Polenta Squares

May 16, 2021

I recently have a new found appreciation for polenta. It’s a very diverse grain and can be ready in minutes. Creamy polenta is one of the most simple side dishes that you can make and is perfect for saucy dishes.It’s the perfect side when you’re bored with potatoes or rice! Polenta fries make a great appetizer when paired with marinara sauce or a spicy aioli. My favorite way to have polenta is set into squares and then pan fried. Here are two easy, weeknight meals that you can whip up in 30 minutes after a busy day at work. (If you plan ahead)

Polenta Squares

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


For the polenta

  • Instant polenta (not the polenta log)
  • Water
  • Salt

For Mexican Style:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 packet of your favorite taco seasoning (we like hot and spicy)
  • Mexican cheese, shredded
  • lettuce, shredded
  • tomatoes, diced
  • sour cream
  • taco or favorite hot sauce

For Italian Style:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • Jar of your favorite marinara sauce (we like Mezzetta)
  • fresh basil leaves, julienned
  • fresh grated parmesan


For the Polenta (the day before or at least a few hours before you need it)

  1. Butter a large casserole dish (we use our 15in pyrex) set aside.
  2. Make your polenta as directed on the package. We usually use 1 1/2 cups of polenta and 6 cups of water. Be careful while stirring, it can spurt and bubble. No one wants hot polenta in their eye!
  3. Once the polenta looks smooth and is starting to come away from the side of the pot. It’s ready. Pour your polenta into your prepared casserole dish. Once it’s cooled a bit, transfer to your fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.

The next day:

  1. Brown your beef in a skillet, breaking it up into pieces. Depending on the style that you are having either add in your taco seasoning (and water according to package) or your marinara sauce. Let it simmer and thicken up for a few minutes.
  2. While your beef is cooking cut the polenta into squares. Heat up a flat iron pan or large skillet over medium high, brush with olive oil.
  3. When the pan seems hot enough (the oil should not be smoking) place the polenta on it. Brush tops with oil. Cook for 5-7 minutes, check to see if it’s lightly browned before flipping and cooking an additional 4-5 minutes
  4. When both sides are browned to your liking, remove to a plate and top with meat and additional toppings.