5 Ideas To Make Use Of Your Leftover Polenta

leftover polenta

Polenta is a classic Italian dish that’s incredibly easy to make.

It’s made from cornmeal, and it can be served warm or cooled down and sliced into fritters.

Although polenta is usually eaten as an entrée, its versatility makes it great for all kinds of dishes—and leftovers! Here are five ways to save leftover polenta:

How to store leftover polenta

Now that you’ve got leftover polenta, how can you store it? The main thing to remember when storing polenta is that it will firm up in the fridge once it cools.

This means that if you want to use it as a spread or dip, make sure to let it sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Polenta will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, and frozen for up to three months! If your polenta has been stored in an airtight container but is hard as a rock (i.e., not soft enough for spreading), simply microwave it on high power until warm and soft again (about 1 minute).

Or heat gently in a saucepan over medium heat until heated through—this should only take a few minutes if your pan was preheated beforehand.

How can you make polenta? To make polenta, place your cornmeal in a large pot and slowly add water, stirring constantly.

The ratio is usually one part water for every three parts cornmeal; however, feel free to adjust according to your taste (some people prefer their polenta on the thinner side).

5 ideas for leftover polenta

Add in some shredded leftovers and make a quick fritter

You can use leftover polenta to make a simple fritter.

First, stir together the leftover polenta with some shredded leftovers and spices like chili powder or cumin.

Then add in some vegan cheese, such as Daiya mozzarella shreds or Follow Your Heart’s Vegan Gourmet Shreds, which come in flavors like mozzarella and cheddar slices.

Dust your hands with flour and scoop out several patties of batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.

Bake for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 Celsius), until crispy on the outside but still moist inside—they’ll be golden brown on top when done! Serve topped with salsa or avocado slices, plus hot sauce if you’re feeling spicy!

Slice it up and pan-fry for a crispy side dish

If you’re feeling like a crispy, golden polenta side dish, try slicing it into thin slices and pan-frying them in oil until they’re crispy.

(You can even use a waffle iron for this!) Once the slices are out of the pan, top with your favorite vegan cheese sauce (or just serve plain).

This is yummy served with roasted vegetables or lentil chili.

You can also cut the polenta into cubes and sauté in oil until they’re crispy.

This is a great way to make crispy polenta fries! Serve them with some ketchup or vegan cheese sauce.

If you’re feeling like a crispy, golden polenta side dish, try slicing it into thin slices and pan-frying them in oil until they’re crispy.

(You can even use a waffle iron for this!) Once the slices are out of the pan, top with your favorite vegan cheese sauce (or just serve plain).

This is yummy served with roasted vegetables or lentil chili.

Use it as the base for egg-baked breakfast

You can use leftover polenta in a variety of ways.

The most obvious is to slice it and fry it up with eggs and veggies, like hash browns.

Slice leftover polenta into 1-inch pieces and fry in a pan on medium heat, flipping once or twice during cooking.

You may have to add more oil than usual because polenta absorbs more fat than potatoes do.

Crack two or three eggs (depending on how many people you’re serving) over the top; season with salt and pepper if desired; cover until the egg whites are cooked through but yolks are still runny (about 5 minutes).

Keep an eye on the heat so that your eggs don’t burn!

Top with meat sauce and vegan cheese and broil for polenta pizza

If you have any polenta leftover, this is the perfect way to use it up.

The best part about it is that you can make your own sauce from scratch or open a jar of your favorite marinara sauce—either way, it’s going to be delicious!

Once you’ve spread the polenta on a baking sheet, top with vegan cheese and whatever meat sauce (or other toppings) you want and broil for five minutes until the cheese melts.

The result is an easy and delicious dish that takes under 20 minutes to make.

This recipe will be your new go-to when you’re craving something cheesy, meaty and comforting—but don’t want the hassle of making a whole lasagna!

Serve it warm with almond butter or sunflower seed butter

To make almond butter, soak 1 cup of almonds in water overnight.

The next day, drain and rinse the nuts, then transfer them to a food processor or blender with 3 tablespoons of water.

Process until smooth and creamy, adding more water if necessary to help everything along.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days (or freeze it for up to 6 months).

To make sunflower seed butter: Soak 1 cup of raw sunflower seeds in water overnight; drain and rinse before using.

Transfer the soaked seeds to a food processor or high-speed blender with 3 tablespoons of cold water.

Process until smooth, adding more liquid if necessary for easier blending.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days (or freeze it for up to 6 months).

Either way you go about making your nut butter spread, serve some alongside your leftover polenta as a snack or dessert!

Conclusion

The next time you make polenta, don’t let the leftovers go to waste.

Try one of these recipes or get creative with your own!

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