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A bowl of savory breakfast polenta with roasted tomatoes, zucchini, crispy bacon bits, and fresh herbs.
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5 from 9 votes

Savory Breakfast Polenta (With Sweet Option)

This creamy breakfast polenta is a delicious recipe everyone will love. It's comforting, warming, customizable, and is both gluten and dairy free. See the recipe notes for how to make sweet polenta.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Servings: 4


Roasted Vegetables

  • 12 ounces tomatoes, halved Campari, Roma, or heirloom
  • 3 medium zucchini, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for serving
  • kosher salt & black pepper

Creamy Polenta

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon diamond crystal kosher salt reduce by half if using another type
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 tablespoons butter dairy-free or regular unsalted

More Savory Topping Ideas


  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC. Toss the tomatoes and zucchini with one tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and black pepper, and arrange in a single layer on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Cook for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Add the water, milk of choice, and salt to a medium pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. 
  • Once boiling, pour in the polenta with one hand while continuously whisking with the other hand. This helps prevent clumping. Reduce heat to low and simmer whisking often for about 5 minutes as the polenta starts to thicken.
  • Cover and cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring once every 5 minutes.
  • Taste the polenta to check for doneness. Once done, remove it from the heat, and stir in two tablespoons of butter. Put the lid back on for an additional 5 minutes (off the heat). 
  • Serve it in a bowl with the roasted veggies on top, a drizzle of olive oil, fresh herbs, and a little salt. Plus any other additional toppings if desired. 


Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

No polenta? - you can use grits instead. Grits are made from ground white corn and have a finer texture (hence their name), but are cooked the same way.
No dairy-free milk? You can use chicken or vegetable broth or more water.
No tomatoes or zucchini? You can also use tomato confit or any other vegetable you like such as broccolinimarinated portobello mushroomssweet and spicy butternut squashcaramelized onions, etc.
Add-ins - protein such as crispy bacon or prosciutto, a fried egg or soft boiled eggs with a jammy egg yolk, parmesan cheese,
Amp up the flavor - while this is delicious on its own, you can also mix in arugula pesto or miso butter for different flavor profiles.


Make sweet polenta - cook the polenta the same way, and forget the vegetables. Once you remove it from the heat, add a sweetener such as maple syrup or brown sugar, cashew cream (optional), and vanilla extract. From there you can top it with fresh fruit, fruit compote such as strawberrycherryraspberry, or blueberry chia jam.