Crispy polenta fries are heaven! In 20 minutes or less, you can eat what tastes like french fries but is made from polenta! Crispy on the outside and soft and delicate on the inside, this is my new favorite recipe!
Wandering through the store yesterday, I found a Polenta cylinder in the grocery store's Italian section. Although I'm not a fan of creamy polenta, I recently ordered grilled polenta in a restaurant, which was wonderful. So, I decided to try making polenta fries today.
Initially, I planned to grill the polenta and create an entree, but the temperature outside was 115 degrees, and I couldn't ask my husband to go outside and be the grill master.
Since I'm new to cooking with polenta, I unwrapped the round cylinder and was surprised by its firm and sticky exterior.
What is Polenta?
Polenta is a northern Italian dish made from coarsely ground corn. Freshly cooked polenta is soft and creamy, similar to grits or porridge. And it's gluten-free! Many people enjoy polenta as a substitute for rice or pasta for dinner or as a breakfast alternative to cereal or oatmeal.
When polenta cools, it solidifies enough to be sliced. Then choose to grill, air fry, bake, or saute. I couldn't help but think of how I could use polenta in future recipes. Next time, I plan to cut it into cubes and add them to my grilled vegetable kabobs.
So, don't be surprised if you see polenta a lot in the next few months.
Although you can make your own polenta, I took a shortcut and bought a tube of premade organic polenta a Trader Joe's.
- Organic polenta: I love Trader Joe's for all their vegan-friendly food. But organic polenta is readily available in grocery stores in the pasta section. Also, look for premade polenta in a solid tube.
- Garlic Salt: I love garlic salt. It's a lovely combination of garlic and sea salt.
- Cumin: Rich and hearty, earthy and warm, with an edge of citrus, cumin adds instant depth to any dish.
- Pepper: I prefer fresh ground pepper for a stronger peppery taste.
- Parsley: Parsley adds a fresh taste to fries and looks fabulous when plating food.
- Sriracha Ketchup: I add a little Sriracha to my ketchup for a little kick, but if you don't like spicy food, skip the Sriracha and choose your favorite way to dip your fries.
- Make your polenta from scratch, chill it, and cut it into fries.
- I like different spice blends like rosemary, lemon pepper, basil, and Italian seasoning.
- But you can change the taste of your polenta fries with any seasoning combination; make them Mexican flavored by sprinkling with chili powder or chipotle powder.
- Add any fresh herbs to enhance the flavor of the seasonings chosen.
- Instead of ketchup, try dipping polenta fries in vegan yum yum sauce, vegan southwest dressing, or vegan ranch dressing.
How to Make the Fries
First, choose the size of fries you like. I love steak fries, so I started by cutting the polenta tube lengthwise in half. Then, I cut both sections into equal-sized strips. Then cut those in half to make steak fries.
Because polenta is sticky and wet, it is the perfect canvas for seasonings and herbs to stick to the fries without using any oil.
Choose your spice combination and sprinkle away, or place the polenta fries in a large bowl and gently toss them in your favorite seasoning blend.
Next, choose if you want to bake or air fry. I air-fried mine because I'm in love with my air fryer. And it takes half the time.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Place polenta fries on a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Season fries, or add pre-seasoned fries, leaving space between each fry.
- Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with parsley if desired.
- Serve with Sriracha ketchup for your favorite vegan dip.
- Preheat the air-fryer to 350 degrees.
- Place the seasoned polenta fries in an air fryer basket, in a single layer, or on an air fryer pan in a single layer.
- Air fry for 15 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from the air fryer and serve with Sriracha ketchup or your favorite vegan dip.
Although I could eat polenta fries as a meal, I served them with a tofu burger and a mango salad. But to make them a meal, I suggest topping them with vegan chili, vegan nacho cheese, and a bunch of veggies to make polenta nachos.
And, if you have any extras, they warm up well in a microwave to munch on the next day for lunch.
Polenta fries taste just like french fries with a slightly sweet flavor. They are crunchy on the outside and soft and delicate on the inside, just like french fries.
Polenta is high in protein and fiber but compared to rice, pasta, or potatoes, it's much lower in calories and fat yet still provides a source of complex carbs that are much-needed for energy.
Like dried polenta, pre-cooked polenta tubes are generally made entirely from corn and are often gluten-free. However, sometimes people add dairy to polenta recipes, so when ordering in a restaurant, always ask.
- Although I made steak fries, which are thicker than regular french fries, you can make them as thin or thick as you desire. However, if you make the fries thinner, you also need to reduce the cooking time in half. The same is true for making them larger; you must add additional time.
- Most people suggest drying the polenta before cutting and seasoning. However, because I cook without oil, I liked the stickiness and used it to make the seasoning stick to the fries naturally.
- If you have a basket air fryer, remember that the first batch takes longer to cook than the subsequent batches.
- Preheat the oven to 325 if batch cooking the fries in an air fryer to keep the cooked ones warm.
If you love french fries, polenta fries will be your favorite new way to enjoy fries! In 15 minutes, you will be enjoying crunchy polenta fries!
Do you love polenta fries? Tell us by giving us a 5-star rating and commenting below!
- 1 package pre-made organic polenta (17 ounce tube)
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
- ½ cup organic ketchup
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha
Cutting the Polenta
- Remove the wrapping around the polenta
- Slice the tube lengthwise evenly
- Using a sharp knife, cut equal siized 1 inch strips from each large section.
- Now, cut all the long strips in half.
- Combine the seasonings and either sprinkle directly on the polent fries, or toss the cut polenta in a bowl with seasoning.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Place fries on the baking sheet in a single layer leaving a small space between each fry.
- Bake for 30 minutes until crispy.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with parsley.
- Preheat air frier to 350 degrees.
- Place seasoned fries in the air fryer basket or on an air frying pan.
- Cook for 15 minutes until fries are crispy.
- Remove from the airfryer and sprinkle with parsley.
- In a small bowl whisk Sriracha and ketchup together
- Do not dry the polenta as instructed on the package. The wetness provides a natural way for the seasoning to stick without using oil.
- f making thinner polenta fries, reduce time by ½ of cooking time in both the oven and air fryer.
- If making your own polenta, it is necessary to refrigerate the polenta until it is firm (overnight is best)
- Make sure to cut the polenta fries the same size to cool at the same rate.
- If the batch is cooking in an air fryer, I suggest preheating the oven to 325 degrees and preparing a baking sheet to keep the cooked fries warm while cooking the other batches.
- Remember, if batch cooking, the first batch always takes longer than the subsequent batches because the sir fryer is hotter after the first batch.
- If you don't enjoy ketchup, consider vegan yum yum sauce, vegan southwest dressing, or vegan ranch dressing for dipping.
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