Healthy Breakfast Polenta Bowl Recipe

Breakfast Polenta is the ultimate carb-lovers comfort food at brunch.

Our quick & easy Breakfast Polenta Recipe is deliciously creamy, featuring cheesy Italian porridge, fried egg, crispy bacon, guasacaca, roasted tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, pickled jalapenos and cocktail onions.

Serve healthy Breakfast Polenta bowls with mugs of coffee and fresh fruit salad.

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What Is Polenta?

Polenta is a dish of boiled cornmeal that was historically made from other ancient grains. The dish is a descendant of grain mush, known as puls or pulmentum in Latin, that was commonly eaten as far back as Roman times.

Before the introduction of maize from America in the 16th century, cheesy polenta was made from starchy ingredients like farro, chestnut flour, millet, spelt and chickpeas.

It may be served as a hot Italian porridge, or allowed to cool and solidify into a loaf that can be baked, fried or grilled.

Cornmeal is available for purchase in a variety of grinds. Course grinds make a firm polenta that is ideal for grilling, baking and frying. Finer grinds of cornmeal are perfect for cooking smooth & cheesy polenta.

Today, Italian porridge is a staple in Northern Italy, Switzerland, Slovenia and the Balkans such as Estonia and Latvia.

Ingredients you'll need to make easy Breakfast Polenta.
Ingredients you’ll need to make easy Breakfast Polenta.

Travel to Italy by Making Breakfast Polenta at Home

I love traveling to Europe!

During my first visit to the continent I traveled for 5 months by train and plane. I had the opportunity to eat my way through IrelandScotlandEnglandWalesPortugalSpainFranceBelgiumHollandDenmarkNorwaySwedenFinlandRussiaEstoniaLatviaPolandCzech RepublicGermanyAustriaCroatiaBosniaHungarySlovakiaGreeceTurkey and Italy.

What I love most about traveling to Italy is the opportunity to sample unique dishes in each region and city. The dishes in Tuscany (FlorencePisaVolterraSaturniaPitiglianoSoranoMontalcinoSiena) are unique from what you’d find in VeniceModenaMilanRome, and Amalfi Coast.

If you’re visiting Tuscany on a romantic honeymoon you’ll find Breakfast Polenta served at most hotels in the morning.

Once back home from an Italian holiday you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the flavours of Tuscany and can impress friends and family by making our homemade breakfast polenta.

Breakfast Polenta features shredded cheeses, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms and fried eggs.
Breakfast Polenta features shredded cheeses, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms and fried eggs.

Where To Eat Italian Porridge

If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local Italian restaurant that serves traditional Breakfast Polenta.

Haven’t traveled to Italy before? It may be helpful to first sample cheesy polenta at a local Italian restaurant to better understand how the brunch dish might be served. You’ll get an idea for the desired thickness for the porridge and inspiration on what breakfast ingredients to add on top.

In Toronto, popular Italian restaurants in YorkvilleKing West and Ossington that may serve Breakfast Polenta include Bar VendettaBucaSuperpointAmanoFabbricaOrettaFIGONodoLocale MercattoThe Good SonTaverna MercattoAscari EnotecaIl Fornello or Gusto 101.

Prepare polenta with cornmeal and cream in a pot over the stove.
Prepare polenta with cornmeal and cream in a pot over the stove.

My Family Loves Cheesy Polenta

Like many Canadians and Americans, one of my families favourite comfort foods to enjoy is pasta. While pasta is Italy’s most famous carb, you’ll find cheesy polenta served as a breakfast bowl is supremely satisfying.

Since my family is Scottish it’s know wonder we grew up eating cream of wheat and oatmeal at breakfast. After traveling to Italy we fell in love with cheesy polenta because its ingredients are affordable, it’s simple and easy to make and very versatile.

We typically double the recipe and enjoy breakfast polenta bowls for brunch. We store the leftover cornmeal porridge in a greased cake pan or casserole dish and store it in the fridge overnight. The following day the polenta will be firm so you can easily slice it to make grilled cornmeal cakes or crunchy polenta fries.

We typically include 4 types of cheese in our Breakfast Polenta recipe, cream cheese, cheddargruyere and parmiggiano reggiano.

Constantly stir polenta with a whisky until creamy and smooth.
Constantly stir polenta with a whisky until creamy and smooth.

How To Make Homemade Breakfast Polenta

There are many tricks and traditions to making homemade polenta at breakfast.

Nona’s in Tuscany are famous for standing over a large pot of bubbling polenta until its consistently is silky and smooth. Every family has their own unique method of preparing breakfast polenta.

Some Italian cooks suggest using a large whisk while others prefer a wooden spoon. It’s important you use a large pot and stir continuously over low heat. If the stove is too hot the bottom will burn and the polenta will bubble and splatter all over your stove.

