I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! This recipe is one that we had to cut from my cookbook due to space constraints, but it’s too good to keep from you. It was inspired by two delicious experiences with polenta, or grits, if you’d rather. They’re basically the same thing.
The first was a polenta bowl at a farm-to-table restaurant in Omaha called Kitchen Table. My bowl looked pretty similar to what you see here, but with a poached egg. The second was at my cousin’s wedding shower, where I found grits generously swirled with cheddar cheese, green chilis and melted butter.
This combination is a homemade version of Kitchen Table’s bowl with Southwestern influences inspired by my cousin’s grits. I cooked the polenta with bell pepper and stirred in some salsa verde to amp up the flavor. Then I stirred in just one tablespoon of butter and folded in crumbled goat cheese, making the polenta ultra creamy.
This is a versatile recipe that you can adjust to work with any vegetables in your drawer. I roasted my vegetables for maximum flavor, but you could choose to steam or sauté them instead. You can also play around with the cheese (cheddar or Parmesan would be great), and you can prepare your eggs however you’d like. Lightly sautéed greens would be nice, too.
You’ll probably find a few different options for polenta/grits at the grocery store; some have unnecessary additives and some take longer to cook. I recommend using Bob’s Red Mill’s polenta since it worked great for me and doesn’t contain any extraneous ingredients.
Another suggestion? Polenta is at its creamy best when served fresh, so this is not the best option for leftovers. Please let me know how you make your bowls in the comments!
Goat Cheese Polenta with Roasted Vegetables
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Breakfast
- Cuisine: Vegetarian
Creamy goat cheese polenta topped with a fried egg and roasted vegetables. This is a delicious, brunch-worthy recipe that you can serve for dinner, too! Recipe yields 4 servings (you might have some leftover roasted vegetables).
- About 2 pounds mixed vegetables (I used a small butternut squash and red onion here; broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato and bell peppers are also great)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- ½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt, to taste
- 3 to 4 cups water, according to package directions
- 1 cup corn polenta (also called grits)*
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 to 3 tablespoons mild salsa verde (homemade or store-bought)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about ½ cup crumbled)
- 4 eggs, cooked as desired**
- Finely sliced green onion, for garnish
- Additional salsa verde and/or hot sauce (I love Cholula)
- To roast the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 400°F. On a large, rimmed baking sheet, combine the vegetables with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Toss until they are lightly coated in oil, then arrange the vegetables in a single layer across the pan. Bake for 25 to 40 minutes (timing will depend on your choice of vegetables), tossing halfway, until the vegetables are tender and deeply golden on the edges.
- To cook the polenta: In a medium saucepan, warm 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chopped bell pepper and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pepper is tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the amount of water specified on your package of polenta, crank up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Pour in the polenta, whisk to combine, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until thickened, which can take as little as 5 minutes depending on your polenta, whisking often to remove any clumps. Remove the pot from the heat, and stir in the butter, salsa verde and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Add additional salt, if necessary. Gently fold in the crumbled goat cheese, just until combined. Cover and set aside.
- Cook your eggs as desired. Divide the grits and eggs into 4 bowls. Divide the vegetables into the bowls and finish them with a light sprinkle of green onion. Serve with additional salsa verde and/or hot sauce on the side.
**How to fry eggs in olive oil: See this post.
Meredith Youngson | Earth & Oven
OK yes, this is exactly the kind of meal I need on a weeknight in the winter. Cozy, cheesy and with an egg on top. Love this!
Definitely looks like a meal worthy of brunch or “breakfast for dinner.” Can’t wait to try it out!
Let me know what you think!
Any vegan suggestions?
I have found polenta to be delicious cooked with coconut milk and coconut oil. Sometimes I also stir corn kernels into the polenta for extra sweetness and a nice texture contrast.
Mix of colors is just great. Looks so healthly and delicious. I order a bowl from you.
Oh, yes please!!!! This is definitely one to try asap! Thanks, Kate!
Let me know what you think!
leftover polenta is GREAT formed into small patties & fried in a little bacon grease! dip in gravy or top with hot homemade applesauce, or make them tot-size & throw em on a salad like croutons!
Sounds delicious, Teresa!
Was looking for a fellow Southerner to say to fry leftovers in patties :)
This looks heavenly!!
This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it. Also Alton Brown has a recipe for grits that calls for milk and always turns out great. I wonder if that would work here too.
