Polenta fries are a total treat, and easy to make at home in a healthy way using this recipe below. They work as fries with ketchup, as croutons in a soup or chili, and can even serve as a non-traditional nacho base with toppings on top. This recipe is super easy and as always gluten-free, dairy free, and made with whole ingredients.
Two things I learned while researching for this recipe: (1) polenta has more nutritional value than I expected. Not enough that you'd want to eat it every day, but enough that it's not totally empty calories. Great news, because it justifies making and eating these delicious fries every once in awhile. (2) traditional polenta recipes call for a lot of oil, butter, cream, and cheese. This was worrying at first--does polenta actually taste like nothing, and polenta fries are delicious because they are fried sticks of dairy goodness?
Luckily the answer to question # 2 is that polenta on it's own does not taste terrible. With the simple ingredients below it has a somewhat nutty flavor with the kick of the black pepper. The texture is great because it's crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Also, since these are baked and not fried they're not going to derail your healthy eating habits like real french fries might. We've eaten these a few times now, but one of the best ways was paired with my Barbecue Baked Beans recipe. See the recipe below--super easy, but you do need to take some time to wait for them to set!
Medium Quick, Medium Prep
Makes 4+ servings
What You Need:
One cup polenta
2 cups cashew milk
I blended two cups of water with 1/3 cup cashews for this
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
In a saucepan, combine all of your ingredients. Stir non-stop over medium heat until everything is well combined. You'll know the mixture is done when you can stir it into a heap in the middle of the pan and it doesn't immediately return to a liquid shape. This sounds time intensive but it's a matter of minutes.
Transfer to a greased baking sheet and make a square shape. You want these to be about 3/4" thick, so you might not fill the whole pan. It's very easy to make an 'edge' at any point as the mixture is stiff and gets more stiff as it sets.
Put this in the fridge for at least two hours.
After two hours, using a thin spatula cut the sheet of polenta into 'fry' shapes. You may want to transfer these to a large baking sheet as you do flip them once when cooking.
Put your polenta fries n an oven heated to 350 degrees. Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping once.
One other trick you could consider for these, depending on how crispy they get on the top, is putting them under the broiler for a few minutes. Another great thing about these fries is they save well without getting too soggy, so they make for tasty leftovers!