your recipe print button included your gorgeous picture in its output...
Anders Svensson says
Great recipe you have shared with us Kiersten. I think you have used extra oil in this recipe. But when, I made this recipe using oil in little quantity.
These turned out delicious! I only had to cook them for about 25 minutes and I used a high quality jarred sauce. My guests enjoyed them very much.
Cheryl Z. says
I've made these using chickpea flour. It's so easy! First (and I mean do this first or you won't have time when you need it!) oil a 9 x 13 glass dish. Then put 4 cups water, 1/2 cup olive oil, pinch of salt, and 8oz. chickpea flour (by weight, not by measure) in a pot. Mix it all up and "boil" it until it comes together. (it won't actually boil, but it will bubble and sputter) The first time I made it and started mixing it together, I thought something had drastically gone wrong, but it comes together eventually. When it's done cooking (it won't smell like raw flour anymore), pour it into the prepared dish, smooth out the top and let it set. That's it! This is just like the log of polenta you can purchase at the store only it's protein instead of carbs.