The simple trick to making the best cornmeal porridge is heating at a low temperature and constantly stirring. Once the mixture is creamy and just before serving, mix in the cheeses until fully combined.

This Breakfast Polenta recipe can be simplified to be vegan and vegetarian friendly. Simply substitute the butter with vegetable oil, chicken stock with mushroom or vegetable broth and omit the cheeses, bacon and eggs.

Once smooth, combine cheeses into polenta before scooping into bowls.
Once smooth, combine cheeses into polenta before scooping into bowls.

What To Serve with Breakfast Polenta

Polenta prepared with cheese, cream and butter is so simple and delicious it can be enjoyed on its own with a little salt, pepper and freshly chopped herbs.

If you’re looking to serve a more balanced meal, prepare our breakfast polenta bowls topped with poached eggs, tomatoes, buttered mushrooms and crispy bacon.

We suggest getting creative when assembling your own Breakfast Polenta bowls. We’ve fried our eggs but you could serve the bowls topped with poached eggs or scrambled eggs if you prefer.

If bacon isn’t your thing, feel free to substitute with breakfast sausages or sliced steak. Grilled tofu also works for those who practice a meat free diet.

We’ve roasted our own tomatoes but you can also use sun dried tomatoes. Rummage through your fridge and feel free to top with marinated artichokes, sliced olives, capers and pine nuts.

Since this dish is carb and protein heavy we like to serve it with a mug of freshly brewed coffee and fresh fruit salad.

The best breakfast polenta is topped with eggs, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms and guacamole.
The best breakfast polenta is topped with eggs, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms and guacamole.

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Breakfast polenta is our favourite healthy brunch bowl.
Breakfast polenta is our favourite healthy brunch bowl.

Best Healthy Breakfast Polenta Recipe

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Healthy Breakfast Polenta Recipe

Looking to make easy homemade Breakfast Polenta? Our healthy brunch recipe features eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, guacamole and crispy bacon.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine: American, canadian, Italian
Servings: 6
Calories: 794kcal

Equipment

  • pot
  • stove
  • whisk
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • Non-stick pan

Ingredients

Cheesy Polenta Recipe

  • 2 cups Milk
  • 1/2 cup Cream
  • 1/2 cup Chicken stock
  • 1 cup Cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan finely grated
  • 1/2 cup Swiss Cheese finely grated
  • 1/2 cup Cheddar finely grated
  • 1/4 cup Cream cheese
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Cracked Pepper to taste

Breakfast Polenta

  • 6 Vine Tomatoes sliced in half
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 200 g Button Mushrooms sliced
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • 400 g Bacon
  • 1/2 cup Guacamole or Guasacaca
  • 6 Eggs fried
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan
  • 1 tbsp Parsley finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Pickled Jalapenos sliced
  • 1/4 cup Cocktail onions sliced

Instructions

Cheesy Polenta Recipe

  • Bring milk, cream, chicken stock and 3 cups water to a boil over medium-high heat in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium.
  • Whisking constantly, gradually add cornmeal; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover pan, and cook, whisking every 10–15 minutes, until thickened and no longer gritty, 30–35 minutes.
  • Remove Italian Porridge from heat and add grated cheeses, cream cheese, butter, pepper and salt. Cook, whisking, until butter and cheese are melted and polenta is the consistency of porridge, about 1 minute.

Breakfast Polenta Assembly

  • Before cooking polenta, slice tomatoes in half and toss in olive oil and bake in a 350 F oven for 60 minutes. We suggest making oven roasted tomatoes the night before breakfast as they can be served cold on the plate or warmed in a microwave or toaster oven a few moments before serving.
  • While cornmeal is cooking over low heat, fry bacon in a large skillet. After 5-6 minutes or once the bacon is crispy and fully cooked, remove from skillet and let cool on paper towels.
  • Drain bacon fat from skillet, add butter and sliced mushrooms. Over medium heat sauté mushrooms until crispy and golden brown. Remove from skillet and let cool to room temperature in a small bowl.
  • Once polenta is fully cooked crack eggs into the greased skillet and cook sunny side up.
  • Plate breakfast polenta by scooping the creamy cornmeal into a bowl. Top with fried egg, crispy bacon slices, roasted tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, dollop of guacamole, sliced pickled jalapenos & cocktail onions and sprinkle of chopped parsley and parmesan. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 794kcal | Carbohydrates: 29.3g | Protein: 42.9g | Fat: 56.8g | Saturated Fat: 22.3g | Cholesterol: 290mg | Sodium: 2093mg | Potassium: 978mg | Fiber: 3.6g | Sugar: 8.7g | Calcium: 290mg | Iron: 4mg

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