Cheese and Herb Polenta Croutons

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I’ve been wanting to make these ever since I saw them tossed in a salad that my SIL ordered at a restaurant we were at. I love polenta, and what better way to add something special to your favorite salad or soup.

I used the instant polenta that only takes 15 minutes to whip up. I added freshly chopped rosemary and thyme, and grated Parmesan cheese. Go easy on the herbs, you just need a little they easily could overpower the croutons, especially rosemary!

Pour your cooked polenta on to a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Spread fast and evenly with a spatula. Cool the whole pan in the frig for 1/2 hour. When cooled cut the polenta into squares or triangles.

Drizzle lightly both sides with olive oil and bake in a 400 degree F oven for about 45 min’s. Turn them over to make sure they get crispy on the other side. Cool on a rack when done.

Best if used the same day, but I had alot extra so I stored mine in an airtight container in the frig and the next day I reheated them to crisp them up a bit.
I tossed mine with a salad mix of romaine, arugula, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, red onion, green and black olives, and slices of some leftover Fontinella cheese I had. Olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing.

I have to say the polenta croutons made the salad! I will definitely make these again!My talented friend Nina of My Easy Cooking gave me this award, you’re suppose to list 10 honest things about yourself and pass it on. I’m so very bad with awards and things but I thought this would be fun.
I’m a night owl, feel free to call or email me after midnight, I’ll still be up.
I love spicy food, pretty much all ethnic varieties.
I love to listen to Andrea Bocelli while I’m cooking.
I like my toast very well done, bordering burnt.
I make a pot of coffee everynight after dinner, without fail.
Ok, this is really weird, but I have to drink my coffee out of a white or cream colored cup.If you open up my cabinet all you will see is white cups. I know, my family thinks I’m crazy! of course when I’m out I make a concession. 😉
Along with all and any cooking shows, I’m also a sucker for reality TV, thanks to my daughter who years ago got me hooked on “The Real World.”
When I watch TV I like to snack on pumpkin seeds, you know the thick shell kind, I always buy a bag when I go to my Italian market.
I love the rocky coastline of the pacific northwest, and of course the awesome ocean.
I want to retire in Italy in a Tuscan villa. ( I can dream can’t I?)
Married to the same guy since we were 19, and we’re both full blooded Italian.
I’m passing this on to any of you who want to do this, especially my regular readers, just let me know so I can come and check it out.
Buon Appetito!!
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  1. A fantastic idea…nothing gets wasted – nothing!

  2. there kevin is again!
    same damn comment…

    anyways…. why have i never thought of this? great idea to jazz up a salad. my guy would totally love it.

  3. You are some cook, lady! And, judging by the comments, you have quite a following. I am glad I found you.

  4. Polenta croutons sound really good!

  5. These are gorgeous- what a great idea for croutons! Yum!

    Did I tell you I’m coming to Chicago for a visit in May? The husband has a conference! Can’t wait!

  6. What a great idea for croutons.Spice is good. Im becoming more of a night owl. Its when I can get stuff done!

  7. We have a lot of things in common! I’m a huge fan of spicy food (rooster sauce is a must for me), Andrea Bocelli and burnt toast (and burnt pretzels, for that matter).

    And that last one just made me want to say, “Aww!”

  8. This is a beautiful salad! I’ve never seen polenta croutons before, they look so good in the salad!

  9. I do loves me some polenta. It’s so much fun to work with and do stuff like this with.

    I have a friend who makes similar poletna squares like this and just serves them up as an appetizer. Yum. They’re the first thing to go when he serves them at parties.

  10. I never seen polenta croutons. I love polenta and I love idea in a crouton form.

  11. Oh, how I love polenta! Any shape, any size, and topping, I never tire of it. Your top photo though is making me drool. The croutons are brilliant.

  12. Loved your polenta recipe and your photos are wonderful. I also make polenta but I fry mine after I blend the cornmeal well with hot water. The crispy crust that one gets when frying is delicious and hard to keep hands from taking the crust off before I even get to slice the polenta. A great Italian side dish with cooked greens. Love your blog.

  13. I love polenta, Marie, and your salad looks so inviting.
    Bless you and your hubby, married that long — us, too! 🙂
    I think Maryann is right, that after-dinner pot of coffee must have something to do with your being a nightowl! But then, that is a nice time to be up, when all is at rest.

  14. I love polenta, especially covered in a mushroom ragu. I know I’d love your polenta croutons, too.

  15. What an exceptional addition to a salad!!

  16. Could that nightly pot of coffee have anything to do with you staying up all night? Just a thought 😉

    When you retire to Italy, don’t forget to bring along a friend.

