25 Best Side Dishes To Serve With Polenta

Polenta is a versatile dish originating from Northern and Central Italy. Historically, Polenta was made from different grains like buckwheat and white or yellow maize. Sometimes, a mixture of these three is used. But, as corn was brought into Europe, cornmeal became the main ingredient for this dish until now.

A Polenta dish is porridge, and due to the cornmeal, its color is commonly yellow. It is sticky, smooth, and thick in texture, while its taste is like grits– mild and sweet.

In terms of preparation and cooking, Polenta requires a great deal of patience and time because it needs almost-constant stirring. Fortunately, pre-cooked Polentas are already available, which will lessen their cooking time.

Nevertheless, you can turn Polenta into various dishes like loaves and cakes. It is also easy to serve with other food, such as these 25 best side dishes for Polenta!

1. Cioppino


Cioppino is a seafood stew dish with tomato paste and dry white wine. It is rich in fresh seafood flavor and hearty; it has a pungent taste which makes it a perfect dip for a crunchy Polenta bread. Cioppino is an excellent pair for Polenta as it can balance its sweet flavor; just be mindful of any seafood allergy.


2. Baked Chicken Parmesan

This Baked chicken parmesan is the best pairing for Polenta if you want a cheesy and meaty addition to the dish! Baked chicken is an easy recipe that doesn’t require many ingredients. It is also oil-free, hence a healthy side dish for a creamy Polenta porridge!


3. Breakfast Pesto Eggs

Breakfast Pesto Eggs

These Pesto eggs are the best side dish for your Polenta if you eat it at breakfast– just a light side dish. The pesto also contributes immense flavor to the dish, which balances Polenta’s creamy corn taste. It is a go-to recipe for busy individuals who still want a satisfying, healthy meal.


4. Oven Roasted Mediterranean Veggies

Any Polenta version will suit this Oven Roasted Mediterranean Veggies because of its toasted flavor! Plus, the crunch in every bite is perfect for the smooth texture of Polenta.

This recipe is very straightforward– toss the ingredients in a bowl, season it, and roast! In only 40 minutes, a low-calorie side dish is already waiting for you!


5. Garlic Braised Short Ribs with Red Wine

Garlic Braised Short Ribs with Red Wine

You cannot eat a Polenta without pairing it with this savory Garlic Braised Short Ribs dish! This is a do-ahead recipe; preparing the ingredients before cooking will save you a lot of time. Nevertheless, this one will do the trick if you want to serve Polenta with a fancy side dish.


6. Italian Ossobuco

Italian Ossobuco is made from beef shank with various vegetables and herbs. It is a laborious dish, from slicing the veggies and seasoning the shank to frying and simmering.

Indeed, you will need extra effort and time for this one. Hence, we recommend making this excellent side dish for Polenta during special gatherings, like holidays and birthdays.


7. Green Bean Salad with Toasted Almonds & Feta

Green Bean Salad with Toasted Almonds & Feta

The following Mediterranean cuisine recipe can be made within 35 minutes and yield 4 servings. This easy recipe has unique, tasty, and healthy ingredients like almonds and feta. Green bean salad has a tangy taste because of the lemon juice and zest.


8. Garlic Butter Shrimp Scampi

One of the top side dishes to pair a Polenta is this buttery garlic shrimp scampi. This dish has white wine and lemon for further enhancement of the flavors. Despite that, it is a straightforward dish with basic ingredients you can find in markets.


9. Roasted Artichoke Hearts

Roasted Artichoke Hearts

This roasted artichoke heart is an elegant finger food side dish you can easily make in just 20 minutes. Artichoke hearts are rich in flavors and very adaptable to the palate; this is an excellent pairing for Polenta, especially with feta’s salty and creamy taste.

Note that the artichoke hearts used for this recipe are canned, which is much more economical and accessible.


10. Spanish Mushroom with Onions

Here is a one-pan side dish recipe you can serve at a simple family dinner– Spanish mushroom with onions! It is a straightforward dish that doesn’t require too much; this is a basic recipe from effort to ingredients. This side dish is a crowd-pleaser with the perfect match of crunchy mushrooms and savory onions.


11. Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

The next side you can consider pairing with Polenta is this nutrition-loaded cauliflower casserole! Stick to this exact recipe, and you will have a delicious 6 to 8 servings to share with your favorite people. Each serving can give 14 grams of Protein, 5 grams of sugar, and dietary fiber of 3 grams.


