January 30, 2020

Polenta with Sauteed Spinach

Thick and creamy polenta meets fresh and spicy sautéed spinach in this plant-based Polenta with Sautéed Spinach bowl. Perfect for breakfast or dinner!

Have you tried polenta? Chances are that even if you don't know it, you probably have. Polenta is another word for corn grits. You may have had grits as a breakfast food. The only difference between those grits and polenta is that polenta is yellow.

Just in case you've never had grits before, let me first tell you that you'll love them! They are a porridge-type food that is similar to oatmeal when cooked, but with smaller pieces instead of large oats. What's so fun about them is that you can turn them into a sweet dish if you'd like or make yourself a delicious savory meal.

Polenta can be a breakfast food, but you can also eat it for lunch or dinner. In fact, I was inspired to make a polenta recipe because my family served polenta at a Christmas dinner party. I could not get enough of the stuff and it reminded me of how much I love this food!

Anything you can eat out of a bowl (as opposed to a plate) automatically gets my vote. And y'all know I love oatmeal so much... this is basically a savory oatmeal. Long story short: I'm so excited to share this recipe with you!

How to Cook Polenta

Cooking polenta is a little more involved than cooking oats. With rolled oats or quick oats you can just pop them in the microwave and you've got yourself a nice steaming bowl in a minute or two. You'll have to get out an actual pot for polenta. Though it's a fairly quick cook time, so you don't have to worry about spending half an hour just to make breakfast.

Step 1. Start by bringing some water and salt to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat and pour in the polenta. Stir regularly to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Step 2. In 3-5 minutes it should be nice and soft. Take it off the stove and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

This is the basic way to cook polenta. At this point you can add whatever you'd like to the porridge to spice it up! Since we're making Polenta with Sautéed Spinach today, we're going to cook up some spinach to add on top.

Sautéed Spinach

I already have a post on this blog specifically dedicated to sautéed spinach, which you can find here. But since it's so simple, I'll share the steps again with you right now!

Step 1. Start by chopping onion and slicing garlic.

Step 2. Heat a pan to medium heat and add some water and the onion. Let the onions get soft and then add the garlic. For this recipe we're also going to stir in some cumin and smoked paprika. Let the garlic cook for about 30 seconds.

Step 3. At this point, if there's not a lot of water left in the pan, add a splash more water to help the spinach soften. Then add the spinach and cover the pan. Let the spinach wilt for a few minutes.

Assembling Polenta with Sautéed Spinach

It's pretty simple to put this dish together. The polenta and spinach have similar cook times, so you'll be done with both parts of the recipe at the same time.

When you're ready to eat, spoon some polenta into a bowl and top with the sautéed spinach. Done!

I hope you enjoy!

Tried this recipe?

Please leave a review in the comments section below. You can also stay in touch with me on social media by following me on Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok or by subscribing to my newsletter.

Polenta with Sauteed Spinach

Thick and creamy polenta meets fresh and spicy sautéed spinach in this plant-based Polenta with Sautéed Spinach bowl. Perfect for breakfast or dinner!















For Sauteed Spinach

  • 8 Ounces Fresh Spinach
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika

For Polenta

  • 1 Cup Polenta (Corn Grits)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt


  1. Bring 3 cups of water and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt (for the polenta) to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the onion and slice the garlic. Saute the onion in a pan with some water for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic, cumin, and smoked paprika. Cook for 30 seconds. Add the spinach and a splash of water to the pan. Cover and let the spinach soften.
  3. When the polenta water boils, add the polenta and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
  4. When the spinach is wilted and the polenta is cooked, remove both from the heat. Divide the polenta into four bowls and top with the sauteed spinach. Enjoy!

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January 16, 2022
Tracy Henry
Made this tonight. Absolutely delicious Elizabeth. You got this one just right!
Oh yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed it :)
January 16, 2022
L Collins
Hi Could you please confirm two things:1. The amount of salt. Seems like too much. 2. The directions say there is lemon juice in the dressing but it’s not listed under ingredients. ThanksL.
Hi there! Confirming that the two teaspoons of salt in the dressing is correct. I didn't salt the cauliflower when roasting it or the salad after it was done, so this amount of salt was perfect. If you're concerned about it you can decrease the amount of salt in the dressing and then add more at the end if you need it. As for the lemon juice, SO sorry about that! It was a typo in my directions and I've removed it now. Hope this helps :)
December 20, 2021
This looks lovely! Do you have a recipe for the red pepper hummus also? Thank you!
Hi Martha! I don't have a recipe for red pepper hummus on my site. I suggest taking a traditional hummus recipe and blending in roasted red pepper.
November 22, 2021
Amanda J Lehmann
I tried these and they were delicious! A bit dense but flavorful and the "buckeye" blend of peanut and chocolate was on point! Recommend!
Yay! I'm so glad you liked them! -- Elizabeth
December 6, 2021
Hi, these look amazing. I was wondering, could I used powdered peanut butter in place of creamy for the recipe? thanks
Hi Grace! There is already some powdered peanut butter in this recipe, so adding more might make the texture more gluey. Also, the real peanut butter adds some fat, which helps create flavor. That said, if you want to use powdered peanut butter, I would suggest mixing it with a high-fat liquid like coconut cream and then measuring out 2/3 cup. Hope this helps! Let me know how it goes :) -- Elizabeth
November 15, 2021
You mention using vegetable broth in your introduction but it isn’t included in the recipe
Hi Becky - thanks for pointing this out. I have removed mention of vegetable broth from this post. You do not need any vegetable broth. The mushrooms will release natural liquid which will prevent any sticking. -- Elizabeth
September 23, 2021
Tracy Henry
Hi Elizabeth, LOVE you recipes. Please keep them coming. :)I was wondering, can you share what is the vegan chocolate bar you used in this recipe?
August 28, 2021
Henry (Hank) Mader
thank you for the oil free recipe. I'm getting introduced to wild Bolete mushrooms here in Colorado, and everyone sautes Bolete's in butter or olive oil. I'm on a veggie, oil free regimen for heart health reasons. and your recipe suggestion may fill the bill. I can't wait to give it a try.
August 13, 2021
Lindsey Kuhn
This is so fun! Loving your creamy photography :)
August 13, 2021
Lindsey Kuhn
This looks incredible! So yummy and pretty photography