Crisp, Italian seasoned, baked polenta fries served with spicy marinara sauce are the perfect meat and dairy-free appetizer to serve during the big game!
Football is back in season and that means Monday nights are reserved for watching the big game. This is my husband’s opinion anyway. I can take it or leave it. If the Broncos are playing, you bet I’ll stick around and watch! If it’s any other team I usually find myself hanging around just long enough to have some of the food, then I end up with my iPad out and putzing around on that until I’m tired enough to go to bed. Thrilling, I know.
Football food is something I do look forward to no matter what team is playing. Sure I enjoy the creamy dips and even a few chicken wings every now and then, but to be honest the chicken wings usually frustrate me. Somehow I always end up with the messiest ones that have more fat and skin on them than actual meat and they leave me wondering why I even bother.
The other problem with chicken wings and many other football food favorites is that they don’t exactly fall under the category of meatless if you follow Meatless Monday. Today I’m sharing one of my new favorite game day recipes that not only tastes great, but is meat and dairy-free! Baked Polenta Fries with Spicy Marinara Sauce are where it’s at for your meatless Monday night football snacking needs!
On top of being meatless I also made these polenta fries dairy-free by using Silk Cashewmilk. I absolutely love using cashewmilk as a dairy-free and plant-based substitute because it’s so creamy. I was a little nervous about not using parmesan cheese in the polenta, but it turns out that the creamy Silk Cashewmilk, and Italian seasonings eliminated the need for it.
Instead of being fried like french fries, I baked my polenta fries. They turned out super crispy without all the extra calories you get while frying. Obviously this means I’ll be eating more of them. If you’re like me you’re probably craving something to dip these polenta fries in and this spicy marinara sauce was the clear winner! I made a big batch of the sauce so that I could freeze the leftovers for the next the next football night or the next time I needed marinara sauce for a recipe. If you’re in need of more meatless and dairy-free recipes for your Monday night football spread be sure to include Baked Polenta Fries with Spicy Marinara Sauce.
Baked Polenta Fries with Spicy Marinara Sauce
Baked Polenta Fries
- 2 cups Silk Cashew milk
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups quick cooking polenta
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Spicy Marinara Sauce
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, use more or less depending on how spicy you want the sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Baked Polenta Fries
- In a large saucepan bring the vegetable broth and cashewmilk to a boil.
- Once the liquid is boiling add in the salt and quick cooking polenta.
- Whisk the polenta constantly for about 5 minutes or until it is thick and the liquid is absorbed.
- Whisk in the dried basil, garlic powder, and black pepper.
- Spray a quarter sheet pan or 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray then pour in the polenta, smoothing it into an even single layer.
- Cover the polenta and refrigerate until it is firm, at least an hour or up to overnight.
- When the polenta is firm, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
- Line a half baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the polenta into fry shapes (about 1/2-3/4 inch in width) then place each fry on the parchment lined baking sheet.
- Spray or brush the fries with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Place the fries on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and flip over to the other side and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until they are golden and crisp.
- Serve with the spicy marinara sauce.
Spicy Marinara Sauce
- In a large saucepan over medium high heat, heat the 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil.
- When the oil is hot add in the diced onion and garlic and stir around for about 3 minutes or until the onion has softened.
- Add in the red wine and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add in the tomatoes and the remaining ingredients and stir everything together.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and serve the desired amount with the polenta fries.
- Cool the remaining sauce completely then pour into a freezer safe container and freeze for another time.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 210Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 1532mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 7gSugar: 16gProtein: 6g
This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.
can you use coarse corn meal for this recipe or does it have to be instant polenta
I haven’t tried making these with coarse cornmeal, but I suspect that it should work. It will just take a little longer for the cornmeal to thicken.
Just a question: Could I sub in regular milk rather than cashew milk? I don’t have easy access to any large grocery stores that stock it.
Absolutely! Any milk should work for the polenta fries, I just used the cashew milk to keep the recipe dairy-free. :-)
Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor says
The best thing about game day is definitely the food. I love that you baked these polenta fries. I want to dip them right into that sauce!
Thanks Ashley, I couldn’t agree more!
Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits says
I juuust made some baked polenta the other day, and I was quite surprised how well they turned out. LOVE that you made fries with them!
If you like baked polenta Lisa then you would love these fries! It’s a great way to change things up from regular french fries!
Meg @ With Salt and Wit says
I love tailgating just for the pure reason of yummy food! And these would be a hit!! Definitely making on Sunday for tailgating hours!
The food really is the best part about tailgating and football! :-)
Matt Robinson says
What a fun idea, Danae, I’ve got to make these for sure! Perfect for a healthier game day snack.
Thanks Matt! They are definitely healthier than some game day snacks, but you’d never know by how good they taste!
Julianne @ Beyond Frosting says
This is such a creative recipe!
Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness says
This is EXACTLY the kinda food I need to make me watch football. I’m totally not a fan of watching it, so I am seriously needing some snackage to get my through, and these are IT! Pinned!
Thanks Taylor! If you have to sit through 4 hours of football good snackage is a must! ;-)