This Cheesy Creamy Polenta is so simple to make and topped with the most delicious roasted summer veggies! Such a delicious dinner, anytime of year!

If you don’t eat polenta on a regular basis, I HIGHLY recommend adding it into your regular rotation of weekly recipes. It’s so incredibly simple to make, easily customizable and just SO SO good!

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This is one of my all time favorite ways to prepare and serve polenta and I’m really excited for you to try it!

bowl of cheesy polenta topped with roasted zucchini, corn, and tomatoes and sprinkled with fresh herbs

What is Polenta?

Polenta is coarsely ground corn (aka cornmeal) and a dish that is traditional to Northern Italy. It’s similar to grits but often prepared and served in a different way.

What is polenta made of?: polenta has one simple ingredient in it and that’s CORN (ground up into a cornmeal).

bowl of cheesy polenta topped with roasted zucchini, corn, and tomatoes and sprinkled with fresh herbs with a fork holding up a bite of the polenta

How to Make Polenta

Making polenta is very simple and requires just 2 ingredients: polenta and liquid. The general rule is 1:4 or 1 part cornmeal to 4 parts liquid. It can be prepared with milk, water, or broth/ stock.

Similar to other grains, polenta is cooked by heating the liquid and then mixing the polenta into the boiling liquid. It’s then cooked at a low temperature for about 25 minutes until it’s thickened.

It’s typically served with butter and/ or cheese and many different toppings.

up close shot of a bowl of cheesy polenta topped with roasted zucchini, corn, and tomatoes and sprinkled with fresh herbs

Polenta vs Grits

While polenta and grits are VERY similar, there are technically some differences between the 2.

Polenta is made solely from yellow corn while grits can be either yellow or white corn.

Polenta is a thick, coarse grind and often described similar to risotto or oatmeal while grits are very fine with very little texture to it.

What about the difference between polenta vs cornmeal?:

The answer is honestly quite the same here. Polenta and cornmeal are VERY similar and nearly identical except that cornmeal is VERY finely ground (with a similar texture to sugar) while polenta is flakier and meant to have more bulk to it. Once cooked, it’s a little chunkier similar to oatmeal.

2 bowls of cheesy polenta topped with roasted zucchini, corn, and tomatoes and sprinkled with fresh herbs

Is polenta gluten free?

It sure is! Polenta is naturally gluten free given that it is simple made out of corn. However, be sure to check the packaging because it’s possible that yours was processed in a plant that also processes wheat (just in case that’s important to you).

As usual, if you end up making this recipe, please snap a photo and tag me on Instagram @foodwithfeeling! I always love to see what y’all are making from my blog.

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Cheesy Creamy Polenta

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  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This Creamy and cheesy polenta is so easy to make and topped with roasted summer veggies!


Units Scale
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 cup of milk (any kind works)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of fine sea salt
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 3/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 ears of corn
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Fresh herbs for serving


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cook the polenta: In a large pot, bring the water and milk to a boil. Once boiling, stir in the salt and polenta. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring often. It’s done when it starts to pull away from the sides and turns fluffy.
  3. Once the polenta is done, remove from the heat and stir in the butter and parmesan.
  4. Meanwhile, roast the veggies. Lightly rub the corn with olive oil and wrap each ear in foil. Place on a large baking sheet. Add on the zucchini and cherry tomatoes. Toss the tomatoes and zucchini with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes. Let the corn cool enough to handle and cut from the cobb.
  5. Serve the polenta topped with the roasted veggies and a sprinkle of fresh herbs. ENJOY!
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: american


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 376
  • Sugar: 9.9 g
  • Sodium: 1178.7 mg
  • Fat: 18.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 43.5 g
  • Protein: 13.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 34.9 mg