Turn a Bag of Cornmeal into Italian Creamy Zucchini Polenta, FAST – with Savoury Seasonings

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Italian Cornmeal Zucchini Polenta - 15 minutes - Fat-free
Amount Per Serving (1 / 6th of recipe)
Calories 232 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 5%
Sodium 600mg 25%
Potassium 546mg 16%
Total Carbohydrates 43g 14%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 4g
Protein 7g 14%
Vitamin A 5.4%
Vitamin C 29.1%
Calcium 3.4%
Iron 12.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

I’d never made polenta from scratch before.  Have you?

I didn’t know you could make a vegan, fat-free, polenta (think corn porridge!) using cornmeal, for dinner, and that it would only take 15 – 20 minutes.

It’s really easy and very yummy when you add some seasonings and zucchini to it.  The zucchini keeps it moist and stops it from hardening as much, as it cools.

Jump to Recipe

Cornmeal polenta is faster than pasta, easier than potatoes, speedier than quinoa, quicker than rice, and seriously lip smacking good.

If you do know how to make polenta, then you probably agree, making creamy vegan cornmeal polenta is really easy, and naturally tastes great as a no-oil gluten-free whole-grain plant-based quick easy vegan side-dish.

Simple Creamy Vegan Polenta

Boil water, add seasonings and extras (if any), add cornmeal, wait a few minutes, done!

My kids probably would have preferred if I left out the seasonings and extras.

But… I still had 4 zucchini squash from my neighbours and aunt taking up most of my counter ledge.

Must. Use. More. Zucchini. Autumn harvest and all.

So I created this shredded zucchini polenta recipe that turned out wonderfully.

Simple Creamy Vegan Polenta with Zucchini and Italian Seasonings

Boil water, food process a generous sized zucchini (mine made 4 cups), add salt, Italian seasonings like oregano, and rosemary, with generous pepper, add zucchini to the water, stir in cornmeal, wait 5 minutes, voila!

Savoury, vegan, fat-free, gluten-free, low FODMAP (for us folks with IBS), Italian style polenta.

Feeding Vegan Children – Skip the Green Bits

My kids were disappointed that the polenta had the seasonings, and the green bits of zucchini skin.

If you are feeding vegan children who are picky about mixed in green things, like mine, I would suggest you peel the zucchini and make the polenta with just salt, pull the kids portions out, then quickly add remaining seasonings for the non picky eaters.  Serve broccoli or something else green on the side, full transparency kids.

Fast

I say quickly, because cornmeal thickens up real fast in boiling water, I was very surprised, and pleased by this.  It is why I suggest adding the spices before the cornmeal in the recipe below, otherwise it is tricky to stir them into the thickness.

I ended up with lumps, and discovered they are very tasty, so don’t worry about those.  What a great easy carb for a supper on a busy night.  Polenta weekly from now on?!

Mmmmm Kind of Texture

The polenta is such a comforting texture when it is warm, like thick porridge, but more smooth, sophisticated, and appropriate for dinner.

Is this what grits are?  I really don’t know.

As soon as I find out, I will share my knowledge with you, it’s my mission.

To make vegan families the norm.

FODMAP rating – low FODMAP.  For people with IBS, no onions in this dish, and cornmeal is low fodmap, yay!

Vegan Dinner Idea Italian Cornmeal Zucchini Polenta
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Vegan Italian Cornmeal Zucchini Polenta - 15 minutes - Fat-free

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 232 kcal
Author: Jeanette Whitten

Take water, a bag of cornmeal, a zucchini, oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper and turn it into a filling, lip smacking, yummy, warm, vegan comfort food, that comes together so fast and tastes wonderful.

Whole-grains, gluten-free, plant-based, no-oil.  Tastes a bit like thanksgiving.

Use a food processor to prepare the zucchini, peel it first if serving picky children, throw it in some boiling water with the seasonings, add cornmeal, stir and wait 5 minutes for the cornmeal to cook.  

Very simple.  Very cozy.  Very smooth and full of taste.

Great recipe to try on a night you are running late and looking for a fast, easy, simple, vegan carb/starch side-dish for your supper.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 6.5 cups zucchini approximate, shredded in food processor, or grated. One large zucchini.
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp black pepper or to taste
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast optional, truly, you won't miss it
  • 1 tsp oregano dried, or 1 tbsp fresh
  • 1 tsp rosemary or thyme, dried, or 1 tbsp fresh
  • 2 cups cornmeal cornmeal

Instructions

  1. Grate or food process zucchini. Peel first if serving to picky children, or picky adults.  Add zucchini and water to a large saucepan, stir to combine and bring to a boil.

  2. Add salt, pepper, oregano, rosemary, and nutritional yeast, if using.

  3. With water / zucchini and spices bubbling, add cornmeal in a thin stream, stirring with a wooden spoon to incorporate.  

    raw cornmeal for vegan polenta
  4. Turn heat to low.  Keep stirring over low heat for at least 5 minutes as the cornmeal cooks and loses it's raw taste. It thickens into polenta very quickly, which is why it is important to have the seasonings in the liquid before the cornmeal. Otherwise it is tricky to stir it all together.

  5. Taste test (blow on it, don't burn your tongue!) and adjust seasonings to your preference.

  6. After the cornmeal has been cooking, it should get thick, turn off heat, let it sit 5 more minutes, then it should be ready to serve.  The longer the polenta sits, the thicker it will get and the herbs will mellow out.  Oregano can be quite strong, I find it tastes better the longer it sits, and is really nice as leftovers.

    Creamy fat-free vegan zucchini cornmeal polenta
  7. Snip green onions or chives overtop when serving, some people like this with freshly squeezed lemon as well, or cranberry sauce.

    vegan no-oil cornmeal polenta with zucchini

Recipe Notes

Stir in black beans before serving if you are looking to add a vegan protein.

Serving ideas, with:

carrots sautéed in water, add spinach and fresh dill when carrots are almost done.

kidney beans or chickpeas and canned mushrooms microwaved in a steamer dish, seasoned with cumin or chili powder and freshly squeezed lemon.  

a nice dark leafy greens salad.

cranberry sauce.

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Italian Cornmeal Zucchini Polenta - 15 minutes - Fat-free
Amount Per Serving (1 / 6th of recipe)
Calories 232 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 5%
Sodium 600mg 25%
Potassium 546mg 16%
Total Carbohydrates 43g 14%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 4g
Protein 7g 14%
Vitamin A 5.4%
Vitamin C 29.1%
Calcium 3.4%
Iron 12.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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