Breakfast Polenta Five Ways

Customize the toppings of this slow cooker cornmeal porridge to suit your tastes. From fruity (Pear-Cranberry!) to savory (Bacon-Tomato), one healthy carbohydrate base has endless possibilities.

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  • Makes: 8 servings
  • Makes: about 4 cups polenta or grits
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Slow Cook: 7 hrs to 9 hrs (low) or 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours (high)
  • Stand: 30 mins

Breakfast Polenta Five Ways

Directions

  1. Line a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker with a disposable slow cooker liner. Coat liner with cooking spray. In a large bowl combine the water, cornmeal, and salt. Transfer mixture to the prepared cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 9 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours, stirring once halfway through cooking. Turn off cooker. Let stand, covered, for 30 minutes before serving, stirring occasionally.

From the Test Kitchen

Pear-Cranberry Grits with Granola:

Prepare as directed using white grits, except substitute apple juice for the water. Stir in 1 cup peeled and finely chopped pear (1 medium), 3/4 cup dried cranberries, 2 tablespoons flax seed meal, and 1 teaspoon apple pie spice or ground cinnamon with the grits. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon granola, 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar, and, if desired, a spoonful of vanilla fat-free yogurt.

Nutrition analysis per serving: 240 calories, 3 g protein, 55 g carbohydrate, 2 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 31 g total sugar, 2% Vitamin A, 70% Vitamin C, 179 mg sodium, 2% calcium, 7% iron

Veggie Brunch Polenta:

Prepare as directed using chicken broth and yellow cornmeal. Stir in 1 teaspoon snipped fresh thyme with the cornmeal. While the polenta stands, in a large nonstick skillet cook 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms; 1/2 cup halved zucchini slices; 2 cloves garlic, minced; and dash salt in 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil until vegetables are tender. Stir in 1 cup halved grape tomatoes; heat through. Top each serving with vegetable mixture and 2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese (chevre) or feta cheese.

Nutrition analysis per serving: 103 calories, 5 g protein, 16 g carbohydrate, 2 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 3 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 2 g total sugar, 5% Vitamin A, 10% Vitamin C, 489 mg sodium, 3% calcium, 5% iron

Chile, Cheese, and Scrambled Egg Grits:

Prepare as directed using chicken broth and grits (or if desired, substitute reduced-sodium vegetable broth for the chicken broth). Stir in 3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese; one 4-ounce can diced green chile peppers, undrained; 2 cloves garlic, minced; and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin with the grits. After polenta is done cooking (before standing), in a small bowl beat 4 eggs and dash salt with a fork; pour over grits. Let stand, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring twice.

Nutrition analysis per serving: 159 calories, 9 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 6 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 104 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 1 g total sugar, 5% Vitamin A, 1% Vitamin C, 611 mg sodium, 10% calcium, 6% iron

Bacon-Tomato Polenta:

Prepare as directed using chicken broth and yellow cornmeal, except reduce salt to 1/4 teaspoon. Stir in 1 cup seeded and chopped tomatoes (2 medium) and 3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese with the cornmeal. Before serving, sprinkle with 1/4 cup cooked and crumbled turkey bacon and 2 tablespoons chopped green onion (1).

Nutrition analysis per serving: 97 calories, 5 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 2 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 4 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 1 g total sugar, 5% Vitamin A, 7% Vitamin C, 475 mg sodium, 4% calcium, 4% iron

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Nutrition Facts (Breakfast Polenta Five Ways)

  • Per serving:
  • 64 kcal ,
  • 0 g fat
  • (0 g sat. fat ,
  • 0 g polyunsaturated fat ,
  • 0 g monounsaturated fat ),
  • 0 mg chol. ,
  • 151 mg sodium ,
  • 14 g carb. ,
  • 1 g fiber ,
  • 0 g sugar ,
  • 1 g pro.
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