Easy Vegan Polenta (Super Creamy!)

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Bowl of vegan polenta with fresh herbs and vegan parmesan

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.

Vegan butter, polenta, water, and sea salt

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!

Pouring corn grits into a pot of water

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!

Stirring a pot of polenta

We hope you LOVE this polenta! It’s:

Warming
Creamy
Comforting
Balanced
Savory
& Versatile!

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!

Pan of vegan polenta topped with vegan butter, parsley, and vegan parmesan

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!

Bowls of vegan polenta next to a small bowl of vegan parmesan

Easy Vegan Polenta (Super Creamy!)

How to make vegan polenta in 1 pot with 3 ingredients! Creamy, comforting, versatile, and so delicious!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Holding the sides of a bowl of vegan polenta
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 (Servings)
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 5 Days

Ingredients

POLENTA

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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!

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with Miyoko’s vegan butter.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 185 Carbohydrates: 32 g Protein: 3 g Fat: 5 g Saturated Fat: 4 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 471 mg Potassium: 52 mg Fiber: 2 g Sugar: 0 g Vitamin A: 0 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 1 mg Iron: 0 mg

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My Rating:




  1. Megan says

    I liked it better then second day, when I added more liquid. First day was too dry. So next time I will add more liquid the first time.
    Otherwise it has a great flavor with the veg.

  2. Deborah says

    So easy and delicious, thank you! I added a bit of smoked paprika for fun. Cooked mushrooms and zucchini in walnut oil with italian seasoning as the veggie on top.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it and love your modifications! Thank you for sharing, Deborah! xo

  3. VICKY says

    I was hesitant about this one. I grew up eating polenta and this recipe seemed just like following the package’s instructions. Also since I’ve been more on the vegan side, polenta without cheese didn’t sound appealing. Well I was wrong! Adding more water and cooking it slow made a huge difference. And it was great without cheese! I made it with roasted asparagus and cherry tomatoes. Such a quick and delicious meal!

  4. Christina says

    Super easy to make. I followed the recipe as written, using Miyoko’s oat butter. The result was creamy and delicious. We served it with sautéed asparagus and tomatoes. A crowd pleaser.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      It’s quite essential for flavor and texture, but you can omit and sub broth. Still add the vegan parmesan for best flavor though!

  5. Krista McHale says

    I grew up eating this for breakfast (only we called it cornmeal mush). Now my kids love it for breakfast, too (even though their lazy mama makes it in the microwave). If you flatten the leftovers into a shallow dish and chill, you can slice pieces off and warm them up on a non-stick skillet or in the toaster oven, then top with shredded cheese or syrup. Yummmmm. Thank you for posting the recipe for one of my personal comfort foods. ❤

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Lovely! Thanks for sharing, Krista! We have a similar recipe for polenta fries on the blog today =)

  6. Louise says

    Happened to make polenta last night for breakfast today. Seasoned with nutritional yeast, turmeric and garlic, poured into loaf pan and refrigerated overnight. Sliced, fried, and served on English Muffins with our slow cooked tomato “jam”, chopped lettuce, and red pepper hummus, for a Polenta “egg” sandwich. We’d recently made a trip to a local mill for fresh, while we waited, ground corn and have been enjoying polenta porridge sweetened for breakfast, cooked with veggie broth as a side, and flattened into a crust for a chickpea flour quiche. This is great comfort food. Interesting history. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Susan says

    I love your recipes. This looks like something I would love to try, but I am WFPBNO. I use zero added oils and butters. What can I use instead of vegan butter?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I’d say skip and add a bit of broth in its place. Then still add the vegan parmesan for flavor!