Grilled Polenta Bites with Blue Cheese, Figs & Honey

These Grilled Polenta Bites are part of my Happy Hour at Home Series - a month filled with tips and recipes meant to inspire you to slow down and enjoy a summer happy hour at home.

Super simple, seasonal ingredients plus a pantry staple make this Happy at Hour at Home appetizer a breeze to put together.

Super simple, seasonal ingredients plus a pantry staple make this Happy at Hour at Home appetizer a breeze to put together.

When it comes to summer cooking for us, most of it happens outside on the grill. My thought is, why make the whole house even hotter and be stuck inside when pretty much anything I’d cook on the stove I can cook on the grill while enjoying the fresh air!

So it only made sense that I would include an easy grilled appetizer as part of the Happy Hour at Home Series since we’re probably out there grilling already. But don’t worry, I’ve also included two non-grill instructions: one for cooking the polenta on a grill pan and one for cooking it in a skillet.

These easy, summer appetizers include an ingredient you are probably familiar with but may be a little intimidated by: polenta!

Polenta is made from stone-ground yellow corn and unlike it’s corn cousin, grits, it has a little more texture when prepared into a creamy mixture. Typically, polenta is cooked along with some liquid (either water or broth) and seasonings until it reaches a creamy consistency, however, this recipe calls for pre-made polenta which comes in a tube.

Now before I go any further, I want to explain something. If you are making the creamy style polenta, I REALLY recommend you make it from scratch and forgo the tubed, pre-made variety. The flavor honestly cannot be beat and it is very much worth slowing down to continuously stir your big pot of polenta.

However, since its summer and we’re trying to maximize the most of our time actually enjoying ourselves, I think it’s definitely A-OK to go with the pre-made version here, especially since we want it to be in a circular shape* that holds together rather than a creamy consistency.

These are the types of dishes I love because really, you could customize these grilled polenta bites with any summer ingredients you want! Top them with some brie cheese a slice of fresh juicy apricot. Or perhaps you prefer to go a bit more savory and top your grilled polenta slices with a big piece of feta and some leftover Roasted Cherry Tomatoes from your summer snack plate.

Are there any combinations you want to try this summer? Don’t forget to share your creations with me on Instagram by tagging me @wellnessbykristen and using #createbeautifulfood

Hope you are enjoying this Happy at Home Series and are taking the time to slow down and savor summer my friends!

*Note: if you happen to make a big batch of creamy polenta, spread any leftover into a pan so that it is 1/2” thick. Refrigerate it until firm and then use a 3” biscuit cutter to cut out rounds. Lay on a baking sheet and freeze for 12 hours. Store in airtight containers in the freezer for up to 6 months. Use as directed in the recipe below!

Yield: 6 servings
Author:

Grilled Polenta Bites with Figs, Blue Cheese & Honey

An easy summer appetizer that is a little bit sweet and a little bit salty and uses fresh figs and pre-made polenta.
prep time: 5 Mcook time: 10 Mtotal time: 15 M

ingredients:

  • 1 18oz. package tubed polenta (such as Ancient Harvest Traditional Polenta)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or olive oil spray)
  • 12 ounces blue cheese, sliced into 1 oz portions (see note)
  • 4-5 large black mission figs, sliced into 12 pieces
  • Honey
  • Thyme

instructions:

How to cook Grilled Polenta Bites with Figs, Blue Cheese & Honey

  1. Preheat the grill to medium high heat (about 375F). See note for alternates to grilling. 
  2. Slice the polenta into 12, 1/2" slices and brush both sides with olive oil. 
  3. Place the polenta slices on the grill and let cook on each side for 4-5 minutes. The polenta should release easily when ready to remove or flip to the other side. 
  4. Arrange the polenta slices on your serving platter and top each one with a slice of blue cheese and a piece of fig. 
  5. Drizzle honey on top of each polenta stack and then add a small piece of thyme. 
  6. Serve and enjoy!

NOTES:

While blue cheese pairs perfectly with the figs, you can use any kind you like such as a sharp white cheddar, goat cheese or brie. To grill on a grill pan: follow same instructions as for the regular grill, being sure the heat is on medium-high and the grill pan is well oiled. To grill on a skillet: In a large skillet (preferably a cast iron skillet), add the 1 tablespoon oil (do not brush the polenta with the oil). Heat the pan over medium high heat and then add the polenta slices, being sure to not overcrowd the pan. Follow cooking instructions & time for the grilling option.
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