Crispy on the outside, with a creamy inside, this Healthy Baked Polenta Fries recipe is the perfect comfort food snack. Served with your favorite dipping sauce a crowd-pleasing party finger food, or easy appetizer. Gluten-free!
Place vegetable stock, milk, and salt in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.
When it’s boiling, reduce heat to medium/low and whisk in polenta. Cook, whisking constantly until liquid is absorbed, and polenta is thick and creamy about 5 minutes.
Add in the Italian seasoning and grated parmesan, and whisk until well combined.
Pour the mixture into prepared pan, and shake it to spread it evenly. Let it cool to room temperature then place in the fridge to set for at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
Preheat oven to 440F/220C.
Invert the polenta on a cutting board and slice into fries (cut in 3 x 3 then cut again each piece into 4)
Transfer the fries on a sheet pan with a wire rack, brush generously with olive oil and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan half way through if you see that one side is browning more than the other. The fries are ready when they’re crispy on the outside. I like mine extra crispy so I let them brown generously :)
Take them out of the oven and serve them immediately with marinara sauce, ketchup or your favorite dipping sauce.
Dried oregano and thyme work especially well with the parmesan cheese but feel free to add some taco or bbq seasoning, za'atar, lemon zest and pepper, Indian curry powder, a sprinkle of cayenne or Cajun seasoning.
Once your polenta is in the baking dish, it needs at least 2 - 3 hours to solidify. You can leave it in the fridge up to overnight. That’s why this dish is a great make-ahead option for a dinner party.
To make this vegan, add nutritional yeast and skip the parmesan cheese. Nutritional yeast provides that umami-rich cheesy flavor that we love about these cheesy fries.
Make these extra cheesy by adding a sprinkle of finely grated parmesan 10 minutes before they are finished baking.
Another way of boosting the cheese flavor would be to heat the 2 cups of vegetable stock with a big chunk of parmesan rind, a twig of rosemary and a clove of garlic, simmer for a couple of minutes, then let cool down and use in the recipe. Add more water to make up for the lost liquid. (You need 2 cups)