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On a recent trip to Denver’s Union Station, my mother-in law ordered a wonderful salad at Mercantile Dining and Provision. The ingredient that really stood out was the polenta croutons. I decided to create my own version of the croutons which would make a great change to bread croutons, and I could serve them to my gluten-free friends.

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The polenta itself turned out so good that we enjoyed the croutons in the salad one night, using only half of the polenta to make croutons and then I took the other half and made a fabulous vegetarian dish the following night, which I will share in another post.

I used Bob’s Red Mill Organic Polenta Corn Grits for this recipe. I think they have the best tasting polenta of all of the brands I have tried.

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Farmer's Salad with Polenta Croutons - Croutons
Recipe type: Salad
Author:
Ingredients
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup polenta/cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • ⅓ grated parmesan (skip this for vegan/dairy free)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried mixed herbs – I like Herbs du Provence
Instructions
  1. Bring the water to a boil in a heavy saucepan.
  2. Add the salt, pepper, herbs and butter/oil.
  3. Whisk the cornmeal into the boiling water. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the cornmeal thickens and becomes tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the parmesan until combined and remove from heat.
  5. Pour the hot polenta into the oiled container, spreading it out evenly.
  6. Cover with a plastic wrap or waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  7. Preheat broiler high.
  8. Turn the polenta out onto a flat surface.
  9. Cut the polenta into ½ inch cubes and place them on a non-stick sheet pan or a sheet pan lined with non-stick parchment or a silpat.
  10. Toast the croutons until the edges are browned, turning once or twice.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until warm.
Notes
You can make the croutons up to a day ahead of time and then warm before serving, however, they are really best made the same day. To save some time and still have great tasting croutons, make the polenta the day before but toast the croutons just before using.

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Farmer's Salad with Polenta Croutons - Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • Pinch of mixed dried herbs
Instructions
  1. Whisk all of the ingredients together.

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Farmer's Salad with Polenta Croutons - Assembling salad
Author:
Serves: 2 entree size/4 side salads
Ingredients
  • 4 cups field greens
  • 1-2 carrots, peeled in long ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 large radish, washed and sliced thin
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • Honey mustard vinaigrette
  • Polenta croutons
Instructions
  1. Place all of the vegetables into a large bowl or individual bowls.
  2. Top with the croutons and berries.
  3. Dress with the vinaigrette.

Serve and enjoy!

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