Readers Recipe: Valentina’s polenta with spinach, soft cheese and tomatoes.

I woke up to find this recipe in my email inbox this morning, from Valentina, a reader in Uruguay. It looked so delicious that I couldn’t resist sharing it. I would make this with a Greek cheese (S*insburys do a Basics Greek style cheese that is a close match to feta, which would work well).


This is my own creation, which is cheap and nutritious, and delicious too. I’m sending a photo. It’s basically polenta, raw spinach, soft cheese, tomato and garlic sauce, oil and black pepper on the top.

The secret is to make a soft polenta, and when it’s almost ready, you add fresh and raw spinach leaves that you have just washed. Yes, totally raw. You just need to have them previously cut in smaller pieces (with your own hands, not with a knife), and you add them to the polenta. I use a lot, so it has a lot of spinach and is more nutritous. Then, you just mix it all and the leaves get soft immediately. And it´s ready!

Now, make sure to have some soft cheese in cubes that you put at the bottom of your plate, and then just serve the polenta with the spinach covering them. After that, you need a bit of oil on the top of all, and a tomato sauce made just with garlic, salt a bit of sugar, and orégano. Not with onions! Just garlic. And I love to add some black pepper on top of it, that you can grind at the end. And you can also add some grated cheese on top, if you want. A stronger, more salty cheese. That’s optional.

Valentina, Uruguay,

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Jack Monroe. Follow me on Twitter @MsJackMonroe. Find me on Facebook at

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Categories: Recipes & Food

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  1. I’ve never even had polenta I don’t think but that looks totally delicious, will give it a go! Thank you Valentina and thank you Jack for sharing!

  2. Hi everyone!

    Thanks for sharing my recipe, Jack! I hope you enjoy it. Not sure if it’s as good as yours, though. It’s very easy to make, but you need to have all the rest of the ingredients processed by the time the polenta is ready, so it won’t get cold.

    Yes, “orégano” is the right way to write it in Spanish. 🙂

    Congrats on your awesome work, Jack!

    • We made your Polenta & Spinach on Thursday night. It was good and tasty. We probably didn’t add enough raw spinach and we just used dried oregano but we thoroughly enjoyed it and we’ll certainly have it again.

  3. Just made this for dinner using hard cheese instead of soft and cooking the polenta in veg stock – it was delicious! Thanks!

  4. More Polenta: make a bean stew (1/2 onion sautéed in a tsp of fat, add [rinsed] baked beans and 1/2 packet of tomato, season w/salt, pepper, chopped flat-leaf parsley/bay leaf, Paprika or chilli, cook for 10 minutes.
    Meanwhile make instant polenta accoding to the directions on the package using water/water plus stock cube/ 1/2 water 1/2 milk, 1 tsp of honey if you can afford it). If there is a courgette lurking in the bin, grate that in as well. Grate some hard cheese into it, if you’ve got it, stir well. Season with more paprika if you want/can

    Put bean stew into a [reased] gratin dish/pyrex, top evenly with cooked polenta, put under a hot grill/broil until a golden crust has formed (5-10 minutes).

    serves 2-4 with bread and maybe a green salad (cut-and-come again is quite easy to grow on a windowsill …).

    Or you could make a stiffish polenta, spread it onto a cutting board to firm up, cut out “Polenta Dollars” with a glass and fry them in a little [bacon] fat until golden. Eat with green beans cooked in tomato sauce with lot of garlic and flat-leaf parsley. Rahers of bacon if you’re flush …

    Instad of cutting out dollars, you may want to use the cold polenta as a pizza crust …

    Raw polenta is a good substitue for the flour/egg/bradcrumb mixture if you’ve got anything to shallow-fry.

    Polenta and cut-price sausages fried with a couple of sage leaves. Or else make a sausage stew with as many onions as you can afford, 1 small cut-up sausage per person, 1 tbsp of gravy granules (or the real thing), some sage or flat-leaf parsley, to serve over polenta. Don’t forget to make a well to put the stew into!

    Polenta cake receipe to follow …

    Bon app’

  5. Instant polenta, left over chicken and soft cheese is a saviour in my house when we come home late and the kids need to go to bed five minutes ago. I was bought up in Sweden, and didn’t know about polenta until I moved to Argentina. I have been eating cheap in four different countries so far and it is a learning curve every time.

  6. If you really want to splurge (and can afford to)

    Torta di Polenta

    250g instant polenta
    250g white flour
    250g butter (margarine works)
    4 eggs
    10g baking powder
    1 shot glass of Grappa or similar
    Melt fat in a double boiler (or a small sucepan suspended over a bigger one filled with hot water, add sugar, egg yolks, salt, baking powder and booze. Whisk egg whites till firm and mix in, taking care not to overmix. Fill batter into a buttered and floured Springform tin, bake for 40 minutes on 180-200°C.

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