I made this for dinner last night and it was delicious! Even without the egg on top it was very satisfying. My husband’s second helping was bigger than the first. Thank you for another great recipe. I’m a big fan.
You are welcome, Terry! I am glad both you and your husband enjoyed it.
Made a variation with what was on hand. Used cheddar, scallions & organic spicy salsa,in place of goat cheese, red pepper and salsa verde. I omitted the grilled veggies. Even so, the polenta was delicious and the egg on top definitely added to the flavor. The color from the red salsa and scallions looked great. Will definitely make again. Can’t wait to try it with the veggies, red pepper and goat cheese.
I agree! The egg adds so much. Thank you for trying it! Your variation sounds delicious. I appreciate the review, Carol. :)
I added this to my meal plan as soon as I saw it. Perfect nourishing comfort food for an autumn evening! My 3 year old loves polenta so I was excited to see an adaptation with some veg cooked in with the grains– added some leftover, mashed baked sweet potato in with the pepper and that worked well.
I am happy you did, Rosa! Since you liked it so much, if you would want to leave a star review I would appreciate it :)
Alia @ Everyday Easy Eats
Hi Kate! Your Goat Cheese Polenta with Roasted Vegetables looks so delicious! I love how unique this recipe this and all the ingredients you used sound so healthy and flavorful! I especially love that fried egg on top, it is a perfect finish! Great work!! :)
Let me know how you like it when you try it! And thank you :)
I freaking LOVE this kind of recipe! I was looking at a bare fridge and pantry and this recipe resulted in a crazy delicious meal! I didn’t have eggs, but I had brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, kale, goat cheese and one of those tubes of polenta I had no clue what to do with (I haven’t cooked with it before, so I didn’t really get what I was buying). I roasted a sweet potato and some brussel sprouts and sauteed some kale on the stovetop. The contrast in textures and flavors was sooo good! I’m not great at meal planning so I love customizable meals like this :).
I love to hear that, Charlotte! I am glad this recipe was able to help you use the ingredients you had in your fridge. I really appreciate your comment and review!
I’ve recently become so obsessed with polenta—where has it been all my life?! Can’t wait to try this one!
Let me know what you think, Lorie!
I made this last week for dinner and hands down it is probably one of the best meals I’ve ever made/eaten! I loved all the flavors. The veggies I roasted were bell peppers, carrots, asparagus, brussels sprouts and red onion. My husband was a huge fan too. I’m definitely adding this to my rotation.
Hooray! I love that, Kayla. Thanks for your review!
I think I’m going to make this tomorrow! It looks so delicious and I can’t wait to try it!
Let me know what you think, Curtis!
This looks so delicious! I’m making it for myself and my wife tonight!
What did you think?!
It was delicious! I burnt the vegetables because I left them in the oven too long. Question I have for you: how did you put so many vegetables on your cookie sheet? I tried to put the variety of vegetables you suggested- butternut squash, brussels sprouts, onion & sweet potato- but I couldn’t fit all of them on the largest sheet I have. Do you have a butternut squash soup recipe?
This was fantastic! Absolutely loved the flavours, I made the sweet potato and cheddar version and will definitely be making this again. Thank you Kate for providing us with such wholesome and flavourful recipes time and time again!
Love it, Samantha! Thank you, for your review and comment.
Loved this. The goat cheese/red pepper polenta was delicious! My husband ate some of the leftovers of it the next day for breakfast with a poached egg. We made it with roasted Brussels sprouts, butternut squash and red onion, and it was a great and filling meal.
What a great way to have some left overs! Thank you, Marny for sharing your variation and for review.
This was wonderful!! I ended up using 4 ounces of goat cheese because I love it and that was how much I purchased. Turned out great.
Wonderful! Thank you, Ann for sharing.
Hi an you suggest an alternative to polenta like quinoa or amaranth etc
Hey in liked your recipes ,Looks great, I am definitely going to try this, I am a foodie so i love read cooking related blog.Thank you for sharing this recipe
Let me know what you think, Jerry! Thanks for the comment!
I am absolutely in LOVE with your recipes! I made this last night (with yellow grits instead of polenta). It is difficult to find dry polenta in the South in regular grocery stores. But WOW! I think I will ALWAYS put goat cheese and salsa verde in my grits from now on! We used roasted butternut squash and brussels sprouts and some sautéed spinach. It was DEVINE! I ate the leftover grits for breakfast. YUMMY!
