These crispy baked vegan polenta fries are easy to make, yet so delicious, and way healthier than traditional French fries! So if you’re looking to try something different, try this amazing homemade crispy polenta snack!
If you’re craving fries but want something healthier and without all the excess grease, you should try this recipe. The ingredients are easy to find and won’t cost you so much. In this recipe, I used quick-cooking polenta which is perfect if you don’t have a lot of time. This is also a good way to introduce kids to Polenta, which is a very versatile dish.
What is polenta?
Polenta is a creamy dish native to Italy and also the name of the product itself. Similar to grits or cornmeal, Polenta (corn semolina) is made by grinding dried yellow corn kernels. To make a basic polenta, all you really need are a few basic ingredients – polenta, water, vegan butter, salt, and pepper. Then it can be served hot and creamy like my Creamy Vegan Polenta or allowed to cool and then sliced into fries or gnocchi or fritters or whatever recipe you’d like to make.
Types of polenta
When buying polenta, keep in mind that there are several varieties available. The difference between one polenta to another mainly varies on the fineness or coarseness of the grind. So depending on which type of polenta you buy, you may have to adjust the cooking time as various types need different times to cook. While coarse ground polenta has a longer cooking time, quick-cooking or instant polenta are done less than 5 minutes.
- Coarse ground polenta – This is the most common form of polenta and can be paired with tons of dishes. However, it needs to be cooked for 1 hour with constant stirring, which can be quite laborious.
- Finely ground polenta – because of its finer texture it thickens faster and is ready in about 15-20 minutes. It is often used in baked goods like cakes or biscuits.
- Instant Polenta (quick-cooking polenta) – takes just a few minutes to cook.
- Precooked polenta – is often available in tubes and perfect if you don’t have a lot of time since it is ready-made.
How to make polenta fries
Ready to make some crispy polenta fries? If so, check out this step-by-step guide first. Then find the full recipe and exact measurements in the recipe card below.
Step 1 – Cook polenta
In a pot or saucepan bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Then whisk in the polenta slowly and cook, stirring constantly, until it starts to thicken. Stir in vegan butter, garlic, herbs, smoked paprika powder, salt, and pepper to taste.
Then immediately add the polenta onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Smooth it out into an even layer that’s about ¼ inch (0.6cm) thick. Allow to cool until it’s firm and sliceable.
Step 2 – Make the coating (gluten-free breading)
Make the coating by adding oats, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika powder, and a pinch of salt into a food processor. Process into a coarse meal, then place it in a shallow bowl.
Step 3 – Cut into fries, coat, and bake!
When your polenta has solidified, cut the polenta into fries. Spray or brush the sticks with olive oil and toss in the prepared coating. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving some space between each polenta stick.
Now bake your fries in a preheated oven for 15 minutes. Then flip them and bake for another 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
And there you have it! These healthier crispy baked polenta fries will surely be a new favorite snack in your family. You can just dip them in your favorite sauce or even put them into a tortilla or Lahmacun to make a tasty BBQ Pulled Jackfruit wrap!
Dips and sauces to pair with
You can enjoy these polenta fries as they are but serving them with your favorite sauce or dip will make them extra special! Here are some dipping sauces you can pair them with:
- Cashew Mayonnaise – this is an alternative to non-vegan mayonnaise but just as delicious and even healthier!
- Cheese Sauce – I don’t know about you but fries are not complete without cheese! So, that being said, why not try this dairy-free cheese sauce.
- Guacamole – Avocado is healthy, rich in nutrients and vitamins, and makes a great dip when you mash it until creamy and add some seasonings.
- Vegan Tzatziki – If you’re a fan of garlic like me, serve these healthier polenta fries with garlicky Tzatziki!
- BBQ sauce – a flavorful homemade change for classic ketchup!
- Sweet Chili Sauce – perfect if you love spicy Asian food!
Can you make this recipe ahead?
Yes! You can leave the baking dish with the cooked polenta in the refrigerator overnight. Then your polenta is ready to slice the next day.
As for the coating, you can also prepare it ahead and store it in a tight-lid container at room temperature. This should even last for a few days or weeks.
How to store leftover baked polenta fries?
If you happen to have any leftover baked polenta fries, simply store them covered in the refrigerator. Then reheat in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until they’re crispy again.
Can you deep-fry these fries?
If you don’t have an oven available, you can also deep fry these polenta fries. Simply heat enough oil in a large frying pan or pot. Once hot, carefully add the fries and fry until golden and crispy. You can drain them in an oil drying rack or place them on paper towels which help to absorb excess oil.
Tips for making crispy polenta fries
- Cut the polenta fries the same size so they cook evenly.
- Try different seasonings/herbs, depending on your taste, you can get creative with the seasonings!
- You can substitute rolled oats with breadcrumbs.
- If you want your fries to be extra crispy, you can cut them thinner.
- To be sure of cooking time, read the instructions on the label of the polenta you bought.
These crispy vegan polenta fries are:
- Easy to make
- Healthier than traditional fries
- Baked and not fried
- The perfect finger food snack!
Other easy vegan snacks you might like
Looking for more recipes to serve for your next movie night? Then be sure to check these out!
- Vegan Burrito Samosas
- Turkish Borek
- Vegan Quesadillas
- Scallion Pancakes
- Aloo Paratha
- Sweet Potato Falafel
- BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Burger
- Sweet Potato Fries
If you try these crispy vegan polenta fries, please leave me a comment below sharing how you liked this recipe! And if you take a picture of your dish and share it on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka to be sure I won’t miss your post! Enjoy!
Crispy Baked Polenta FriesAuthor:
- 4 cups (960 ml) vegetable broth
- 2 cups (320 g) quick-cooking polenta *see blog post for further information
- 3 tbsp (45 g) vegan butter or margarine
- 2-3 garlic cloves pressed, or 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp dried herbs e.g. rosemary, thyme, oregano (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- ⅔ cup (60 g) rolled oats gluten-free as needed, or sub breadcrumbs
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan
- 1-2 tsp smoked paprika powder
- pinch of salt to taste
- olive oil or cooking spray for brushing
- Line a large baking sheet or baking dish with parchment paper.
- In a pot or saucepan, bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Slowly, whisk in the polenta, and cook, stirring constantly, until it starts to thicken, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in vegan butter, garlic, herbs, smoked paprika powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat, fill the polenta onto the prepared baking sheet and smooth it out into an even layer that’s about ¼-inch (0,6 cm) thick.
- Allow to cool for 20 minutes in the refrigerator until it’s sliceable (or up to overnight if you make this recipe ahead).
- When you’re ready to make the fries, preheat the oven to 428°F (220°C).
- Make the coating by adding oats, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika powder, and a pinch of salt into a food processor. Process into a coarse meal, then place it onto a plate.
- Slice the polenta into fries, about ¼-inch (0,6 cm) thick and 3-inch (7,5 cm) long. Then spray or brush them with olive oil and toss in the coating. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving space between each fry.
- Bake 15 minutes, then flip the fries and bake for 20-25 minutes longer, until golden brown and crispy.
- Serve with your favorite dip and enjoy!
- You can also deep-fry these fries. Simply heat enough oil in a large frying pan or pot. Once hot, carefully add the fries and fry until crispy. Then place on paper towels which help to absorb excess oil.
- Please read my blog post above for make-ahead + storing instructions, helpful tips, and further information on this recipe!
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