Creamy Polenta With Roasted Butternut

This cheesy polenta dish is super creamy and comforting on a cold day! The crispy, slightly spicy sunflower seeds provide such a great texture with the rest of the dish!

When the temperatures start cooling down, my body starts craving warm dishes. Comfort foods are on the menu but I still try to keep them as healthy as possible. Polenta is one of those dishes that is so creamy and delicious and so particularly good when topped with roasted vegetables!

We ate quite a bit of polenta when we used to go on our annual vacations to Italy as kids. There you can buy it pre-cooked in a rectangular package so it’s easy to slice and fry. Have you seen that before? Very easy and fast to make! I love that way but I might love the creamy kind just a tad bit more. There’s something so very comforting about spooning it up, maybe with some tomato based sauce on the side…mmmmmmh, delicious!

Or in this case with roasted butternut! I love roasted butternut so much! In fact I ate some last night, prepared the same way. I know, some people prefer squash that you don’t need to peel (like hokkaido squash) but I really don’t mind peeling mine. However, if you do, feel free to substitute butternut for a similar squash that doesn’t require being peeld.

I made the polenta extra creamy by adding butter, milk and cheese. Cheddar cheese to be exact. It just adds more flavor and creaminess to the dish! If you would like to veganize it (given that the rest of the dish is vegan), you could use vegan butter or even olive oil instead of the butter. And any kind of plant milk instead of cow’s milk. I am not too familiar with vegan cheese but there are probably good substitutes out there as well. While I love the cheesy flavor of nutritional yeast, it would only add the flavor in this case and none of the creaminess of “proper” cheese.

The topping is also super important! It provides a whole different level of texture and flavor. Its so crunchy and delicious together with the creamy polenta and the soft roasted butternut! It’s salty, a little bit spicy and in combination with the fresh coriander, it just makes the dish.

Will you make this delicious dinner soon? Or how about my Healthy Vegan Cottage Pie?

Creamy Polenta With Roasted Butternut

Difficulty: Intermediate Prep Time 15 mins Cook Time 50 mins Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Servings: 2


This cheesy polenta dish is super creamy and comforting on a cold day! The crispy, slightly spicy sunflower seeds provide such a great texture with the rest of the dish!


Roasted Butternut

Cheesy Polenta



  1. Roasted Butternut

    Pre-heat oven to 180°C (356°F). Cover a baking tray with parchment paper. 

  2. Peel the top half of the butternut and cut it into slices (not too thin). 

    Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. 

    Roast at 180°C (356°F) for 40 minutes, then remove from the oven. 

  3. Cheesy Polenta

    In the meantime, heat up 2 cups of water with salt. Once it starts boiling, pour in the ground polenta. Whisk well, then reduce the temperature to medium. After 3 minutes, when most of the water has been absorbed, add 2 more cups of water and mix. 

  4. Simmer on low-medium for 40 minutes. Stir every now and then to avoid burning. Then add milk, cheese and butter and mix in. Simmer for another 5 minutes (keep an eye on it) and take off the heat. 

  5. Toppings

    In a pan, heat up olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the aglio e olio sspice mixture and fry for 30 seconds. Then add the sunflower seeds and stir to coat them. Fry for 2 - 3 minutes while stirring every so often, then sprinkle on some salt. 

    Chop the fresh coriander and either add to the nut mixture or keep on the side. 

  6. Assembly

    Depending on how hungry you are, add 1 or 2 ladles full of cheesy polenta to a bowl or soup plate, top with roasted butternut, the sunflower seeds and fresh coriander. Enjoy!


Butternut: I used the top (seedless) part of the butternut. I didn't weigh it before but it was a bit more than a pound after I peeled it. 

Aglio e Olio: It's a mixture of garlic, red pepper flakes and parsley. I buy mine in Italy but I'm sure you can also make it yourself by combining garlic granules, dried parsley and crushed red pepper flakes. 

Serving size: depending on how hungry you are, this can serve 2 or 3 people. 

Keywords: dinner, lunch, vegetarian, vegetarian dinner, polenta, cornmeal, butternut, roasted butternut, spicy sunflower seeds, delicious polenta dinner, comfort food, coriander, coriander topping, family dinner, creamy polenta,

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Andrea Epstein in her kitchen

Andrea Epstein

Hi, I'm Andrea, a full-time food blogger, mother of 1 wonderful son, 2 equally wonderful stepsons and wife to a darling husband. I live in Munich, Germany with my family. I loves traveling, sharing new recipes, and spending time with my family.

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