A hint of cumin and sea salt dial up the flavor of a simple polenta porridge. Black beans and avocado add extra heartiness. Tex-Mex toppings make it a well-rounded savory breakfast or anytime meal.


  • 1 cup dry polenta
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained (1½ cups)
  • 1 cup purchased pico de gallo
  • 1 small avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional)


  • In a medium saucepan bring 4 cups water to boiling. Gradually whisk in polenta and cumin. Reduce heat to low; cook about 20 minutes or until mixture is thick and creamy, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat. Season with salt.
  • In a small saucepan warm beans over low heat. Divide polenta among four individual bowls. Top with beans, pico de gallo, avocado, cilantro, and jalapeño (if using).

Comments (35)

(5 from 9 votes)

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Forgot the stars 5!


I make the polenta in my Instant Pot. If you use store-bought salsa, canned Pinto or Black beans, and a smashed frozen Avacado, You have a pantry-ready meal that's super quick with an Instant Pot. One of my favorite so quick meals.

Mark Angellotti

So simple and delicious!!


So warm and tasty!

Cathy Rosato

Looks tasty!


This looks very familiar. Just like the Indian, specifically Gujarati "khichu" normally made from rice flour.


YUMMMMMMM! Best breakfast ever ;) I blended some avo with tomato (and a little lemon juice) to make a sauce... wow.


sounds delicious! i love polenta and always had it for breakfast but this gives me a new idea - dinner! would definitely add more fresh veggies to it for more 'eating from the rainbow'!..... like zucchini or other peppers or even broccoli!!!

Rebekah Welch

Delicious! This is an easy recipe and I love the addition of cumin in the polenta. I use the Bob’s Red Mill corn grits/polenta, which tastes great in this recipe. I also added some water to the black beans when heating them up.


I didn't make the polenta from scratch, I used the tube kind. I also didn't have this for breakfast. ^_^ This recipe came together in about 12 minutes, which is perfect for my 20-minute lunch break. My 2-year-old son insisted I share with him and he ate a fair bit. Super Tasty. Super Quick. Will be making it again.

Sidney Irving

Made for dinner tonight. Relatively simple and delicious. Also topped with red onion, tomato in addition to avocado and salsa. Served with green salad.

Anne Vermont

This sounds delicious. Polenta or grits has little nutritional value, mostly sugar. The toppings are healthy though. I will definitely try this.


polenta has zero sugar in it


It depends on whether or not you get the whole grain. Most cornmeal has the germ removed for better shelf life, and to use it in corn oil. Bob's Red Mill is whole grain. There is no sugar added to dry cornmeal / polenta. I can't comment on the stuff that comes in a tube because I've never bought it before.


One of the best things that I have made and will definitely do it again! Quick and easy.

Joan Withrow

I can't find dry "polenta". Is this grits or cornmeal or under another name?


Basically the same. One is made with yellow corn, one is made with white.


You can order online. Bobs Red Mill has polenta


This would be fantastic


Where do you find answers to the questions asked, such as liquid to beans after draining/rinsing? Incomplete instructions. Can you use parsley for cilantro? When you call for purchased items such as pico de Gallo in this case, can you give us some brand names as example?


When you drain and rinse beans you do not add any liquid. Just use residual liquid when heating on LOW heat. Of course you could use parsley. Cilantro tastes awful to me so I would substitute. I would look for an organic pico de gallo since tomatoes are high in pesticides according to research by Environmental Working Group.


warm bean in a pan over low heat, you can add a little water if you fear they will stick. You can make your own Pico de Gallo its just diced tomato, onion,cilantro & some lemon or lime squeezed in. I like to add minced jalapenos or a small can of diced green chili's too sometimes. You certainly can sub parsley or green onion, you can even use shredded cabbage or lettuce! It's all up to your taste buds :)


So easy and delicious! Savory breakfasts are a nice change.


I appreciate the EWG....they keep us informed

Barbara Hayes

Are the beans warmed with any liquid? The Ingredients List says the beans are rinsed and drained (which I would do to remove excess sodium), so does that mean heating them 'dry' in a saucepan? Should the pico de gallo be added to the beans in the pan? This sounds delicious as brunch or lunch, but I'm confused by the instructions.


I think I’m going to add a bit of water to just keep them from sticking to the pan. Or maybe a little salsa.


What is polenta? Is it the same as yellow cornmeal?

Mary Darnieder

Polenta is a northern Italian dish made of coarsely ground corn. Freshly cooked, polenta is soft and creamy, like porridge or mush, and makes a terrific bed for sauces.


Polenta is grits


Would like to try. Echoing the other comment - what is the calorie and nutrition content? Thank you


A 3/4-cup (125-gram) serving of polenta cooked in water provides Calories: 80 Carbs: 17 grams Protein: 2 grams Fat: less than 1 gram Fiber: 1 gram


What is the calorie and nutrition content?


Going to put this on my meal prep list sounds delish


Can you not figure this out yourself


A 3/4-cup (125-gram) serving of polenta cooked in water provides Calories: 80 Carbs: 17 grams Protein: 2 grams Fat: less than 1 gram Fiber: 1 gram

About the Author

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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 DarshanasKitchen.com and follow her on Instagram for more.
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