Mexican polenta

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Are you looking for an easy polenta recipe with a little bit of a Mexican twist? Well then you are in the right place! This recipe for Mexican polenta is made with a cheesy polenta base that is topped with Mexican-inspired pinto beans. These pinto beans are cooked with a variety of vegetables and spices to ensure that every bite of this Mexican polenta recipe is just as flavorful as the last.

Mexican polenta in a blue bowl. The cheesy polenta is topped with Mexica-inspired pinto beans.

What is in Mexican polenta?

What is in this recipe for Mexican polenta? Here are all the ingredients you need to make this Mexican-inspired polenta.

  • Dried polenta. The first ingredient you need to make this Mexican polenta recipe is polenta. You should use dried polenta rather than pre-cooked polenta. We highly recommend using this Bob’s Red Mill polenta.
  • Bullion cubes. The next ingredient you will need is bouillon cubes or vegetable broth to cook the polenta in. Make sure to use bouillon cubes you like the flavor of because the bouillon cubes provide a lot of flavor to the polenta. We use these Non Chik’n bouillon cubes. They taste just like chicken bouillon, but they are vegan friendly!
  • Sharp cheddar. Sharp cheddar is mixed into the polenta when it is done cooking to give it a nice cheesy flavor.
  • Pinto beans. You will also need pinto beans to make this Mexican polenta recipe. You can use either dried pinto beans or canned pinto beans. If you use dried beans, you should full cook them before making this recipe.
  • Onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Onion, garlic, and jalapeños are the main veggies that are used to flavor the Mexican-inspired pinto beans. The onion is cooked for a while until it lightly browns. The garlic and jalapeños are added in at the end, just when the onion is almost done cooking.
  • Cumin, oregano, and black pepper. Cumin, oregano, and black pepper are the main spices that are used to flavor the Mexican-inspired pinto beans.
  • Vegetable oil. Some vegetable oil is used to cook the vegetables for the pinto beans. If you do not have vegetable oil, you can also use another neural oil. You should avoid using a strongly flavored oil like olive oil.
  • Lime juice. Some lime juice is added to brighten up the flavor of the pinto beans. The lime juice adds a little bit of acidity to the the dish.
  • Salt. Finally, salt is used to flavor both the pinto beans and the polenta. If you are ever making polenta and you find that it does not have enough flavor, try adding more salt! Polenta is one of those dishes that requires a lot of salt to taste right.
Mexican-inspired pinto beans with garlic, jalapeño, onion, cumin, oregano, and lime juice.

How do you make Mexican polenta?

How do you make Mexican polenta? Here are all the steps you need to take in order to heat this polenta.

  • Boil the water. Polenta takes a while to cook, so you should start cooking the polenta before you start making the beans. The first step in cooking the polenta is boiling the water. Add the salt and bouillon cubes to the water to a medium sized pot then boil the water over high heat.
  • Add the polenta and reduce to a simmer. After the water starts boiling, add the polenta to the water then reduce the temperature to low or medium low heat. Simmer the polenta and stir it every 5 – 7 minutes to ensure that the polenta does not get stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  • Cut the vegetables. When the polenta is cooking, you can start to cut the vegetables. The onion and jalapeños should be diced into small pieces. The garlic should be minced into very small pieces.
  • Cook the onions. After you cut the vegetables, it is time to start cooking the vegetables. Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a large pan then add the onion. Salt the onion and cook it until it lightly browns.
  • Add the garlic and jalapeños. When the onion is almost done cooking, add the garlic and jalapeños to the pan. Cook the garlic and jalapeños for a minute or two before proceeding to the next step.
  • Add the spices and beans. After the vegetables are done cooking, add the spices and bean to the pan and reduce the temperature to low. Continue to cook the beans until the polenta is finished. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water if the beans dry out.
  • Add the lime juice. When the beans are done cooking, mix the lime juice into the beans.
  • Stir the cheese into the polenta. When the polenta is done cooking, remove the polenta from the heat and stir the cheese into the polenta. Top with beans and serve.
Mexican polenta in a blue bowl. The cheesy polenta is topped with Mexica-inspired pinto beans.

How do you store Mexican polenta?

How do you store leftover Mexican polenta? This Mexican polenta should be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight food storage container. The polenta and the beans can be kept in the same container as they will both need to be reheated. If stored correctly, this polenta will last for 3 days in the refrigerator.

How do you reheat Mexican polenta?

How do you reheat Mexican polenta? One of the best things about this Mexican polenta is that it is easy to reheat! We recommend heating this Mexican polenta on full power in the microwave. You should cook the polenta and beans for 90 – 120 seconds in the microwave or until it is heated throughout. You may need to stir the polenta half way through to ensure that it heats evenly.

Mexican polenta

This recipe for Mexican polenta is made with creamy, cheesy polenta that is topped with Mexican-inspired pinto beans. The flavorful pinto beans are cooked with onions, jalapenos, garlic, cumin, oregano, and lime juice.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Keyword: egg free, gluten free, nut free, vegetarian
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

Polenta

  • 3/4 cup polenta (dried)
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar (plus up to 1/2 cup more for extra cheesy polenta)
  • 2 bullion cubes (or enough to make 4 cups of broth)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (plus more to taste)

Pinto beans

  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

Polenta

  • Combine the salt, bouillon, and water in a medium sized pot. Heat the pot over high heat until the water boils.
  • Stir the polenta into the water then reduce the heat to low or medium low.
    Simmer the polenta for 45 minutes. Stir the polenta every 5 – 7 minutes to ensure it does not get stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Pinto beans

  • Dice the onion and jalapeño into small pieces. Mince the garlic.
  • Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add the onions and salt. Cook the onions for 10 – 15 minutes until they lightly brown. Stir occasionally.
  • When the onions are just about done cooking, add the jalapeno and garlic. Cook the vegetables for an additional 1 – 2 minutes.
  • Add the spices and beans to the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook the beans until the polenta is done cooking.
    If the beans start to dry out, you can add a few tablespoons of water to the pan.
  • Stir the lime juice into the beans before serving.

Mexican polenta

  • When the polenta is done cooking, remove it from the heat and stir in the cheese. Continue to stir until the cheese is fully incorporated.
  • Top the polenta with beans and serve.

Substitutions for Mexican polenta

  • Bouillon cubes. If you prefer using vegetable broth to bouillon cubes, you can also use vegetable broth. If you use vegetable broth, you should match the amount of water that is used in the recipe.
  • Vegetable oil. If you do not have vegetable oil, you can use another neutral oil to cook the vegetables for these pinto beans.

Other recipes you will love

Spinach and cheese polenta with red onions in a gray bowl.

This spinach polenta is another one of our favorite polenta recipes! This tasty polenta is made with red onion, garlic, and lots of fish spinach.


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