Toasted polenta rounds are ideal comfort food for an easy weeknight meal. Use them to scoop up dips, top with tasty ingredients, or eat alongside your favorite salad or soup. They make a great substitute for tortilla chips! This recipe is oil-free, gluten-free, and satisfies a whole food plant-based lifestyle. Air fryer and oven methods are both included.
While this recipe can be enjoyed all year round, I especially like it in the fall and winter, with warming meals.
It was inspired by my Instant Pot Chili with Greens, when I was contemplating a tortilla chip alternative. They're toasted rather than crispy, yet can withstand stacking goodies on top of it or dipping like a chip. These polenta rounds also pair well with this sour cream recipe. Both are pictured above.
The ingredients here are so basic and can be kept in your pantry for those nights you need an extra easy fix.
Polenta tube: These are easy to find in most grocery stores and are really versatile. It's very sliceable. I have used this traditional Italian version in Mexican dishes without blinking an eye - it works wonderfully.
Garlic salt (optional): While you can also find garlic salt easily in most grocery stores, I like making mine so that I can control the garlic-to-salt ratio. Check out my garlic salt recipe to learn more - it's very easy to do.
See recipe card for quantities.
Air fryer or oven: The recipe below includes instructions for both, so you can use what you have.
Toasted polenta rounds require very little effort, which is why it's great for those nights when you have little time or energy. It just takes a moment to slice up the tube, place the pieces on the tray/lined baking sheet, sprinkle with garlic salt (if using), and place it in the air fryer or oven.
Slice up the polenta and place on your baking surface (lined baking sheet if using oven). Sprinkle with garlic salt if using.
Set to air fry or bake in the oven. The timing varies depending on how think your slices are and how toasted you'd like them.
Slice thickness is flexible. The instructions indicate that it's up to you whether you slice the tube into ¼-inch thick pieces up to ½-inch thick. The thinner version will end up more toasty and maybe even a little crispy, while the thicker ones will be toasted on the outside and soft on the inside.
Cook time is flexible. If you don't have much time and you don't mind the polenta rounds being softer on top instead of toasted, air fry or bake them just long enough to heat, 5-10 minutes. Alternatively, you could microwave them for about a minute. These polenta rounds are very easy to work with!
Store uneaten toasted polenta rounds in a refrigerated sealed container for up to a few days.
They also can be frozen. Lay them on a flat surface that can go in the freezer, such as a small baking sheet. This will keep them from sticking to each other. Once frozen, store them in a freezer-safe container, such as a jar.
While you can experiment with slicing them very thin and baking them to get them crispy, this recipe does not create crispy polenta rounds. They have a nice toasted exterior with a soft center.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
These are my favorite recipes to serve with polenta rounds:
Toasted Polenta Rounds
- air fryer or oven
- 1 tube polenta
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic salt optional
- Slice the tubed polenta into ¼-1/2 inch thick slices. Place the slices on your air fryer tray or parchment-lined baking sheet for the oven.
- Sprinkle with garlic salt, if using.
- Air fry: 20 minutes, or until toasted golden brown. Flip half way to ensure golden on both sides.Oven: 40 minutes, or until toasted golden brown. Flip half way to ensure golden on both sides.
- Serve on their own, as a side to a salad or soup, or however you might use tortilla chips or bruschetta.
- Store in the fridge for up to a few days. For freezing: Freeze on a baking sheet until solid, then stack them in a freezer safe container, like a jar for up to a few months.
general food safety
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands and ingredients well before using
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove