Creamy Polenta: A Great Gluten-Free Side Dish

Creamy polenta is a grain-based food that is getting more and more notoriety as a great alternative to pasta, rice, bread and other grain based products. Though it is often recommended to those suffering from diabetes, it can be a great choice for almost anyone. For best results, be sure to experiment with different types of polenta in order to find the type that you like best.

What Is Polenta?

Polenta is often referred to as “corn grits,” as is basically a mixture containing high amounts of coarsely ground corn. While polenta could once only be found at high end specialty or organic grocery stores, it can now be easily found in most grocery store chains. However, it is important to be aware that polenta is often packaged in a number of different ways, and because of this, people who are new to using polenta in their cooking can often be confused when it comes to making a purchase. Typically, polenta will be sold either in its dry form. However, it can also be found packaged similarly to a sausage.

Health Benefits of Polenta

As mentioned in the title, one of the most important health benefits of polenta is the fact that it is a gluten-free food. This makes it a great choice for people who suffer from Celiac’s disease and are not able to digest wheat and other grain-based products. In addition, polenta contains high amounts of fiber, and therefore can be a great choice for people who suffer from diabetes, are trying to manage their weight, or are concerned about the prevention of cancer and a number of other serious chronic health conditions.

Cooking with Polenta

When it comes to cooking with polenta, pay special attention to how the polenta is packaged. If you are selecting dry polenta, add enough water to make a paste out of the polenta and heat it over medium-high heat. However, if you are using the prepared, “sausage-like” polenta, simply cut off a slice of the polenta and fry it in a pan that has been coated with olive oil. No matter what type of polenta you start with, remember to add different varieties of herbs and spices in order to alter the flavor of the polenta.

Storing Polenta

When it comes to storing polenta, remember to store it properly in order to achieve the best results. Dry polenta should be stored in a cool, dry area such as your kitchen cupboards. In contrast, prepared polenta should be kept in an airtight container in your refrigerator. While dry polenta can typically last for years, prepared polenta has a specific expiration date that should be closely followed.

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