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Grits or Polenta Cakes

Call it grits, polenta, or mamaliga (it’s Romania’s native dish), it’s cornmeal porridge, humble, affordable, delicious, and comforting. And with this method, easy. Thank Paula Wolfert and her genius hack. It makes perfect grits every time, no matter what you call it. No standing over a hot stove, no risking splatters on your stovetop or you.
Course Main Course


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more if desired
  • 1 cup coarse cornmeal sometimes labelled grits or polenta
  • 4 cups water
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Generously oil a deep ovenproof casserole with one tablespoon of the olive oil. Pour in cornmeal and water, add a little sea salt — you’ll probably want more when it’s done. Give it a stir, so it forms a slurry. It will not look pretty. Have heart. Place baking dish in the oven and leave it to work its magic for 1 hour.
  • Take out the mamaliga, and give it a vigorous stir Season generously with sea salt and pepper. Add more olive oil if desired. No lumps, no splatters.

To make grits cakes:

  • Lightly oil an 8 X 8” baking pan, a clean, empty 24-ounce container of vegan yogurt. Allow polenta to cool slightly. Then pour into chosen container, cover and refrigerate for six hours or even overnight, until grits condenses and becomes firm.
  • Turn out and slice as desired, such as rounds, batons, triangles.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lined a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat. Place grits cakes on top. Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Roast for 15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly blackened. Flip grits cakes gently and roast for another 10 minutes, or until they’re golden and crispy.
  • Yes, you can also grill them. Top with grilled or roasted zucchini, or any variety of summer produce.
Keyword grits, grits cake, polenta, vegetables