Polenta fingers

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Two sticks of sliced polenta.
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This easy gluten free recipe makes cheesy polenta fingers which will become a family favourite. Packed with calcium, these savoury fingers make a great lunch box snack or a healthy light meal served with salad.

Preparation time: 10 minutes plus chilling time (3-4 hours) Cooking time: 15 minutes Difficulty rating: Easy


Makes 18 Polenta fingers

  • 1 cup cornmeal (polenta)
  • 4 cups milk
  • ½ small red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 100g lean ham (97% fat free)
  • ½ large red capsicum


  1. Grease a rectangular or square dish.
  2. Put milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil and then pour polenta in slowly, whisking constantly.
  3. Continue to whisk for a few minutes until the mixture becomes thick. (You can test the polenta is cooked by putting a small portion on a plate to cool and then rubbing between your fingers – the grains should be soft).
  4. Grate cheese and stir through polenta.
  5. Place onion, garlic, capsicum and ham in a food processor and chop until fine.
  6. Cook ham and vegetable mixture in a separate pan until fragrant.
  7. Add to polenta mixture and stir until well combined.
  8. Pour into the greased dish.
  9. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours until firm.
  10. Turn dish upside down and cut polenta into fingers.
  11. Pan fry fingers in olive oil until golden brown on both sides. Do not overcrowd the pan. They may become soft at this stage so turn gently and not more than once.
  12. Serve warm.


  • Check the ingredients on the ham to make sure it is gluten free. Ham off the bone should be gluten free, but some glazes may contain wheat – if so, this will be listed in the ingredients.
  • If you don’t have a food processor, just dice the vegies and ham finely so this dish can be fed to young toddlers. If you are cooking for older children, the ingredients can be more chunky as they won’t have any problems chewing.
  • Do not add seasoning as there is sufficient salt in the ham and cheese.
  • If preparing this for adults or older children, you may want to add some fresh chopped rosemary, oregano and olives to the ham mixture.
  • If you have an air-fryer, use that rather than shallow frying the polenta fingers at the end. You’ll use less oil making this even healthier.
  • Serve with salad or seasonal vegetables for a health light meal. Adults may enjoy this with some tomato chutney as a dipping sauce.

Nutritional content

Nutritional analysis per serve:

 Energy 499.02 kJ
119.27 cal
 Protein 6.59 g
 Total fat 6.08 g
 Saturated fat 3.91 g
 Carbohydrates 9.49 g
 Total sugars 3.77 g
 Fibre 0.40 g
 Sodium 164.92 mg
 Cholesterol 18.39 mg
 Potassium 126.86 mg
Calcium 136.93 mg
Iron 0.15 mg
Zinc 0.80 mg


  1. AusNut. Nutrient Database. 2007. [cited 27 April 2012]. Available from: URL Link
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Date Created: September 6, 2012 Date Modified: August 12, 2014