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Cathy Katin-Grazzini

Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC


Polenta Parfaits

Parfaits are usually frozen sweets served in stemware but why should desserts have all the fun? One resourceful way to repurpose leftovers is to use them in a savory polenta parfait. By layering creamy, molten polenta between leftover vegetables, sauces, and condiments, you can transform a humdrum supper of leftovers into an exciting appetizer or entrée. You can use only one filling in several layers, or several fillings in alternating layers. It’s up to you! I suggest some possibilities below but this recipe is simply a tasty, eye-appealing way to breathe new life into dishes you already have in the fridge.  Have fun mixing and matching.


Prep 20 minutes         

Cook 10 minutes

Makes four 16-ounce parfaits first courses or eight 8-ounce parfaits for appetizers


2 cups coarse grit instant polenta like Bob’s Red Mill organic polenta

7 ½ cups water

¼ cup shiro (mild, white) miso paste, or to taste

1 cup sautéed greens or an herby pesto

1 cup herby tofu mayo or a blended sauce made from asparagus or artichoke hearts

1 cup soy white sauce

1 cup hearty tomato sauce or harissa 



  1. Different brands of instant polenta may require different amounts of water. When cooked, the polenta should be creamy, dense but still pourable, that is, not stiff. All polentas begin to stiffen upon cooling, so you will need to have everything heated and within reach as soon as the polenta is ready.
  2. Use borosilicate glassware for these hot parfaits because it can withstand heat. Other glassware may not!


  • Warm your parfait glasses by filling with hot water right before making polenta.
  • Instant polenta will cook in minutes, and once it attains the right consistency, you’ll need to work quickly since cooked polenta thickens and stiffens over time and then becomes difficult to pour or spoon into the glasses. Therefore, before you cook the polenta, reheat your chosen fillings so everything is hot and in easy reach as soon as the polenta is ready.
  • Bring water in a 5-quart stainless pot to a boil. Lower to a simmer and season the water with miso to taste.
  • Slowly sprinkle in the polenta, stirring constantly to avoid lumping. The polenta will cook in 5 minutes.
  • Add Parmigiano Perfetto and continue to stir as the polenta thickens. Lower the flame when the polenta begins to sputter to avoid splatters and burning your hand. 
  • Cover and remove from the heat when it tastes cooked and has thickened but is still pourable.
  • Quickly dry your first wineglass. Add spoonfuls of polenta, followed by a filling, then more polenta, then another filling, alternating colors, flavors and textures as you go. Repeat until all your parfaits are filled.
  • Serve Polenta Parfaits hot.
  • If you have leftovers or choose to compose the parfaits in advance, bring them to room temperature before reheating them briefly in a microwave. Borosilicate glass may handle high heat but does not like to be shocked by extreme changes in temperature.






Polenta Parfaits

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