Looking for an easy and quick fun appetizer? Then try these Polenta and Cilantro Savory Bites. Stuffed with special masala, they are yummy, vegan and gluten-free.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ancient Harvest. All opinions are mine alone.
What is Polenta? This was the first thing that popped up in my head when Ancient Harvest reached out to me to collaborate on this product of theirs. While I have been a regular consumer of Ancient Harvest products, Polenta was something I had never heard about before. So I did what anyone else would do – practiced some Google-fu! I got to know that Polenta is an easy-to-please classic Northern Italian staple dish made from stone-ground dried and coarsely ground yellow corn, that can be used to make sweet or savory dishes. The kernels used for Polenta come from flint corn, which is a hearty variety of corn originally found in Italy. Wow! I had never heard of any of this before. My knowledge of Italian food was limited to pastas and pizzas. So much for my knowledge on the subject of Italian cuisine! Since I had never worked with Polenta before, I was pretty excited to try my hand at creating something new and different for the brand. Actually, I think, it really helped that I had never cooked or tasted it before. It was like a blank slate for me and I was not limited to a set of ideas. Ancient Harvest sent me two varieties of Polenta. One was the Sun Dried Tomato & Garlic flavor and the other was the Traditional Italian Polenta.
Why go for Ancient Harvest tubed Polenta? Ancient Harvest’s organic, ready-to-heat Polenta is versatile and can be baked, sautéed, fried, grilled, served creamy, and in many more ways. When polenta is creamy, it’s similar to grits. You can create a delicious, savory bowl with poached eggs (if you eat eggs) and veggies, or create a sweet breakfast bowl with summer berries, maple syrup and nuts. I am definitely going to try this one. Substitute creamy polenta for a side of mashed potatoes, or make it a center-of-the-plate occasion by adding veggies, protein and sauces on top. Bake or Broil- Create polenta toast and top with your favorite spreads or give polenta pizza a try. (Great for gluten-free summer appetizers). Create savory polenta stacks or ratatouille. Bake or broil in rounds and top with cheese, figs, dressings and more for impressive summer appetizers. Fry- Dice and fry the polenta into cubes (polenta crouton) and pop them in your favorite summer-time salad for a little texture variance. Pan-fry to make polenta pancakes. Cooking it is clearly very easy and these are just some ideas (not limited) for you to try with it. You can easily find it at all leading grocery stores. Plus they only need to be refrigerated once opened.
Not to mention polenta contains a good amount of protein and fiber to help keep you satiated for longer. For people looking for gluten-free dishes, polenta is a good option. It is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates. Polenta is naturally low in fat and can be eaten as part of a heart-healthy diet plus it contains essential minerals and is a good source of vitamin A. I wanted to cook up something totally new with Polenta and that is why I came up with this fusion dish. The stuffing I have used in this recipe is a spin off from a popular Maharashtrian (State in India) fried snack called Pudachi Wadi. Its a fried snack where the dough balls are flattened and stuffed with cilantro coconut mixture. When I visited India last month, I got a chance to taste this snack at a local restaurant. I had been wanting to try this ever since. When I was asked to create a recipe with Polenta, I thought of merging these two dishes and create one firecracker dish! What does one want first when they enter a party besides a good drink of course? Finger food! Therefore, its very important for any host to serve some lip smacking appetizers at the party. Trust me, this dish has that potential to WOW your guests and to garner all praises.
Here is how you can make these super delicious Vegan & Gluten-free Polenta & Cilantro Savory Bites. First we need to prepare the Polenta. For that, slice the Heat-and-Eat Polenta into ½” thick rounds. Melt butter in a grill pan. Grill the Polenta slices evenly on both sides. Remove from the grill and place in a bowl lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess butter. If you want additional flavor, sprinkle Chaat masala and onion powder while grilling the polenta. The next step is to prepare the masala filling. Heat some Olive oil in a pan. Sauté some minced garlic and ginger paste for about 30 seconds. Then add some chopped green chillies and cilantro. Fry for another 45 seconds or so. Lastly add some shredded coconut, poppy seeds and salt. Continue to sauté for an additional minute. Take the mixture off the flame and keep it aside for now. To assemble, spread the filling on a Polenta slice and cover it with another slice to create a mini sandwich. Serve immediately with some green chutney, or ketchup. Since these are bite sized, they make a great party appetizer. You can prepare the masala filling in advance and grill the polenta and assemble the sandwich when needed. This way, you can have this dish ready very quickly when guests show up!
Here is another kind of dish that you can make with Polenta – Iranian Style Gluten Free Polenta Cake Stir Fry. If you do try this recipe, please do share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. This will keep me motivated to develop more interesting recipes. Click a pic and post it with the hashtag #cookiliciousveg . I would love to see your pictures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!
- 18 oz Heat & Eat Gluten Free Polenta
- Butter to grill Polenta slices
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp ginger paste
- 2 green chillies
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup shredded fresh coconut
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- salt as required
- Slice the Heat-and-Eat Polenta into ½” thick rounds.
- Melt butter in a grill pan
- Grill the Polenta slices evenly on both sides.
- Remove from the grill and place in a bowl lined
with a paper towel to absorb any excess butter.
- Heat the Olive oil in a pan.
- Sauté the minced garlic and ginger paste for about 30 seconds
- Then add the chopped green chillies and Cilantro. Fry for another 45 seconds or so
- Lastly add the shredded coconut and poppy seeds and salt. Continue to sauté for an additional minute
- Take the mixture off the flame and keep it aside for now.
- To assemble, spread the filling on a Polenta slice and cover it with another slice
to create a mini sandwich. Serve immediately with some green chutney, or
Green chillies are usually available at your nearest Indian store, or you can use 1 finely
chopped Jalapeno instead.
If you are unable to find shredded coconut, you can use unsweetened desiccated
coconut instead, which should (again) be available at any grocery store
I use the hashtag #cookiliciousveg on all social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) so you can get access to what's cooking in my kitchen. To stay updated, you can either subscribe to our newsletter  (free gift if you do so!) or follow me on my social media Instagram , Facebook and Twitter! There is even a Pinterest board called Cookilicious Recipes  from where you can pin the recipes you love.
Semolina Vegetable Bites, Fried Besan (Chickpea Flour) & Potato Squares Recipe, Edamame Hara Bhara Kebab, Cheese, Rice & Methi Kebab With Tater Tot Stuffing, South Indian Medu Wada | Lentil Fritters, Black Rice & Chickpea Fritters, Masala Dal Vada/Lentil Fritters, Zucchini Bhajiya/Fritters, Moong Dal Bhajiya/Lentil Fritters, Paneer Cheese Corn Balls, Beet Leaves Sabudana Wada, Dill ke Pakode/Dill Croquettes, Dal and Poha Vada, Copycat Olive Garden Cheesy Fried Ravioli , Baked Bread & Chutney Rolls and Bombay Special Vada Pav are some snacks you can try for your next party!