If you’ve never tried polenta, you’re in for a treat. In this simple, step-by-step tutorial, we show how to make perfect, creamy (vegan-friendly!) polenta every time — just 1 pot and 3 ingredients required! Let us show you how it’s done.
Origins of Polenta
While polenta is commonly known today as a corn-based product, that wasn’t always the case. The word “polenta” comes from the Latin word “puls,” which is a porridge made from a grain called farro. It was a staple food for ancient peoples living in Italy, and other grains were used to make this porridge-style dish as well. At that time, corn was not yet grown in the region.
By the 1600s, corn was introduced to Italy from the Americas. Because it grew easily and was affordable and delicious, corn became a popular ingredient for making polenta. You can take a deeper dive into the history and learn about variations of this dish here.
Though often made with dairy products such as milk, cream, or cheese, our inspired version is plant-based but equally creamy and delicious!
How to Make Vegan Polenta
This recipe is as easy as boiling water, slowly adding corn grits, and cooking into a soft porridgy consistency. Salt provides flavor and vegan butter enhances the polenta’s natural creaminess.
Then all that’s left to do is shovel this bowl of creamy goodness into your mouth!
We hope you LOVE this polenta! It’s:
What to Serve with Polenta
It’s perfect as a side, especially when served along with other Italian-inspired dishes such as our Easy Vegan Zucchini Boats, Chickpea Caesar Salad (30 Minutes!), 1-Pan Tempeh Bolognese, or Balsamic-Marinated Portobello Pizzas.
Or enjoy as a base for your favorite toppings (such as sautéed veggies, slow roasted tomatoes, vegan parmesan, and fresh herbs) to make it a main!
More Comforting Side Dishes
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Easy Vegan Polenta (Super Creamy!)
- 4 cups water
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup corn polenta (sometimes labeled as corn grits)
- 2-3 Tbsp vegan butter (we like Earth Balance or Miyoko’s)
FOR SERVING optional
- Sautéed veggies (such as asparagus or wilted greens)
- Roasted garlic
- Slow roasted tomatoes
- Fresh basil or parsley
- Vegan parmesan cheese
- Vegan butter
- In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil.
- Once boiling, add in salt and stir to dissolve, then turn heat to medium.
- While whisking, slowly and continuously pour polenta into your water over the course of about 1 minute. Take it slow! This ensures that there will be no lumps in your cooked polenta.
- Once all of your polenta is in the water, continue whisking until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Then turn heat down to low and cover. The polenta should be gently bubbling but not fully simmering. Set a timer for 30 minutes and be sure to whisk the polenta every 5 minutes or so to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- After 30 minutes, test your polenta. It should be soft and porridgy, with no lumps or graininess. If you want your polenta slightly thicker, let it cook for another 10 minutes.
- Turn off heat and stir in vegan butter. Taste again and add more salt or butter if you want more savory or salty flavor. Enjoy!
- Polenta is a great base for sautéed veggies like asparagus or wilted greens, or with roasted garlic and baby tomatoes. Optionally, garnish with fresh basil or parsley, vegan parmesan, and/or more vegan butter.
- Leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding more water and/or vegan butter as needed to rehydrate. Or, save leftovers for making polenta fries!
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