12. Spicy Garlic Potato Wedges

Level up your meal with these spicy garlic potato wedges! Despite many different potato wedge recipes, this one is entirely different because it is spicy, rich in flavor, and melts in your mouth. Its ingredients are simple and affordable but can yield a mouth-watering side dish for Polenta.


13. Herb-Crusted Lamb Chops

Herb-Crusted Lamb Chops

Are you fond of lamb chops? If yes, here is the recipe you should keep an eye on! Herb-crusted lamb chops recipe, although it sounds tricky and challenging to make, is a very straightforward dish. The cooking and preparation time only lasts for about an hour. Remember, be conscious of keeping the lamb tender by sealing its moisture.


14. Quinoa Salad

When we think of a versatile side dish, Quinoa salad will immediately come to mind. This salad is great not only for the body but also for the eye. Its vibrant color can surely attract guests, even kids, to try this. Indeed, it will add color to your dining table and a nutty taste to your Polenta.


15. Classic Roast Chicken

Classic Roast Chicken

No one will say no to the perfect pairing of Polenta and this classic roast chicken! If you want to serve a fancy dish but are still a beginner, you can use this recipe, as it requires minimal effort. It is also budget-friendly, which is great for serving plenty of guests. This juicy and tender roasted chicken will be loved even by children!


16. Lemon Codfish

Cod fish has a sweet and delicate taste; it also doesn’t have a strong fishy flavor, which some people prefer as it doesn’t overpower the taste of main dishes. The lemon, on the other hand, adds tart to the dish and balances all the flavors. Make this lemon cod fish recipe and pair it with any style of Polenta!


17. Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish meatballs are different from the usual meatballs we often eat or see. Traditionally, it comprises specific ingredients like butter, heavy cream, pork, or ground beef.

But, for this lightened-up version, changes have been made by using turkey and reduced-fat sour cream. Nevertheless, the taste is still the same as the traditional one, and it is still an excellent choice to pair with Polenta.


18. Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a vegetable stew dish that originated in Provence, France. Its colorful and vibrant appearance gives life to any main course, especially to Polenta bread. Ratatouille is a healthy side dish and economical since you can use leftover vegetables if you prefer.


19. Crisp-braised Duck Legs with Aromatic Vegetables

Crisp-braised Duck Legs with Aromatic Vegetables

Do you want to excite your guests at your next gathering? If yes, these braised duck legs are the recipe you should try! The golden and crackly duck legs will make your food simple yet luxurious. Ensure you have lots of time, as cooking this side dish might consume a couple of hours.


20. Ricotta Pasta with Tomato Sauce

Ricotta Pasta with tomato sauce is a one-pan side dish you can make for your family. Pairing it with a Polenta is an excellent choice, as its sweet and sour taste will fit it. This recipe is doable in less than 30 minutes with few ingredients, including the special ricotta cheese.


21. Piyaz


Piyaz is a Turkish cuisine that can be made in just 15 minutes. This Piyaz or white bean salad recipe is a protein-rich side dish because of the navy bean. Vegetarians won’t have to worry since this hearty dish can support their diet.


22. Chia Seed Blueberry Jam

Since Polenta bread or cakes are also available or doable, we will include a perfect spread for that! This chia seed blueberry jam only has 3 primary ingredients: blueberry, chia seeds, and honey. All these are accessible and affordable; hence this side dish is achievable even if you are a beginner. Make this effortless jam!


23. Greek Zucchini Salad

Greek Zucchini Salad

Zucchini is among the versatile veggies you can use as a side dish. Hence, next on the list is this famous Greek zucchini salad you don’t have to cook. Yes, this one is raw and easy to make. All you need is to toss and mix the ingredients, and you’re all set; you now have the perfect crunchy side dish for your Polenta.


24. Sicilian Caponata

Sicilian Caponata is an original Italian recipe and has a lot of history. Back then, the main ingredient for Caponata was meat. However, it was replaced by aubergines or eggplant due to economic reasons. Nevertheless, Caponata is a great dish best served when warm or cold.


25. Liver and Onions

Liver and Onions

If you like a bit of thrill, this liver and onion recipe is the one you should look out for! Beef liver is used for this recipe and is topped with sweet caramelized onions. The trick for this dish is to season the liver well and not overcook it.

Final words

In some countries, Polenta is an unknown delicacy; hence people are not aware of what to pair it with. Well, do not worry, as we already compile these 25 best side dishes for Polenta that you can swiftly make in the comfort of your own home. With all these varieties, we are sure that you can freely choose your perfect side dish!



25 Best Side Dishes To Serve With Polenta


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