This is the first recipe in a series of Healthy Comfort Foods for the Holidays! Corn polenta is full of complex carbohydrates, which will help stave off sugar cravings during the holiday season.
This is a soft-cooked polenta recipe that calls for more liquid than the typical polenta recipe. The result is a very soft, sweet, and creamy dish (with no milk or cream added!) that is easy to digest and popular with children and adults. I use 5 cups water to 1 cup polenta. Many recipes only use 2-3 cups water, leaving the polenta undercooked and gritty.
I recommend using a flame tamer or heat diffuser to prevent burning. If you don’t have one, just be sure to use a heavy-bottomed pot (like an enamel-coated cast iron pot) on a very low flame.
At home we often eat polenta for breakfast with a sprinkle of iron-rich shiso powder and a side of greens or miso soup. But we also have it for lunch and dinner, perhaps topped with pesto, or eaten with a side of beans and avocado. It is an easy, nutritious item for child’s lunchbox that you can keep warm in a thermos, and leftovers are great heated up the next day.
To warm up leftover polenta, heat up enough water to cover a small saucepan until simmering. Add the amount you’d like to heat up, turn to low, cover, and steam for 2 or 3 minutes. Turn heat off and let sit until ready to eat. Stir to mix any remaining water in the bottom of the pan. For a greener variation, add some chopped broccoli or kale greens to the simmering water before adding the polenta.
I recently made this dish for a friend who is undergoing cancer treatment and needs foods that are nourishing and easy to digest. She loved it!
- 1 cup dry corn polenta
- 5 cups spring or filtered water, divided
- ½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt, or more to taste
- kernels from 1 ear sweet corn or 1 cup frozen sweet corn kernels
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or grass-fed butter (optional)
- a few pinches shiso powder
- In a heavy-bottomed pot, whisk together polenta, 3 cups water, and sea salt.
- Turn heat to medium. Stir constantly while polenta comes to a boil to prevent sticking or clumping.
- Gradually add the remaining 2 cups of water and sweet corn, stirring constantly. Turn heat down to prevent polenta from splattering.
- Lower heat, cover, and simmer with a flame tamer beneath pot for 20-30 minutes, or until polenta is thick, soft, and creamy.
- Stir in olive oil or butter, if desired. Season with additional sea salt if needed.
- Serve with a sprinkle of shiso powder.
- Add finely chopped broccoli to the polenta during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
- Serve with sautéed zucchini, mushrooms, or kale.
- Make in a pressure cooker by adding polenta, 5 cups water, sea salt, and corn all at once. Put pressure cooker lid on and bring up to pressure on medium heat. Turn to low and cook for 5 minutes more. Turn off heat and let come down from pressure naturally. Remove lid and stir in olive oil or butter, if desired.