Yes. Cornmeal is polenta, but there are different types. See below ↓↓↓
What type of cornmeal to use for polenta?
Cornmeal labeled as “Polenta”. This will typically be a medium ground yellow cornmeal.
Stone-ground. This type of cornmeal retains some of the hull and germ of the kernels. It will produce polenta with wonderful, creamy texture and delicious corn flavor.
Medium. This will produce a more creamy polenta.
Coarse. Similar to stone-ground cornmeal, coarse cornmeal will produce a creamy polenta with a bit of texture to it.
Polenta vs. Grits
Though they look somewhat similar, grits and polenta are not the same. Grits are ground finer than polenta and are typically made with white corn hominy rather than yellow corn.
But, what is traditionally served with polenta?
In this article, I list 25+ of the most popular side dishes for polenta.
🍽 What to Serve with Polenta
These red wine braised short ribs are the perfect, savory dinner party recipe! Easy to make ahead and then just pop in the oven to cook, this mouthwatering short ribs recipes lets you enjoy the night while also serving a delicious, home-cooked meal.
Mushroom Chicken is a simple, yet elegant meal to enjoy for quick dinners or fancy events. Pan-fried chicken and mushrooms are smothered in a rich and creamy garlic sauce and ready to eat in just 30 minutes.
Instant Pot Beef Stew is the perfect cozy meal for chilly days. With this easy recipe, tender chunks of beef, potatoes and carrots cook together in a flavorful sauce with red wine. This hearty and savory dish will be on your menu over and over all season!
This French Onion Chicken is a simple yet crave-worthy dinner that’s made in one skillet! Tender chicken breasts are covered in a rich gravy with caramelized onions, then piled with Gruyere and baked to form a perfectly melty, cheesy layer on top.
This 30 Minute Easy Pork Piccata makes a quick and easy weeknight dinner, but it’s also elegant enough for a dinner party at home. The lemon, garlic, butter sauce will have you licking your plate every time!
This Authentic Italian Sunday Gravy is what I grew up eating every week. Nana’s tomato meat sauce holds a fond place in my heart, and her recipe lives on to this day in my recipe box. It’s my most requested recipe and today I’m sharing it with you.
Diavolo Sauce is an easy and spicy marinara sauce made with flavor-forward ingredients, like tomatoes, garlic, white wine, and red pepper flakes. Toss it with spaghetti and your favorite seafood and enjoy!
These sous vide short ribs are the perfect, savory dinner party recipe! Easy to make ahead and then just finish in a hot skillet. This mouthwatering recipe lets you enjoy the night while also serving a delicious, home-cooked meal.
Indian Butter Chickpeas feature tender chickpeas simmered in an intensely flavorful and aromatic Indian-inspired butter sauce. Either serve it as the main course with rice or as a delicious vegetarian and vegan-friendly side dish.
Sous Vide Roast Beef is tender, juicy and perfectly cooked every time. It’s a perfect dish for the holidays, especially when it’s served with a Creamy Mushroom Sauce and these easy Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes.
Marinated Lamb Chops with Rosemary and Garlic is an easy summer grilling recipe you can cook in minutes. Each chop is saturated with rich and earthy flavors thanks to an herbaceous marinade made with simple ingredients.
One Pot Harissa Chicken with Chickpeas is a fuss free dish that's easy to make at home. Spicy, fragrant harissa coats the chicken and chickpeas as they roast and a creamy yogurt harissa sauce finishes it off at the end.
Chicken in White Wine Sauce is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. Crispy pan-fried chicken cutlets are nestled in a rich, creamy, and extra garlicky white wine sauce. It’s a 30-minute meal done in one skillet!
Many of these polenta side dish recipes can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for a few days or even in the freezer. Simply check the individual recipes for full storing instructions and details on how to make ahead.
ℹ️ Can you make polenta ahead of time?
You can make polenta up to three days ahead of time. However, soft polenta will firm up as it cools. See below for how to reheat and serve cheesy polenta.
How to reheat leftover polenta
Add your desired amount of polenta to a saucepan, adding in 3 Tablespoons of liquid (milk, broth or water) for each cup of polenta.
Heat over low heat, stirring to combine.
Or, make polenta cakes.
How to make polenta cakes
Spread hot polenta into a baking tray.
Refrigerate until firm.
Slice the firm polenta into portions and fry, grill, or bake until crispy and delicious.
You can also make polenta fries using the same method but slicing the polenta into fry-like sticks.
Please leave a comment and rating below, if you loved this round up of what to serve with polenta. Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.
Wondering what to serve with polenta? Here's a guide of the 25+ best side dishes to serve with creamy polenta or polenta cakes! These red wine braised short ribs are the perfect, savory accompaniment! Easy to make ahead and then just pop in the oven to cook, this mouthwatering short ribs recipes lets you enjoy the night while also serving a delicious, home-cooked meal.
Dry the ribs thoroughly with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to an oven-safe heavy pot or dutch oven and heat over high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the short ribs and brown on all sides, approximately 2-3 minutes per side. The pot should not be overcrowded. Work in batches if necessary.
While the short ribs are browning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Puree all vegetables and garlic in a food processor or blender until finely chopped into a thick paste.
Once ribs are browned, remove the ribs to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Drain the fat from the pot and add remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil.
Add the pureed vegetables and season generously with salt. Brown over high heat, without stirring, for 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, stir, and let the vegetables brown for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and, using a wooden spoon, scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir occasionally, letting this mixture reduce by half.
Once reduced, return the short ribs and any accumulated juices to the pot along with enough water to almost cover the meat. Add the thyme and bay leaves. Cover the pot and place it in the hot oven. Allow to cook for 2 1/2 hours, checking periodically and adding more water if needed. Remove the lid and cook for 30 minutes longer, to allow the sauce to further reduce.
Transfer the ribs to a serving platter or dish. Let the sauce and solids sit in the pot for a few minutes to cool and with a shallow spoon, skim off as much of the fat as possible from the surface. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper, and add the vinegar.
Serve the ribs on top of creamy polenta with additional braising liquid.
To Make Ahead: Prepare your short ribs as directed above. Allow to cool slightly and then place in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, scrape off any solidified fat that may rise to the surface. Bring the gravy and short ribs to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, until heated through.