Easy Spinach Polenta Pie

BY : PUBLISHED : May 10th, 2022 UPDATED: August 5th, 2022

Spinach polenta pie is a nice change of pace from all the bean and tofu-based savory pies out there! Polenta with spinach, ready in less than 30–minutes, is really tasty, chock full of juicy orange peppers and spinach with a slight spicy kick from the red pepper flakes...yum.

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completed Garlicky Spinach and Pepper Polenta Pie with a slice being pulled away from pie

Spinach polenta pie, a cross between creamy polenta and baked polenta, pairs great with a salad or soup transforming it into a hearty meal. My favorite is mixed bean salad or garbanzo bean kale salad!! They each add a bit of protein to the entire meal making it well-balanced.

Looking for more polenta dinner ideas? I think you'll also love this creamy mushroom polenta recipe or this tomato mushroom polenta dish.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Inexpensive: Cornmeal is a low-cost ingredient that when combined with yummy vegetables is filling enough for a main meal!
  • Quick dinner solution for busy weeknights: Simple ingredients go together easily and cook up in just 25 minutes.
  • Tasty: Enough to impress all your vegan friends and omnis too!
  • Make in advance: Easy polenta pie is an easy recipe to make ahead of time and use throughout the week to create quick meals. 
  • Gluten-free: This healthy spinach polenta pie is also naturally gluten-free.

What Goes Into This Recipe

This easy polenta with spinach only requires a handful of ingredients to prepare! 

ingredients for Garlicky Spinach and Pepper Polenta Pie measured out against a white background
  • Spinach: This recipe relies on using frozen spinach to make everything easier. Just make sure to thaw it out in advance.
  • Aromatics: Onions and fresh garlic are sauteed to layer in some flavor right from the start.
  • Bell pepper: Orange and red bell pepper have a slightly sweeter, softer flavor which works great in this recipe but you can use any type of bell pepper.
  • Oil: Use olive oil or any neutral cooking oil such as vegetable oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil.
  • Tarragon: This delicate herb adds amazing flavor to the spinach polenta pie.
  • Mustard powder: Dry mustard adds a depth of flavor to the dish. This spice isn’t the same as the condiment mustard so don’t try to swap it out with it.
  • Pepper: Season with freshly ground black pepper or even a touch of red pepper flakes to give it a little bit of heat.
  • Cornmeal: Yellow ground cornmeal brings a bit more color to the dish.
  • Sea salt: Brings all the other flavors together. Add to your preferred tastes!

How to Make Spinach Polenta Pie

  • 1) To get started, gather all your ingredients and lightly oil a 9-inch pie dish. Set it aside for later.
  • 2) Place a medium skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir them while they are cooking to prevent them from burning.
  • 3) When the onion is soft, add the red pepper flakes, garlic, and orange pepper to the skillet. Continue cooking for 2 more minutes. 
  • 4) Add the spinach to the skillet and cook for 5 more minutes or until everything is heated through.
  • 5) Bring the water with the salt, tarragon, mustard powder and black pepper to a boil in a medium saucepan. 
  • 6) When boiling, slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Cook polenta, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture boils and spits cornmeal out all over the place, about 1-2 minutes.
  • 7) Mix together the spinach mixture and cooked cornmeal until well incorporated. 
  • 8) Pour everything into the prepared pie plate and even out and smooth down the top. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing into 8 pieces. Serve immediately.
process shot of mixing polenta pie ingredients in a pan

Expert Tips and FAQs

  • Adding the cornmeal: Add slowly, stirring constantly so it cooks up without any lumps.
  • Squeeze spinach: Thaw out the spinach and drain it well before adding it to the skillet. Frozen spinach tends to hold a lot of water.
  • Don’t have spinach? That’s ok! Use any other frozen greens such as collard greens or kale instead. You can also experiment with other grated or chopped vegetables such as mushrooms, cauliflower, and broccoli.
Is cornmeal the same as polenta?

Yes, they are pretty much the same thing. They both come from the same source but differ in their texture. Polenta is generally a much more coarse grain or texture than cornmeal. You can use coarse grain cornmeal in this recipe which is quite similar yet likely less expensive than polenta.

