Wednesday, May 31, 2023



Readers’ Recipe: Margaret’s Grilled Polenta Bites With Cheese


By Emily Woodbury

OK, so, I have to admit… I’ve made this twice for myself already. It’s so good and, well, maybe a little bit addicting.

Growing up, my mom, who is Romanian, often made a dish called Mamaliga: polenta with cheese (lots of it) and sour cream. It’s to die for. The minute I saw Margaret’s recipe I just knew it would be good – I knew that you couldn’t go wrong with polenta and cheese (from lots of experience).

For those of you who aren’t familiar with polenta, it’s essentially the Italian version of grits (just to clarify, it’s originally an Italian dish, not Romanian, even though Romania, like other countries, has their own traditional recipes using polenta.) Polenta is made with cornmeal and can be served many ways: hot and creamy,  cold and firm, cheesy, with eggs and bacon, with lentils and spices, etc. Before corn was introduced in America in the 16th century, polenta was made with ground chickpeas, farro, millet or spelt (though I like it just as it is, please and thank you). Considered the “poor man’s dish,” polenta was cheap and easy to cultivate in Northern Italy.

Polenta does take a long time to cook – from scratch it may run you about 45 minutes. For this recipe make sure to note that Margaret uses the precooked polenta that comes in a tube, usually found near the pasta at any grocery store. (Trader Joe’s is where I buy mine – $4!) This is easiest to grill as you just slice it up and throw it on the grill. Enjoy!

What Margaret has to say:
We had these camping over the summer and we were immediately hooked. A friend of ours made a whole plate to share but my husband and I ate them all – whoops! 

Note: This can also be made in a frying pan on the stove top! Cover pan with a lid once the polenta begins to crisp up and wait for cheese to melt.

Grilled Polenta Bites With Cheese

Serving Size: 8 people…or just 1 🙂 
Total Time: 20 minutes
Author: Margaret Schuler

  • 1 18oz tube/roll precooked polenta
  • Sliced cheese – whatever kind you prefer. Margaret used Blue while I used a Fontina with truffles. 
  1. Heat grill to high.
  2. Cut polenta into slices, about 3/4″ thick (or however thick or thin you like).
  3. Top each slice of polenta with cheese.
  4. Put polenta slices (with cheese on top) on foil on the grill. 
  5. Cover and let polenta get crispy while cheese melts.
 Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! Thanks for submitting, Margaret!

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Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury is the editor here at She was lucky enough to grow up alongside two traveling parents, one domestically by RV (yep, Chuck Woodbury) and the other for international adventures, and has been lucky to see a great deal of our world (and counting!). She lives near Seattle with her dog and chickens. When she's not cranking out 365+ newsletters for she's hiking, cooking or, well, probably traveling.


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Maryellen Lewis
5 years ago

Thank you Emily, this looks fantastic! I can’t wait to try it. Anything with cheese….
Just to mention, corn/maize originated in North America – Mexico, actually. It was domesticated there several thousand years ago. Christopher Columbus took it back to Europe.

Mike Roberts
5 years ago

Growing up in my parents home, for breakfast on special days we would have fried mush. My father was from SW Illinois, farm country, lots of corn. Mush and Polenta are the same, made with corn meal. Mush is sliced Polenta, that is fried and served with butter and syrup.
With bacon and eggs, their is nothing better for breakfast.

Margie Disque
5 years ago
Reply to  Mike Roberts

Mike, I once got sniffed at by a waiter at a chi-chi restaurant. My dad asked what polenta was and I told him expensive corn meal mush. We did not enjoy good service that lunch.

5 years ago

Yum! Can’t wait to try this recipe. My mother was also Romanian so mamaliga was a staple in our home. Happy grilling….Happy camping! MJ

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