This vegan polenta recipe makes a great plant-based breakfast or a vegan appetizer! Here, grilled gluten-free polenta cakes are stuffed with cilantro and coconut giving it a delicious flavor. So if you are looking for quick vegan gluten-free recipes, then try these Polenta and Cilantro Savory Bites. Stir-frying polenta brings out the true flavor of this Italian dish.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ancient Harvest. All opinions are mine alone.
What is gluten-free Polenta?
This was the first question 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.
It's a tasty alternative to wheat-based staple foods as it's made from corn, making it naturally gluten-free. It has a soft creamy texture and tastes like corn but has no strong flavor.
Wow! I had never heard of this before. My knowledge of Italian food was limited to pasta and pizza. So much for my knowledge on the subject of Italian cuisine! Since I had never worked with this 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. One was the Sun-Dried Tomato & Garlic flavor and the other was the Traditional Italian Polenta.
Is Polenta healthy?
Yes. For those looking for gluten-free dishes or plant-based breakfast ideas, this is a good option.
- It is naturally vegan and gluten-free.
- It contains a good amount of protein and fiber to help keep you satiated for longer.
- It is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates.
- It's 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.
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 it is creamy, it’s similar to grits. 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.
Ways to use Polenta cakes
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. 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. 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. 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. The options are endless!
Try something new
I wanted to cook up something totally new with it 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. That's actually 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 it, 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, it's very important for any host to serve some lip-smacking appetizers at a party. Trust me, this dish has that potential to WOW your guests and to garner all praises. This is such a simple recipe that you can even serve it for breakfast or a family brunch!
How to make this vegan polenta recipe
Super delicious vegan gluten-free recipes like this are very easy to make. This recipe is so easy to make that you can even ask your older kids to help you make it.
- First, we need to prep the gluten-free Polenta. For that, slice the Heat-and-Eat Polenta into ½” thick rounds. Add oil in a grill pan. Grill the slices evenly on both sides. Remove from the grill and place in a bowl lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
- 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 chilies 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 this plant-based breakfast immediately with some green chutney, or ketchup. Since these are bite-sized, they also make a great party appetizer.
Tips to make this plant-based breakfast
Use tubed polenta for this recipe. You can even bake or broil the slices in the oven if stir-frying polenta is not a preferred option for you. If you want additional flavor, sprinkle Chaat masala and onion powder while grilling.
Fresh coconut, desiccated coconut or shredded coconut can be used here. You can prepare the masala filling in advance and only grill the polenta and assemble this dish when needed. This way, you can have this snack ready very quickly when needed!
You can use this stuffing in any other recipe as well. Also, if you don't have polenta, you can substitute it with grilled paneer slices. Here is another vegan recipe that you can try - Iranian Style Gluten Free Polenta Cake Stir Fry.
Some vegan gluten-free recipes for you
These recipes are so versatile that you can serve them as plant-based breakfast or as snacks!
- Cilantro Poha
- Sabudana Khichdi
- Dill Jowar Flatbread
- Potato Bajra Pancake
- Raspberry Energy Bites
- Moth Beans Sprouts Salad
If you’ve tried this Polenta Cilantro Savory Bites or any other recipe on the blog please let me know how it went by commenting below, I love hearing from you!
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Polenta Cilantro Savory Bites
To prep Polenta
- 18 oz Heat & Eat Gluten-Free Polenta
- Oil to grill Polenta slices
To prepare the stuffing
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste
- 1 jalapeno finely chopped
- ½ cup cilantro chopped
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
To prep Polenta
- Slice the Heat-and-Eat Polenta into ½” thick rounds.
- Add oil 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 oil.
To prepare the stuffing
- Heat the Olive oil in a pan.
- Sauté the minced garlic and ginger paste for about 30 seconds.
- Then add the chopped jalapeno and Cilantro. Fry for another 45 seconds.
- 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 grilled Polenta slice and cover it with another slice to create a mini sandwich. Serve immediately with some green chutney, or ketchup.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information on my Affiliate and Advertising Policy, please click here.
Scarlet | Family Focus Blog says
These savory polenta snacks sound so good! I can't wait to try them.
Patty at Spoonabilities says
I didn't even realize you could buy ready-made polenta like this. These bites look so delicious and am adding the ingredients to my list for my next shopping run! Yummy!
Jessica Formicola says
We make these all the time and OMG are they good! Thanks for sharing such great recipes!
Andrea Metlika says
I am a fan of Polenta and this with the cilantro/coconut filling looks marvelous.
What a fun way to serve polenta! I've always only used plain polenta before but now I can't wait to find the flavored ones you mention in this post. They sound so good!
yes, they all are good. Thank you
This is such a genius way to serve polenta, turning them into sandwiches. 🙂
Glad you liked it
Jacque Hooper says
What a great tasting and beautiful appetizer! This will be perfect for my niece's graduation party this weekend!
What a fun appetizer! I love the addition of coconut!
Anita @ Daily Cooking Quest says
Such a creative way to use polenta. I would never have tried such a fun recipe otherwise. Thank you for sharing. 🙂
Diana Reis says
These are so delicious. I love that you made them vegan. Polenta is so frequently served with cheese, and this is a nice change.
Amy | The Cook Report says
I love this idea, polenta is so delicious!
Boy, these look really tasty and might make for good grad party appetizers—my current quest. I will pin this recipe for later.
What a clever idea for using polenta! These looks so delicious, yum!!
Sara Welch says
This will make a great appetizer for my end of the school year party for the parents! Looks devine!
these are perfect for my next potluck, I needed a fun thing to bring and this fits the bill! I'll have to try to find this brand of polenta near me to try!
Polenta is so good! I like that you used it as a base for this delicious appetizer.
These are soo cute and perfect for someone like me who is looking GF alternatives. I also love all the seasoning on the inside. These are definitely on my list to make over the weekend! 🙂
Andrea Metlika says
I love Polenta and this one sounds amazing.
WOW so creative! I love this, definitely going to try this out. Looks like it'd be perfect on a party platter.
Jacque Hooper says
What a great appetizer! I've never made or served something like this before, but this will be great for Memorial Day, indeed!
I am a polenta junkie! These would be so unique as appies for my next party!
I like polenta, and these "muffins" look amazing! What a great idea for an appetizer or snack!
Such a savory appetizer! I will be making these for my niece's baby shower this weekend, indeed
We love polenta here. These look delicious even served open faced! Yum.
Looks like a great way to make a kind of gluten free "toast" - the topping/filling sounds tasty too.
The Anthony Kitchen says
How fun and easy are these appetizers! These will be perfect for entertaining at any party or gathering.