Cheesy fried polenta squares

I LOVE polenta – either baked or fried or fresh with stew. If you’ve never tried it (or if you tried it and don’t think much of it), this recipe is a perfect starting point because it’s nice and crispy on top and soft and cheesy in the middle. Who doesn’t like a good, cheesy, fried thang?! There’s also wonderful aromas from the fresh herbs and the garlic which lift it from yum to super yum.

These squares are perfect as a side dish with dinner or even to take to a picnic or eat on the go.

On a different note, I recently finished A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and I reviewed it on Instagram here. Have a read of my two cents and, if you read the book, I’d love to hear what you think of it.

Cheesy fried polenta squares

Serves aplenty!


  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 Spanish onions, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 7 cups water
  • 2 cups coarse polenta (cornmeal)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + 1 TBSP for frying
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 4 TBSP nutritional yeast flakes (optional but delicious)
  • 2 handfuls grated vegan cheddar
  • 1 TBSP vegan butter
  • 2 handfuls fresh parsley
  • 1 TBSP mixed Italian herbs


  1. Add 1 TBSP olive oil, the onions and garlic to a pan an on medium low heat and cook for 5-6 minutes.
  2. At the same time, add 7 cups of water to a big heavy bottom pot (cast iron is good) on medium heat.
  3. Gently stir 2 cups of cornmeal using a whisk. Make sure there’s no lumps. Continue to cook until it begins to gently simmer, then lower the heat.
  4. Add the 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, pepper, turmeric and nutritional yeast flakes and whisk to mix through.
  5. Add the cheddar, butter and herbs and mix through.
  6. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until it becomes quite thick.
  7. Then remove from heat and pour into a baking pan lined with baking paper. Make sure it’s leveled and then allow it to cool and firm up.
  8. Once cool, cut it into squares.
  9. Heat 1 TBSP olive oil into a pan and add a few of the polenta squares – don’t overload the pan so they can cook well and turn out crispy.
  10. Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side, then remove from the pan and cook the rest.
  11. Enjoy fresh and warm or store in the fridge. Keeps well for up to 4 days.
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