  17. What a great inspiration! Just loving the thought of having polenta croutons, never heard of them done up this way!! Just beautiful!


  18. I really want to try these. I’ll bet they would be wonderful on a ceasar salad.

    I love music when I cook, too. I made a CD of some of my favorite music…a little Sheryl Crow, Don Henley, Aerosmith, etc. Sometimes I get so involved in bouncing around to the beat, I almost forget to stir the pot.

    As for my favorite time of day…sadly we’re opposites. I go to bed early, but I LOVE mornings.

  19. Gee, I never thought of doing this with polenta! Great idea!

    You are too funny, with the coffee cup thing! I also love pumpkin seeds in those hard white shells. My favorite snack!

  20. stop by my blog. I’ve got something for you.

  21. Oh. My. Gosh!!! Polenta croutons! That’s genius! These are wonderful. Just wonderful. I love polenta, and really enjoy seeing it used in new ways. YUM! Also enjoyed reading your list! I’m a night owl as well, as evidenced by the time stamp that will appear on this comment! Again, great recipe!

  22. The croutons look great but the entire salad is making me drool – yum!

    I love reality tv too – I’ve watched every season of the real world…sssh don’t tell anyone.

  23. Your polenta croutons sound great Marie. I long ago gave up on store bought croutons. Love the presentation of your salad with those larger romaine leaves.

    What a cute Honest Scrap. YAY for your retirement villa.

  24. What a great idea! I bet it is good!

    I have to have music on while I cook too. I rarely get to choose, the family seems to change it when I am up to my elbows in dinner 😉

    (my mom likes burnt toast as

    Thanks for sharing!

  25. I’ve heard of polenta croutons before, but have never tried them. They sound delicious!

  26. I love to throw croutons on top of a creamy soup, and these would be marvelous!

    I wanted to see Andrea Bocelli here in NYC at an upcoming concert Madison Square Garden but the tickets sold out in seconds!

  27. Hi Marie.. I have seen these croutons but I`never thought they would really crisp up.. so glad to see you make these.. And I want you to retire to in Tuscany too so I can come visit you in your villa!! You do expect visitors don’t you?? 🙂

  28. This is what I love about food blogs. I’ve been longing to find a way to bake polenta. I’ve also been lamenting that I don’t make amazing salads as often as I should– along comes your beautiful photos and delicious recipe. I’m in! I can’t wait to try this recipe.


  29. I would never have thought of polenta croutons. What a great idea.

  30. One of my daughters is coming for a visit. This recipe is one that we are sure to try, while she’s here!!!

  31. We share the well done toast thing as well as the coffee after dinner thing!

    Hmmm…and then live in Italy part as well. =)

    The croutons look GREAT and I will definitely be trying them soon!

  32. these look awesome!

  33. That’s what I love about you Marie, you full blooded Italian girl…you make me believe that I can dream too! What a yum looking salad & same for those croutons. Mmmmmm feel like hopping over!!

  34. Those looks fantastic! I can’t wait to make them the next tmie I visit my family. They’ll love it.

  35. Guess I need to stop stabbing my screen with a fork cause it’s only a picture. That salad with croutons looks so delicious that I am salivating. I cannot imagine how those would taste compared to old fashioned bread croutons but they look completely delectable.

  36. Those look delicious Marie… I’m a big fan of “well done” too. Especially my pizza:)

  37. I love polenta and these polenta croutons sound really yummy!

  38. what’s your phone number Marie?
    I will call you after midnight!

  39. Thos polenta croutons were so good on my salad, they were cheesy and crispy. Only problem was, there weren’t enough of them! I almost ripped UJ’s arm off when he tried to take one off my plate.

  40. These polenta crountons are a stroke of genius! Wonderful!

  41. Love, love the croutons. Thx for playing along! I share the pot of coffee after dinner with you!!!!

  42. This is perfect for me – since I’m gluten-free and love polenta! Thanks a bunch!

  43. I love croutons in salads and soups. Polenta? Why not? Never thought about that before. Another new idea.

  44. I am drooling everytime I visit. Thank goodness you can’t put on weight by just looking.
    And all your food is so genuine…
    Love it!

  45. Yum! Sounds like a healthier alternative to a traditional crouton.

    I love spicy foods, too. Right there with you on the type of coffee cup! I’m so late night- like a kid who feels she’s gonna miss out on something! My mother is addicted to Bocelli.

    And married since 19..?! Wow! I am impressed. These days it is almost unheard of. What’s your secret?

  46. Absolutely delicious.

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