According to Wikipedia, polenta is a dish defined as boiled cornmeal. It has been a common staple in European countries, often referred to as “peasant” food. Traditionally, it can take an hour or longer to prepare polenta, and must be stirred frequently during that time. However, already prepared polenta is popping up in grocery stores here in America. Polenta, or ground cornmeal mush, is economical and versatile. It will make a nutritious and hearty side dish or base for vegetarian meals. Polenta is very similar to grits, a popular Southern dish.
I found this tube of polenta in the pasta section of Trader Joes. The ingredient list looked fantastic…water, organic corn and not much else. So when I came a cross this recipe for Polenta muffins, I knew the time had come to crack open this beautiful yellow tube! This is an interesting recipe calling for some strange ingredients. Stick with me and stretch your foodie mind!
Gather your ingredients…almond flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, olive oil, kefir (or buttermilk), eggs, salt and yacon syrup. I used a blend of almond and brown rice flour so these are gluten free muffins. Don’t let that freak you out, there are some fantastic grain and nut flours that are very nutritious…try them! My gut does so much better when I limit my wheat or gluten intake.
Here is my blog post on making your own kefir. This drink is considered a superfood, try it! If you don’t want to make your own you can usually find it in the dairy section of your supermarket.
Yacon syrup is a natural sweetening agent extracted from the roots of the yacon plant, found in the mountain regions of South America.
It has a taste similar to molasses or caramelized sugar. It does not increase blood sugar levels therefore it often recommended as a sweetener to those suffering from diabetes or at risk for becoming diabetic. It claims to be the best low-glycemic sweetener ever has been found! It is sold in jars like honey and can be purchased online here or in specialist food stores. I found mine at Whole Foods.
Mix all ingredients together. (I doubled this recipe because they freeze beautifully.) Do not over blend. Pour into greased muffin tins.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and let sit in the muffins tins for 15-20 minutes. Loosen edges with a knife and carefully lift out and finish cooling on rack. These muffins are so moist that they can break apart easily.
You will be amazed at the moistness of these muffins. You will not believe that there is only 3 T. of olive oil in the entire batch! These muffins will disappear in no time. A little hint…drizzle a teeny amount of honey over the top and indulge with a ice cold glass of milk. Yummmmmm!
Polenta Muffins (GF)
1 cup GF flour blend-I used half blanched almond flour and half brown rice flour (be creative!)
1 cup polenta
3 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
3 T. yacon or agave syrup
1 egg, beaten
1 cup low fat kefir or buttermilk
3 T. olive oil
Preheat oven to 4oo degrees. Mix all ingredients together. Do not over blend. Pour into greased muffin tins and bake degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit in the muffins tins for 15-20 minutes. Loosen edges with a knife and carefully lift out and finish cooling on rack. These muffins are so moist that they can break apart easily.