Creamy Polenta with Jalapeño Tomato Sauce

  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes 6 cups sauce + 6 cups polenta
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In this tantalizing fusion recipe, creamy Italian polenta meets the spicy-savory flavors of Mexican cuisine to create a truly drool-worthy dish. Roma tomatoes (which are perfect to use in sauces due to their meaty flesh and lack of seeds) are stewed with corn, black beans, bell pepper, and plenty of Southwestern spices to create the perfect Tex-Mex sauce. Chopped jalapeño infuses everything with a kick of heat that seeps into the velvety polenta grains and leaves you licking the bowl. Beyond polenta, try spooning this yummy sauce over baked sweet potatoes, pasta, or other cooked grains to transform a basic meal into something special.

Tip: To peel tomatoes, bring a large pot of water to boiling. Lightly cut a small X in one end of each tomato. Add tomatoes to boiling water a few at a time. After 30 seconds, use a slotted spoon to transfer tomatoes to a bowl of ice water; let cool 2 minutes. Remove from ice water and use a paring knife to peel off skins.

For more vegan polenta recipes, check out these tasty ideas:

By Nancy Macklin, RDN,


  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 to 2 fresh jalapeño chiles, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lb. roma tomatoes, peeled, cored, and quartered (see intro for tip)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 15-oz. can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained (1½ cups)
  • 2 ears fresh sweet corn, cut off the cob (1 cup kernels)
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups quick-cooking polenta
  • 2 tablespoons chopped unsalted roasted pepitas
  • Chopped fresh cilantro


  • In a large pot cook onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, and garlic over medium 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed to prevent sticking. Add tomatoes, cumin, paprika, coriander, and ¼ cup water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until tomatoes are very soft.
  • Stir in black beans and corn. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cook, uncovered, 4 to 5 minutes or until corn is crisp-tender and mixture is heated through. Season with salt and black pepper.
  • Meanwhile, in a large saucepan bring vegetable broth and 3 cups water to boiling. Slowly whisk in polenta. Stir constantly 5 minutes or until polenta is tender. Serve sauce over polenta. Top with pepitas and cilantro.

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When you say polenta, are you talking about grits or cornmeal?

Megan Edwards

Hi Joan, Polenta is a type of cornmeal, but it is ground in a way that is coarser than most traditional cornmeals and the end result delivers a different consistency/mouthfeel. In a pinch you could use standard medium or coarse-ground conrmeal, but it likely won't have quite the same texture or flavor as true polenta. Hope this helps, and let us know how it turns out!


Just like most of the recipes I've tried on FOK, this needs way more spice. We ended up putting Sriracha sauce on it.

About the Author

Headshot of Nancy Macklin

About the Author

Nancy Macklin, RDN

Nancy Macklin has a bachelor of science in dietetics from Iowa State University and a Master of Science in health services administration from the University of Saint Francis. Macklin worked as a hospital-based clinical dietitian, providing counseling for diabetes, heart disease, and weight loss and as a food service director in health care dining sites. She now serves as a test kitchen dietitian, developing 500+ recipes per year. She is a member of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics and International Association of Culinary Professionals. Find her on LinkedIn.
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