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Parmesan Polenta Croutons are a crunchy and gluten free addition to your bowl of greens. Start with leftover polenta or make a fresh batch that is seasoned with garlic, Italian herbs, and parmesan cheese and get ready to enjoy the flavor and texture this baked polenta crouton adds to all of your favorite salads.
Originally published on May 20, 2012. Updated on January 24, 2017.
Sometimes I make components to a recipe that each deserve their own post because they can really be used in so many recipes. Plus it makes my life easier when I want to share a “new” post with you all but don’t really have a “new” post. You may call it “lazy blogging”, but I’ll call it efficient.
And I don’t think anyone can argue with me that sometimes life calls for efficiency.
Plus while this crouton recipe was created for my Healthy Chicken Caesar Salad, are there really any salads that aren’t better when you add these little golden nuggets of crispy deliciousness?
Or just eat them straight off the pan. Whatever.
Italian Herb Parmesan Polenta Croutons
They are a naturally gluten free way to add texture to a salad, especially when you can’t have classic croutons. In fact, there might even be better than come of those super hard, stale-tasting croutons. They are crispy on the outside and slightly soft on the inside, instead of rock hard bits.
What You’ll Need
- Cornmeal or polenta
- Parmesan cheese
- Garlic powder
- Italian seasoning
- Bring cornmeal, water, and salt to a boil, then cook until the polenta is thick and sticky.
- Stir in the cheese, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.
- Transfer plastic wrap or in a baking dish sprayed with olive oil or cooking spray and shape into a rectangle about 1/2 in. thick.
- Refrigerate until cooled.
- Cut the polenta into cubes and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Bake at 450°F until browned and crispy.
These have classic Italian herbs and parmesan, but you can try other cheese and seasoning combinations, like
- Cheddar and smoked paprika
- Monterey jack, chili powder, and cumin
- Swiss cheese and dill
- White cheddar and thyme
Or just leave them with basic salt and pepper.
Gluten free tips
Polenta is made from corn, so it is not a gluten-containing grain. However, be sure to read labels and packages closely, especially if you have celiac disease or are highly sensitive to cross-contamination. Some brands of cornmeal are manufactured and processed in facilities than handle wheat.
I usually use Arrowhead Mills or Bob’s Red Mill.
Try polenta croutons on these salads
- Italian Wedge Salad with Prosciutto and Fresh Mozzarella
- Romaine Wedge with Hot Bacon Dressing
- Lobster Cobb Salad
- Chef’s Salad Lettuce Wraps
- Barbecue Chopped Chicken Salad from How Sweet Eats
Italian Herb and Parmesan Polenta Croutons
- 1/2 cup cornmeal or polenta
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Whisk the cornmeal, water, and salt together in a medium saucepan, and place over medium to medium-high heat.
- Bring to a boil, then cook, stirring almost constantly, for 15-20 minutes, or until the polenta is thick and sticky.
- Stir in the cheese, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.
- Remove the polenta from the pot and place onto plastic wrap or in a baking dish sprayed with olive oil or cooking spray.
- Shape into a rectangle, about 1/2 in. thick, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator until cooled.
- Preheat your oven to 450°F.
- Cut the polenta into 1/2 inch cubes and place in a single layer, not touching, on a baking sheet coated with olive oil or cooking spray. Spray some more olive oil or cooking spray over the cubes.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning every 8-10 minutes, until browned and crispy.
- Serve over your favorite salad.
More cornmeal and polenta recipes
- Creamed Spinach Tart with Polenta Crust
- Gluten Free Cornbread
- Baked Cauliflower Tots
- Cornmeal Crusted Asparagus
- Polenta Cakes from Running to the Kitchen
Thanks for the recipe! Just wondering how long these last for? And what is the best way to store them?
I just keep them in an airtight container, but you’ll want to eat them within a day or two. They do start to get a little soft, but you can still eat them.
Croutons are the best and yours look like the best of the best! Polenta? Amazing. Thanks, Brianne for sharing with us at Funtastic Friday!
I love croutons and will eat them straight. No salad needed 😉 Thank you for sharing at Merry Monday!
How many calories are in these? Thank you
I’m sorry, I don’t have calorie counts, but you can plug the ingredients into an online calorie counter.
I’m assuming this meant 15-20 seconds while cooking the cornmeal? Mine went thick and sticky almost immediately upon boiling.
Perhaps you used fine cornmeal or quick-cooking polenta? That would cook much quicker. It does thicken pretty quickly, but to make it stiff, you still have to cook it longer to evaporate off some liquid.
Croutons made with polenta?! I love it! I never would have thought of that. Croutons are seriously my favorite part of the salad. Much better than lettuce. 🙂
I’ve been trying to think outside the box a bit with the gluten-free stuff, to use “real” food, and not just prepackaged gluten-free stuff.
YUM! I wanted to let you know I’ve nominated you for a BRAND NEW blog award The Food Stories Award for Excellence in Storytelling (http://foodstoriesblog.com/food-stories-award/)
You are so sweet! Thank you!!
I love croutons!!! I have done polenta croutons for soups but i usually stick with bread croutons for salad. I’ll have to try this!
With the wheat allergy, I try to stay away from bread croutons, so usually just skip them altogether. This was such an awesome alternative. Not quite as crunchy, but still good.
Yum! I love croutons. I eat them like potato chips.
I’ve nominated you for the One Lovely Blog award. See it here: http://treatstrinkets.blogspot.com/2012/05/dark-chocolate-dreams-cupcakes.html#
Aww, thanks! You are too sweet!