I'm totally not ashamed to admit that french fries are my favorite food. If we're getting specific, truffle parmesan fries to be exact. Those who know me IRL know this to be all too true. My signature out-to-dinner move is ordering a salad with a side of fries. It's my exercise in balance, which I believe is of upmost importance when developing a healthy approach to holistic living. (Whatever we have to tell ourselves, right?)
But real talk, while I love fries and don't believe in depriving myself of what I most love and enjoy, I know they kinda (totally) suck when it comes to nutrition. But because I'm unwilling to give up my favorite joy-inducing indulgence (because you know, joy), I'm always on the search for healthier alternatives. Cue polenta: a cornmeal-based porridge indigenous to Northern Italy. I swoon over pretty much any and all polenta dishes - it makes an incredible base for sautéed and roasted produce and pairs to perfection with burrata, herbs, and olive oil. Until recently, I had yet to enjoy it in "french fry" form but had heard of the preparation and was eager to create my own rendition.
While this recipe is more in the healthy-ish category, it's crazy insane delicious and paleo, gluten-free, and can easily be made vegan. Unlike other french fry alternatives, the texture of polenta allows the fries to get super crispy on the outside while staying soft on the inside and the resulting crunch and flavor is pretty damn close to the real thing.
I opted to add in lots of fresh herbs, truffle salt + olive, and parmesan because these flavor combinations are obsession-worthy. However, you could easily sub out the parmesan for a dusting of nutritional yeast (it's my go-to vegan option) to keep the dish vegan and dairy-free. But don't skip the truffle toppings and herbs, I beg of you.
A note on sourcing quality polenta: The majority of conventionally-grown corn in the United States has been compromised with GMOs and pesticides, making it an increasingly health-aggravating substance. Always be sure to source organic and non-GMO corn and corn products (including polenta) to ensure you don't unknowingly expose yourself to these harmful substances.
TRUFFLE + HERB POLENTA FRIES
- 3 1/4 cups water
- 1 cup organic polenta (not quick-cooking)
- 2-3 tbsp fresh chopped herbs (parsley, basil, sage, rosemary), plus more to garnish
- 2 tbsp grass-butter or coconut oil
- Truffle oil
- Truffle salt
- Coconut or olive oil
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional), plus more to garnish
- Salt and ground pepper, to taste
TO MAKE: Combine water, polenta, herbs, and a bit of salt in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking the mixture together. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After about 10 minutes, add in the butter/coconut oil and parmesan cheese (if using), stirring to combine.
Once polenta is done cooking, transfer to a baking dish, spreading evenly. Allow to cool uncovered for about 45 minutes. You can also cover and keep refrigerated for up to one day.
Preheat your broiler on high. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with coconut or olive oil.
Remove polenta from baking dish (turn upside down onto a cutting board) and cut into sticks about the size of thick french fries. Brush the polenta fries with oil on all four sides and space evenly on baking sheet. Broil about 4 inches from heat until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool before gently removing from parchment paper.
Top with truffle salt, fresh chopped herbs, a dusting of parmesan or nutritional yeast, and a liberal dosing of truffle oil.
I love seeing what you create and getting your feedback on recipes! Leave any comments below, and be sure to follow me on Instagram and tag photos you post of my recipes with #SOLFULhealth so I can see!