This polenta method is set it (aside) and (almost) forget it—leaving your hands free to roast beets, dress them in balsamic vinegar and rinse a fistful of summer greens and herbs.


Credit: Brie Passano

Recipe Summary

15 mins
1 hr 45 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 400°. Place beets on a sheet of foil. Add the water, 1 tablespoon butter, the thyme and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring edges of foil together over beets and crimp to seal, leaving space above beets. Roast beets packet on a center oven rack until beets are tender and easily pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Carefully open packet and let beets cool slightly. Using paper towels, rub skins from beets; quarter beets. Place warm beet pieces in a bowl with vinegar, olive oil, shallot and garlic; stir to coat. Let marinate at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Meanwhile, prepare polenta. In a medium saucepan, bring broth to a boil. While whisking, add cornmeal to broth in a very slow stream, watching nearly every grain fall into the pot. Add 2 tablespoons butter. Stir to make sure there are no lumps, turn off heat and cover saucepan. Let stand 1 hour, stirring once or twice. (The polenta will thicken as it stands, but if it seems thin after standing, return polenta to the stove and simmer a few more minutes or until desired thickness.)

  • Before serving, add Parmesan and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper to polenta. Stir well, incorporating any pooled broth. Spoon polenta into shallow bowls. Top with marinated beets, the greens, herbs and, if you like, additional Parmesan.


Ingredient Tip: If you want to use a combination of red and yellow beets, be aware that red beets will stain yellow beets if roasted together. To show off their individual colors, follow directions to wrap, roast and marinate them separately.Nutrition Facts (per serving): 325 cal., 15 g total fat (7 g sat. fat), 29 mg chol., 1251 mg sodium, 38 g carb., 5 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 11 g pro.Daily Values: 40% vit. A, 46% vit. C, 14% calcium, 19% iron.