7 Best Substitutes For Polenta


Polenta is one of the many products from corn that is perfect for making carbohydrate-rich dishes. This type of cornmeal is one of the many most favorite comfort foods during winter like hot porridge polenta, you can have it savory or sweetened. It’s also perfect for making bread loaves and other baked dishes.

The best substitutes for polenta are oatmeal, mashed potatoes, sweet mashed potatoes, cream of wheat, rice risotto, pureed cauliflower, and pureed pumpkin.

Substitutes For Polenta

In this article, we’ll show you how you can substitute polenta with dishes.

1. Oatmeal

Polenta is also common as a hearty breakfast dish. Especially when topped with milk or cream and fresh fruits. It’s actually the same as oatmeal. Oatmeal, when cooked right, it turns into a soft porridge which also makes it a perfect healthy breakfast meal. Replace it with 1 cup of oatmeal over 1 cup of polenta, good for 2 servings.

Use oatmeal instead of polenta for breakfast dishes and cook it extra long so it would be as soft and creamy as polenta. Add more milk as you wish to achieve extra creaminess to the oatmeal. Then, feel free to add dried or fresh fruits on top to add a hint of crunch to your breakfast.

2. Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes

For savory dishes, you would definitely like to use potatoes to substitute polenta. Polenta when paired with savory meats and vegetables is a perfect lunch or dinner on a rainy day. If you’re craving for some but don’t have any, mashed potatoes can definitely do the trick.

Potatoes are readily available in the market and I’m pretty sure most home kitchens never miss out on potatoes. Get the organic ones when you can to get rid of bad chemicals from pesticides. Also, there are powdered mashed potatoes that you can also get in the market for more convenience and time savings.

3 pieces of medium-sized potatoes can actually make a heaping bowl of mashed potatoes. That can already substitute a cup of polenta for any meals. Top it with beef stew, steaks, or any kind of vegetables to complete the meal.

3. Sweet Mashed Potatoes

Sweet Mashed Potatoes

If you like a healthier option, lesser carbs, and higher fiber, opt for sweet potatoes instead. Just like the regular potatoes, sweet potatoes can be a perfect alternative for polenta. The good thing about it is you can use sweet potatoes for both savory and sweetened dishes.

You can have it for breakfast, top it with nuts and dried fruits, or have it as a lunch choice where you top it with cream and crispy fried bacon. It’s also readily available in the market and very easy to find in all seasons. However, packaged sweet mashed potatoes are quite rare, unlike the regular potatoes.

Use 2 large potatoes to boil and mash to substitute a cup of polenta. Feel free how you would like to prepare it. Make it a breakfast dish, a dessert, or maybe a savory carb for lunch or dinner.

4. Cream of Wheat

One of my biggest discoveries along my kitchen journey with instant food is the cream of wheat. It’s like a powdered version of the oatmeal but much more creamy and delectable. It’s actually a brand itself that comes with different flavors from savory to sweet kinds. They all have it!

I call this a survival food because of its longer shelf life. Even though it’s instant food, it’s still packed with nutrients like fiber because it comes from wheat. Also, it’s easy to prepare, all you need is boiling water and some toppings if you like some added crunch to it.

A cup of cream of wheat can substitute 1 cup of polenta. You can prepare it for breakfast meals and for savory meals. I always treat it like oatmeal which I add varieties of nuts and even extra cream to make it creamier. For savory dishes, I like substituting it for steaks instead of using polenta or mashed potatoes.

5. Rice Porridge

Another carb substitute perfect for polenta is no less than rice. Rice is a very diverse type of carb that can be cooked savory or for desserts. You can get powdered rice or rice flour but I prefer using the actual rice and making porridge whenever I’m craving for polenta. Most of all, it’s one of the most accessible carbs that you can get in the market plus it’s a cheaper alternative.

Rice porridge is very flexible when it comes to adding flavors. It’s a nice breakfast treat during winter by adding some cocoa, honey, and milk. You’ll have a warm cup of cocoa rice porridge. For the savory side, try sauteing chicken, garlic, ginger, and rice then boil it until it turns into a porridge. It’s an excellent meal especially if you’re sick and can’t eat any solid food.

Rice absorbs more water and doubles in size pretty quickly. So when substituting, consider using half a cup of rice over a cup of polenta. If you picked a type of rice that’s stubborn to grow, feel free to add more content to the porridge to increase the portion.

6. Pureed Cauliflower

Pureed Cauliflower

When I’m trying to watch my carb intake, I usually run for cauliflower for a healthier carb source. It has grown its popularity amongst diets such as vegan, vegetarian, and paleo. I’m not surprised because the vegetable itself is packed with nutrients and low in calories and unhealthy fats.

Whether you shop in farmer’s markets or grocery stores the veggie displays will never fail to sell cauliflowers. It’s a common sight at the veggie aisle and it’s impossible for it to go missing for just a day. Quite accessible and inexpensive.

To prepare the cauliflower, cut into small pieces and boil until soft. Then, the process in the food processor to puree the cauliflower. It almost resembles hummus when pureed because of its creaminess. This is a perfect polenta substitute for pairing with savory stews and grilled meats in a healthy way.

7. Mashed Pumpkin

Mashed Pumpkin

Last but not least on our list is the pumpkin. When following this substitute for polenta, it actually resembles the sweet mashed potatoes. Except that pumpkins can be creamier. Also low in calories but high in nutrients, it’s no surprise why it made it in our list.

During the fall season, pumpkins are abundant that come in all sizes and shapes. Take advantage of a good harvest and try using it over your polenta recipes. It’s best to make porridge for breakfast or lunch then mix it with a bit of rice and meat. It’s also good as a savory pairing for other meats and vegetables.

Substitute 1-2 cups of pureed pumpkin over 1 cup of polenta. Double the serving because pumpkins are lighter compared to polenta. Make it more filling as well by adding chunks of pumpkin instead of pureeing all of it.

Now you’ve got a list of perfect polenta substitutes, start recreating your polenta recipes by using one of the items on the list. Satisfy those cravings by trying out something different but effective.

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