Creamy Polenta with Eggs & Mediterranean Greens
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This colorful breakfast polenta bowl is constructed of fresh scrambled eggs, homemade roasted oven dried tomatoes, and fresh Mediterranean greens.
This is ‘busy morning friendly’ food and makes two deliciously healthy portions.
This colorful breakfast polenta bowl is constructed of fresh scrambled eggs, homemade roasted oven dried tomatoes, and fresh Mediterranean greens. I added a plant-based “sausage’ as well for substance.
This is ‘busy morning friendly’ food and makes two deliciously healthy portions. Creamy Polenta with Eggs & Mediterranean Greens is luscious, sunny, creamy comfort food.
If you have not heard of or tried polenta, here is the story. Polenta is an Italian porridge made from medium or coarse-ground cornmeal. It is a naturally gluten free whole grain that has a natural sweetness when cooked.
If you were raised in the south, you will gush over it because in every practical sense, it’s grits. If you were raised in the North, you have likely been eating this creamy, cheesy, luxurious food at Italian restaurants since you were a kid.
Creamy Polenta with Eggs & Mediterranean Greens is luscious, sunny, creamy comfort food.
This last trip to Disney back in December of 2019, most of you know I stayed at the new Riviera Hotel. The Riviera, all in the name, is Disney’s newest Mediterranean-themed resort on the Walt Disney World, Orlando campus, and it is GORGEOUS.
We buy into Disney’s meal plan when we visit, which is structured to meet the needs of you and your family through the duration of your visit. I love breakfast. I scoped out the quick-service restaurant on the property as soon as we arrived and knew I was going to like it.
At all of the Disney dining facilities, they largely offer the same things, modified to “fit” the theme of that hotel or resort, but by in large, Mickey waffles, a plate of eggs with bacon or sausage and potatoes, LOTS and LOTS of pastries…you get what I am saying. Primo Piatto was no different. Or was it?
Once again, Disney food does not disappoint…
My entire family went this last trip. I met my Mom early in the morning on our first day downstairs at Primo Piatto’s for a coffee and some breakfast. I am your run of the mill ‘plate of eggs’ kind of gal, and that’s exactly what I ordered.
What arrived was nothing short of Heaven in a big old bowl. A bed of creamy mascarpone polenta, topped with soft-scrambled eggs, beautiful sundried tomatoes the size of silver dollars, fresh rocket, and big delicious sausage nuggets.
It was so “not quick service” for all of you readers who do Disney often enough to know what I mean. It was elegant, tasted AMAZING, and it was inspiring. And I was bound to order it every day after having had it because it was that good.
I appreciated the plant-based options they had available on that entire menu. I learned my sausage was able to be swapped for a plant-based sausage just by requesting it. And so I did and thoroughly enjoyed it. I guess you could say they converted me to some extent.
I have not until today, attempted to recreate or do some sort of spin-off of that dish I fell in love with at Disney until this morning. And while I LOVED Disney’s version, I absolutely ADORED my own!
And, I am sure that based on my method of preparation, I cooked it a good bit healthier that I am thinking Disney probably did. I grabbed whole ingredients from my fridge and pantry, measured out exactly one cooked cup polenta for my bowl, added my eggs and greens and topped it all of with a swill of olive oil and some cracked black pepper. If this is the Mediterranean diet, I am all over it. Sadly, I doubt it is…
Want to learn to roast your own tomatoes? Oven ‘sundried’ tomatoes are easy, and they make excellent use of all of those stragglers you still have coming in!
Oven ‘Sun-Dried’ Tomatoes
There is something about polenta that is unmistakably chic, despite it costing next to nothing to prepare. With a spoonful of goat cheese to flavor it, soft-scrambled eggs, roasted oven dried tomatoes, and lightly dressed Mediterranean greens, this creamy, cheesy polenta bowl is ideal for breakfast.
Polenta is a fast-cooking, inexpensive, and an easy way to up the ante a bit. And if making this dish as a dinner entrée, using polenta in lieu of pasta keeps this gluten-free.