Thank you, Dani! Happy to hear you were pleased with it. :)
This was delicious! I made it with the intention of taking it to work for lunch this week, so I omitted the egg. Used Brussels sprouts, cremini mushrooms, and carrots as my veggies. I cooked the polenta in vegetable broth for extra flavor and used a red salsa instead of green (and doubled the amount). It was pretty filling for lunch and will last me 3 additional meals. Thanks for a great, inexpensive recipe!
Thanks for sharing your variation, Sneha! I appreciate the review.
Kate-we just finished dinner and my husband, who is not an avid vegetarian but agreeable to the idea loved this meal. I have been a vegetarian and using your recipes for several years, have your cookbook and love your recipes. No matter what other veggie options I try I always end up with Love Real Food! I feel badly that I’ve never taken the time to do a review before. Promise to do better in the future! So thankful for you! Kathy
This is great to hear, Kathy! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and review.
I live in Germany where there is no salsa verde and I can’t find tamatillos to make my own. Will it totally ruin the dish if I don’t use it? Or is there something else that works as a good substitute?
Hi Megan! It wouldn’t be ruined without it, but wouldn’t be as flavorful. I think an herbed sauce like chimichurri would be really nice—or you could simplify it by just blending some parsley or cilantro with olive oil and salt.
If you’re looking for a breakfast or brunch meal to change it up AND get some good nutrition while you’re at it- look no further!
JUST MAKE THIS DISH IT’S AMAZING. It is a brunch staple in our house and it really doesn’t get old. I would have never thought of these flavor combinations myself.
I’m sorry it took two years to find this!
Pantry basics with creamy spicy goodness.
Definitely putting this in regular rotation
Sorry to be annoying :( but do you think there would be a decent sub to the goat cheese besides cashew sour cream? The ONLY 2 things I’m allergic to (of course) are dairy and cashews. I was thinking about leaving it out and adding an extra tablespoon of olive oil or splash of almond milk?
Hi Hayley, I’m not sure that this would be the best recipe for you, sorry. I wish I had a better recommendation that would provide the same delicious result.
Thanks anyways, Kate! I’ll use the polenta up one day :)
So delicious! I used sweet potatoes, broccoli and a yellow bell pepper and it was terrific. I love versatile recipes like this! Thank you :)
I don’t know why I was always scared to make polenta, but it was super easy. This would be a really good weeknight cook.
I love how I don’t have to measure any spices, just liberal amounts of salt and pepper. I also added some garlic cloves and that was really nice.
This was SO good! Followed directions as written but added sliced beets to the butternut squash and onions. I think they were a great choice – goes so well with goat cheese. Followed the fried egg in olive oil recipe as well. My husband was a little suspicious at first but loved it! Imagining all the variations to try. Great one to put into rotation, thank you!
You’re welcome, Kate! I’m happy you enjoyed it.
Dinner staple for us :)
This was sooo good! I added some jalapeño to the polenta and topped with BBQ tofu instead of egg.
This was awesome. The goat cheese added a perfect tanginess to the grits. For the veg I used a honeynut squash, Brussels, and a small amount of sliced mushrooms and red onion, & topped with a sliced avocado. Also used roasted red pepper from a jar instead of plain bell pepper which kicked it up another notch.
This was sooo good! Got rave reviews from my boyfriend. Love all the flavor. I used sweet potatoes, bell pepper and kale since that’s what I had on hand. A little time consuming with all of the roasting, but easy. Will make again for sure and change up the veggies.
I’m glad you enjoyed it with your changes, Cathy! I appreciate your review.
Oh my gosh! This dish is out of this world!! I recently decided to try to cook more and branch out ingredient wise and this recipe title caught my eye. It was mainly because I LOVE goat cheese but I also was interested in trying out the polenta. I had it a few times growing up but it was usually by itself and not very tasty. I just made this recipe and I’m looking at polenta in a whole new light! I did a few things slightly different. Because of time I sauteed the veggies, broccoli, yellow squash, onion, garlic, bell pepper, and tomato. I left the polenta as is since I had the challenge of making it for the first time. I also added oregano, basil, soy sauce, and nutritional yeast flakes to the stir fry. I also did the egg and I agree that it just wraps up the whole dish and I used some jarred mild salsa. I’m definitely making this again!