Polenta is a very simple, cheap, and highly available tasty meal that comes in handy whenever you don’t have any inspiration to cook. The eye is very greedy when it comes to polenta, and often we overestimate our eating capacity. So, what to do with leftover polenta?
Leftover polenta can be turned into a whole different meal. French fries polenta, polenta and potato crockets, polenta calzone, polenta pizza, polenta grilled cheese, dessert polenta, polenta cake, polenta balls, polenta canape, polenta cutouts, and polenta omelet are great uses of leftover polenta.
Frequently we treat polenta as a one-time thing, meaning that we eat it while it’s hot or warm, and we tend to throw it away afterward, which is a shame. To avoid throwing out perfectly good polenta, in this text, I will describe eleven ways to use up your leftover polenta.
What Can You Do with Leftover Polenta?
Since leftover polenta can easily be used as a new meal, I’m bringing you 12 ideas on how to use it. You can fry it, you can reheat it, make a dessert, and many more.
So, let’s see some ideas on how to use leftover polenta.
French Fries Polenta
The name is misleading, as French fries polenta doesn’t actually include potatoes, but just the polenta and spices of your choosing.
After your leftover polenta hardens and gets stable and firm, make a polenta dough and cut it into strips. Place the strips into hot oil, and let them fry for about five minutes, or until the strips turn golden brown.
When your polenta fries are done, season them with salt, pepper, and oregano. Make a simple ketchup sauce on the side and enjoy.
Polenta and Potato Crockets
Potato crockets require white flour, so use your leftover polenta instead of that. Thoroughly cook the potatoes and mash them. Add them to the leftover polenta and knead everything together.
After kneading, once the potatoes and polenta homogenize, make balls and throw them into hot oil to fry. You can season while kneading or add the seasoning after the crockets are fried.
If you feel more peckish, you can add some grated cheese to the mixture and knead it into the polenta and potatoes.
This snack also goes amazingly with a red or a blue sauce.
Add some white flour to your leftover polenta and an egg to make polenta calzone. There’s no specific dosage, and you’ll have to play this by ear.
Once the mixture homogenizes, place it on the counter and roll it with a rolling pin until it becomes thin and large enough to fill. You can use a filling of your choosing and seal the dough once you are done.
Bake for about 10 minutes at 150 °C, i.e., 300 °F, and enjoy your reused polenta.
Since polenta is basically corn flour, it has an established use in bread making. Therefore it is only natural to use your leftover polenta to make some kind of base dough, such as pizza dough.
Here too, there’s no specific dosage, and you should add flour and oil to the mixture of flour and polenta. Roll the dough until it becomes as thin as pizza dough, and place the toppings you like best. Bake for about 10 minutes at 150 °C, i.e., 300 °F.
Polenta Grilled Cheese
Extremely tasty, and my personal favorite, polenta grilled cheese, is crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Mix the leftover polenta with some grate or diced cheese, knead it well, and make balls.
Flatten each ball until you get a pancake-like circle. Put the polenta and cheese circles in flour and fry them in hot oil. Garnish them with herbal spices- oregano, basil, or rosemary, and you get a delicious party snack.
Mix your polenta leftovers with sugar and milk, and add flour if you want, but you don’t need to. Mix everything well, and adjust the milk quantity according to the density of the mixture. If it gets too thick, add some more milk, and if it gets too thin, add flour.
Spread the mixture on a parchment paper on a baking tray and bake it at 150 °C, i.e., 300 °F, for 10-15 minutes. When the dessert is done, take it out of the oven, cut it into squares and sprinkle some powdered sugar over it.
Mix your leftover polenta with sugar, flour, milk, and eggs. The quantity of each ingredient depends on the quantity of your leftover polenta, so adjust everything according to that.
The consistency should be more on the creamy side. Add some dried fruit, such as raisins, figs, dates, and apricots. They should sink by themselves when you throw them into the mixture, so keep that in mind when checking the consistency.
Bake 20 minutes at 180 °C, i.e., 356 °F
Simplicity embodied, polenta balls require nothing more than your appetite. Simply take your leftover polenta, spice it up, add some cooking oil and make balls.
Fry the balls in hot oil until they become golden brown, and take them out. You will get a light and tasty snack, whether for your guests or just for you.
Much like the polenta balls, the polenta canapes don’t require much effort. Add oil to your leftover polenta and make small canape-shaped pieces. Bake the polenta canapes for 10 minutes at 180 °C, i.e., 356 °F, take them out, top them and enjoy.
After you bake them, you can add additional ingredients on the polenta canapes or serve them as they are. Some of these additional ingredients can be arugula and cherry potatoes, ham and cheese, prosciutto and Grana Padano, etc.
Polenta is ideal for cutout cookies. Whether you add butter and sugar or butter and salt, your polenta cutouts will turn out great sweet or salty.
Shape them as you like and top the cutouts with your favorite toppings. Bake at 180 °C, i.e., 356 °F, for ten minutes.
Polenta omelet is a very versatile and tasty solution for your polenta leftovers. Add as many eggs as you want to the polenta and enrich the omelet with whatever additions you like; leafy greens, bacon, cheese, seeds, you name it.
Cook your omelet until you get the desired consistency, but be careful not to burn the polenta.
To make polenta buns, include some flour to your leftover polenta. Mix well until you get an even and tick mixture. Roll the mixture on the surface, and use the cutters to make the round buns. Bake the buns on the pan with warm oil in it.
Allow your buns to cool and then fill them with your favorite burger fillings.
Can You Reheat Leftover Polenta?
b You can pop it on the stove and gradually add milk or water until it becomes creamy again. If you reheat it in the microwave, put the milk or water, mix, and let it reheat in the microwave for three minutes.
After this time, check it, mix it, and pop it back one minute at a time.
How to Store Leftover Polenta?
Store leftover polenta in the airtight container and keep it in the fridge. You can also leave it at room temperature, but only for a few hours.
How Long Does Leftover Polenta Last?
Polenta keeps very well in the fridge for five to seven days, provided that you store it properly, in an airtight container, or at least covered with a lid in the pot you made it.
Outside the fridge, polenta would last no more than a day. The polenta should be good for up to three months in the freezer.