I may not be able to flash a Michelin star or gold-sealed diploma from Le Cordon Bleu, but if I prepare Creamy Polenta with Eggs & Mediterranean Greens for you in my home, you will recognize my fondness in preparing food for others.
When I prepared this dish this morning, I had about 1 1/2 cups of the creamy cheese polenta leftover. I poured what remained into a rectangular plastic container, smoothed it out on top, and slapped a lid on it.
Once chilled in the refrigerator, I can cut the now goat cheese ‘polenta cake‘ into squares, then triangles, and fry them in olive oil, toasting them. Topped with roasted vegetables of really any kind, the fried polenta cakes become substantial appetizers for a night during the week as an addition to dinner. They also make fabulous croutons for a beautifully plated salad.
Goat cheese polenta with roasted vegetables is popular up North at almost every Italian restaurant. It is flavored during the roast with fragrant rosemary. If all you have are round containers, it works the same, and you can just call them Mediterranean Polenta Rounds if for nothing else! Despite frying the cakes, it is still moderately healthy eating.
Polenta could just be the easiest thing you did not know you could make. It is a fast-moving method that requires a 20-minute dedication stove side, but the end result is entirely worth the constant stirring. If you have ever prepared grits or cooked up Cream of Wheat, you are there.
What I love about polenta is that it is a quick meal to whip up. In this version, I add creamy goat cheese for depth of flavor, and top with breakfast things like eggs and plant sausage, but toppings such as sautéed garlic, leeks and scallops, asparagus, red pepper, and braised short ribs, or shaved cheese, virgin olive oil, and toasted pine nuts would be fantastic, too.
By now, most of you know that for me, I am happiest in an apron and new recipes rousing my imagination (while sipping a glass of Pinot Gris, of course); this is ‘that’ recipe. I hope you will give this dish a try just the way it is.
Okay, poach your eggs if you must, but try this. It’s worth the roasting of your own tomatoes. It is worth the good quality olive oil you have in your pantry. It’s worth serving at dinner, and for guests. It is ‘that’ recipe.
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
Creamy Polenta with Eggs & Mediterranean Greens
- sauce pan
- non-stick frying pan
for the creamy polenta
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- ½ cup polenta medium to course grind
- 2 cups milk I am using 2%
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup goat cheese
for the breakfast bowl
- 2 cups arugula
- ½ cup sundried tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil I am using Thea
- 4 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 4 cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 ounces pork sausage such as Jimmy Dean, or a plant-based sausage alternative
- drizzle olive oil
- black pepper to taste
Prepare the Creamy Polenta
- To a medium sized sauce pan, add the milk, water, 1 tablespoon of butter, and the polenta. Bring to a boil watching carefully and whisking so the mixture does not boil over. Whisk in goat cheese and reduce heat to simmer, stirring constantly.
- Simmer, stirring, for 20 minutes. Turn off heat but leave pot on warm burner. Stir occasionally as you prepare the other ingredients.
Prepare the Eggs, Sausage, and Mediterranean Greens
- In a medium sized bowl, place the arugula, halved cherry tomatoes, and the sundried tomatoes. Set aside.
- Cut two 1 ounce rounds from the log of pork sausage. Cut each round in half, then in half again.
- Roll the sausage into log-shaped nuggets, about 1/2 inch in length each.
- In a non-stick frying pan, fry the sausage nuggets on all sides for about 6 to 8 minutes or until well browned and cooked through. Remove to a paper towel to drain. Wipe out frying pan with additional paper toweling.
- Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the frying pan to melt and add the eggs. Using a rubber spatula, move the eggs around the pan as curds form. Cook to desired doneness.
- Use the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and dress the bowl of greens and tomatoes by tossing with your hands to coat all of the leaves and tomatoes well.
- In two wide, shallow bowls, divide the hot polenta and spread it out with the spoon. Top with half the soft-scrambled eggs, half the Mediterranean greens, and half of the sausage nuggets.
- Top with a drizzle of quality olive oil and some freshly cracked black pepper.