This nourishing Polenta Curry is perfect for a chilly night or anytime you're looking for a hearty, starchy stew. Polenta—i.e., coarsely ground corn—makes a tasty, satisfying, and versatile base for a range of dishes. Look for polenta alongside other whole grains or in the pasta and rice section of supermarkets.

Want to get this dish on the table in just 30 minutes? You can use precooked tube-style polenta instead of making your own. Cut it into 1-inch cubes and skip straight to Step 3.

By Darshana Thacker Wendel,


  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • Pinch + ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup dry polenta
  • 4 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1½ teaspoons lime juice
  • Fresh cilantro leaves


  • For polenta, in a large saucepan bring 3½ cups water to boiling. Add ½ teaspoon of the turmeric, the caraway seeds, and the pinch salt. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Add polenta to pan in a slow stream, whisking continuously to prevent lumps from forming. Cook 5 minutes, whisking continuously. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Uncover pan and simmer about 15 minutes more or until polenta is the consistency of thick porridge.
  • Spread polenta evenly in a 2-quart square baking dish. Let cool to room temperature, then chill 1 hour. Cut chilled polenta into 1-inch cubes.
  • For curry, in a blender or food processor combine tomatoes, onion, raisins, coriander, cumin, curry powder, cayenne, the ¼ teaspoon salt, and the remaining ½ teaspoon turmeric. Cover and blend until mixture is a smooth paste. Transfer paste to a skillet; cook on high 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 3 cups water; cook 5 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly and turns a brighter red.
  • To the tomato mixture in the skillet add polenta cubes, peas, lime juice, and salt to taste. Cook 5 to 10 minutes or until sauce thickens and polenta puffs a bit from absorbing the sauce. Do not overcook or polenta will fall apart. Taste and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Comments (4)

(5 from 4 votes)

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Followed recipe from the book where it calls for 5 1/2 cups of water for the polenta!! And 1/4 cup lemon juice. It didn’t turned out that great. Will try again with this recipe.

Nichole Bowman

I make this often. I add a can of chickpeas and use fresh tomatoes not canned. I love caraway seeds and if you need to you can substitute fennel seeds. I also don’t make my polenta I use one organic premade roll per batch. I always double the pot because this gets better as it sits. It’s such a distinct curry I always come back to it.


This is one of our family's favorite comfort dishes. It does not taste or feel like we're giving anything up, but is WFPBNO.


FYI: if you use canned chopped tomatoes, don't add the water! I've got a bit of a soup situation on my hands (easily fixed with slatted spoon but the flavors are really muted). I also used a mini muffin tin to spoon the polenta into and it made great sized bites that were easy to pop out. Pretty good but a little light on flavor for me, personally. Love the inventiveness, though and the polenta is so good.

About the Author

Headshot of Darshana Thacker

About the Author

Darshana Thacker Wendel

Darshana Thacker Wendel is a whole-food, plant-based chef and former culinary projects manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit and follow her on Instagram for more.
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