Are grits and polenta the same?

Grits and polenta are similar but not the same. They both come from corn and are generally prepared to make a mush. However, grits are made from hominy corn which has been processed to remove the hull and germ. Polenta is made from cornmeal.

How long does polenta last in the fridge?

Leftover polenta will last up to five days when stored in the refrigerator. The time may be shortened depending on the freshness of other ingredients you added.

Can I freeze cooked polenta?

Yes, if you happen to have leftover polenta you can freeze it. Just be sure to store it in an airtight container and use it up within 3 months of freezing. To reheat, thaw it out in the refrigerator first and then heat in the microwave or oven.

completed slice of polenta pie on a white speckled dish with container of pie in the background

What to Serve with Polenta

You can serve spinach polenta for dinner as a main dish or side dish. That's the beauty of this easy dish.

If you plan to add this recipe as a polenta side dish, serve it up with a hearty tomato ragu or sauce or even a bean or lentil stew. You can even serve these types of dishes over the top of the spinach polenta pie.

When it's the main dish for dinner, it's great paired with just about anything. Here are my favorites:

completed Garlicky Spinach and Pepper Polenta Pie with a slice being pulled away from pie

More Spinach Recipes

Spinach Banana Pancakes

Spinach Mushroom Pockets

Tofu with Peanut Sauce

Indian Slow Cooked Spinach

Spinach Dip

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed Garlicky Spinach and Pepper Polenta Pie with a slice being pulled away from pie

Easy Spinach Polenta Pie

Roxane McNulty
This polenta with spinach is an easy and inexpensive dinner solution for busy weeknights that cooks up in less than 30 minutes. Serve it up with a salad or soup for a quick meal everyone will love.
4.98 from 45 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 214 kcal
METHOD Oven
DIET Vegan

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil plus more for greasing
  • cup onion diced
  • ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 6 garlic cloves pressed
  • 1 orange bell pepper diced
  • 16 ounces frozen spinach thawed
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of tarragon or herb of choice
  • ¼ teaspoon of mustard powder
  • ¾ teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 cups of cornmeal

Instructions
 

  • Lightly oil an 9 inch pie dish and set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add onions and cook, stirring frequently until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the red pepper flakes, garlic, and orange pepper and cook for 2 more minutes. Finally, add the spinach and cook for 5 more minutes, until everything is cooked and heated through.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring the water, salt, tarragon, mustard powder, and black pepper to a boil and slowly whisk in cornmeal. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture boils and spits cornmeal out all over the place, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Pour the spinach mixture into the cornmeal and quickly mix until well incorporated. Pour everything into the prepared pan and press down evenly to smooth the top. Let cool 10 minutes before slicing into 8 pieces. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Adding the cornmeal: Add slowly, stirring constantly so the polenta cooks up without any lumps.
  • Squeeze spinach: Thaw out the spinach and drain it well before adding it to the skillet. Frozen spinach tends to hold a lot of water.
  • Don’t have spinach? That’s ok! Use any other frozen greens such as collard greens or kale instead. You can also experiment with other grated or chopped vegetables such as mushrooms, cauliflower, and broccoli.

Nutrition

Calories: 214kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 7gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 705mgPotassium: 396mgFiber: 6gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 7145IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 91mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedonaBudget! 🙂

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

About Roxane McNulty

Roxane is a culinary school graduate, professional pastry chef and devoted mama of an adorable toddler - She loves cooking and baking tasty, healthy plant-based food that is kind to our bodies, the earth and the animals! She also runs her own website, Roxane's Natural Kitchen

View all posts by Roxane McNulty

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Janaye says

    5 stars
    This polenta pie looks so good!! Delicious

  2. Amanda says

    5 stars
    Such a unique and tasty recipe!

  3. Gina H. says

    5 stars
    I've never tried polenta before, but this looks like the perfect recipe to start with. Thank you!

  4. Teodora says

    5 stars
    Perfect summer recipe!

  5. Tina says

    5 stars
    This sounds like a delicious weeknight meal to me!!

    • Andrea White says

      Definitely! So so good!

  6. Andrea White says

    5 stars
    Love the combo of spinach and polenta. So good!

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