If you’re a fan of Italian cuisine, you’d be making polenta more often than you think.
But having the same meal over and over again isn’t fun.
Luckily, that won’t be the case, as we have a wide range of exciting and delicious side dishes for you to try when serving this boiled cornmeal.
Polenta is a type of porridge that uses white/yellow cornmeal and soup stock/water as its main ingredients.
It is a Swiss, Balkan, and Northern Italian staple.
If you’re wondering what to serve with creamy polenta, we suggest giving our list a look.
We have recommendations ranging from simple vegetable dishes to rich meaty sides that complement polenta.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Creamy Polenta?
One of the main reasons why polenta is the perfect main course to pair with other dishes is that it has a subtle flavor that creates a beautiful base for other flavors.
Also, creamy polenta usually isn’t served alone.
It tastes best when combined with savory sides with contrasting textures.
Besides that, the main dish is mostly starch- you need to fulfill your balanced meal by getting the other nutrients from side dishes.
What to Serve with Creamy Polenta? 10 BEST Side Dishes
Here is the list of side dishes you can consider making to serve with creamy polenta and make it even more tasty and special.
1 – Garlic and Almonds Sautéed Green Beans
Polenta tastes great with green beans.
But we’re not just talking about plain green beans here- they are sautéed with garlic and almonds.
This side dish is perfect for giving your meal a good crunch and decadent flavors.
Don’t go too easy on the garlic- they make the green beans extra juicy and flavorful.
To prepare garlic and almonds sautéed green beans, you’ll need to soften the green beans by boiling them in water.
Next, heat your favorite pan, drizzle olive oil, and fry the garlic and almonds until aromatic.
Finally, add your beans and season with salt and pepper.
Adding sesame oil to the dish will change the game if you want it to burst with flavors.
2 – Balsamic Roasted Veggies
Some recipes call for very specific ingredients that make it inconvenient for you to assemble at the last minute.
If that’s something you want to avoid this time, try balsamic roasted veggies.
You can gather the vegetables you have at hand to make this dish.
However, if you want to know what works best, here are some options- sweet potato, Yukon gold potatoes, red pepper, carrot, leek, shallots, and asparagus.
All you need to do is mix them with olive oil, balsamic, oregano, parsley, salt, and pepper and toss them in the oven.
Balsamic vinegar works best for this dish as its tanginess cuts through the creamy polenta and makes the meal even more flavorful.
3 – Sweet Potato and Chorizo Skillet
Featuring sweet flavors from sweet potatoes and spiciness from chorizo, this side offers flavors as nothing else does.
This dish simply requires sautéing the two ingredients in a pan with your favorite seasoning and serving with creamy polenta.
Topping it with avocado slices will make it creamier.
If you want to be extra, you can add mushrooms for an earthy flavor.
We suggest using spices like chili powder, cumin, and garlic.
4 – Crispy Shrimp Scampi
Seafood lovers need not worry, as we’re here to tell you that a casserole of crispy shrimp scampi is just what your creamy polenta needs.
Need texture? The parmesan and panko topping will do the trick.
The best part is that this dish gets ready in just fifteen minutes.
If you don’t have white wine, you can substitute it with broth or use more lemon juice.
5 – Lemon Garlic Zucchini Ribbons
If you love eating noodles but don’t want to risk the carbs intake, lemon garlic zucchini ribbons are just what you need for the next dinner.
This versatile side dish goes well with almost anything- including creamy polenta.
Infused with lemon’s tanginess and the deep flavors of garlic, lemon garlic zucchini ribbons have the right flavors to complement your polenta.
Want to add more texture and color? Use these ingredients in the recipe- pine nuts, chopped basil, and cherry tomatoes.
It is quick and easy to make and gives you something refreshing to enjoy with polenta.
6 – Herbed Potatoes with Parmigiano-Reggiano
Try this herb-infused recipe of mashed potatoes to give your creamy polenta a bomb side dish.
Herbed potatoes with parmigiano-reggiano features flavors from onion, garlic, and rosemary.
These potatoes have a crispy outside, and creamy inside that ensures you enjoy contrasting textures and a whole load of flavors.
Sprinkle some chili powder and parsley over the dish to get the most out of it.
Herbed potatoes with cheese give your meal more substance and ensure everyone is full and satisfied at the end of the meal.
7 – Chicken Cacciatore
Your taste buds will dance with this hearty, rustic stew-type dish that’s loaded with flavors from capers, tomatoes, and olives.
The other ingredients are- fresh rosemary, parsley, basil, red wine, and veggies like bell pepper, yellow onion, mushrooms, and garlic.
It’s the perfect accompaniment for polenta, as it needs a base to soak all the savory sauce.
Chicken cacciatore is great for those who want a meaty side dish to pair with creamy polenta.
It requires less than an hour to make and stores in the freezer for a good time in case of leftovers.
8 – Roasted Mushrooms and Asparagus
You can choose to enjoy a heavy side dish with your creamy polenta or keep it light and still tasty with roasted mushrooms and asparagus.
Great for even the most formal occasions, this side dish has rich earthy flavors.
The best part is that it requires only three main ingredients- brown or white mushrooms, garlic, and asparagus.
For seasoning, you can keep it simple by using salt and pepper.
As for the mushrooms, the best varieties for this dish are cremini, Bella, button, and Shiitake.
When you want to serve something luxurious, roasted mushrooms and asparagus make a great option.
They are also super quick and easy to make, so you won’t spend too much time in the kitchen.
9 – Cheesy Stuffed Bell Peppers
If you love cheese and want to create a side dish that’s loaded with cheesy flavors but still healthy, try cheesy stuffed bell peppers.
Customizing this delectable side dish is easy, and you can season or stuff the bell peppers with your favorite ingredients.
If you need ideas for the stuffing, we recommend using ground chicken/beef or sausages.
For the vegetarian food lovers out there, you can alternate the meat with mushrooms or other vegetables.
This side dish makes an excellent accompaniment for creamy polenta because of its complementing flavors.
10 – Braised Beef Shanks (Osso Bucco)
Another meaty side dish that turns your main course into the ultimate comfort and hearty meal is freshly-made Osso Bucco.
It is an Italian cuisine item that consists of veal/beef shanks cooked with white wine, vegetables, and broth.
This might be the only side dish on the list that’s not as easy or quick to make.
So, you’ll need to invest a little more time in it.
But the reward is a rich and creamy fall-off-the-bone meat dish that’s incredibly delicious.
To conclude, creamy polenta is typically enjoyed with other dishes on the side to make the meal more filling, balanced, and flavourful.
You can choose your side dish based on whether you want your meal to be sweet or savory.
Regardless of your choice, the neutral polenta flavor works for all palates.
These sides are easy, budget-friendly, and quick to make.
Pick your favorite one today to serve a memorable meal.
With so many options at your disposal, you never have to worry about a bland meal when serving polenta.