Creamy Polenta, Shrimp, and Vegetable Bowls

I love quick and easy dinners, don’t you?  These delicious creamy polenta, shrimp, and vegetable bowls are easy enough to make on busy weeknights. That’s my kind of meal!


Eat seafood twice a week

Experts recommend eating at least two seafood meals weekly, and as many as three meals weekly if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Seafood is rich in protein, healthy omega-3 fats, which are good for the heart and the brain, and several vitamins and minerals.

Frozen shrimp and other frozen seafood are useful to have on hand to make meal prep easier, but you can also use the fresh variety, too.  You can make these creamy polenta, shrimp, and vegetable bowls with frozen seafood. No need to thaw!

Whole grain creamy polenta

Creamy polenta, which is a mixture of cornmeal, water, butter, and cheese, is typically made with regular cornmeal.  I use whole grain cornmeal for all the benefits that whole grains provide. However, don’t substitute grits for cornmeal because you won’t get good results!

If you don’t have any whole grain cornmeal in the house, it’s OK to substitute pasta. Use whole wheat pasta when possible to include a serving of whole grains.

No spinach? Kale works well in this recipe, too.

Creamy Polenta, Shrimp, and Vegetable Bowls
Makes 4 servings.

2 cups water

1 cup whole grain cornmeal

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

8 cups raw baby spinach, washed and drained

40 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, if desired

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and cleaned

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 3 minutes or until just tender. Add the spinach, tomatoes, and garlic to the pan and sauté, stirring until the spinach wilts and the tomatoes become tender, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and stir. Remove from heat. Cover and set aside.

When the water has boiled, add the cornmeal, using a whisk to prevent clumping. Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer the cornmeal for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the butter and cheese and continue to whisk for another 2 minutes until the cornmeal achieves a creamy consistency. Remove from heat. Cover and set aside.

Add the shrimp to the spinach mixture and cook for about 3 minutes or until the shrimp is pink.

Divide the polenta between four bowls and top each bowl with equal amounts of the shrimp-vegetable mixture. Season with fresh ground black pepper, if desired.

Per serving:
416 calories; 17 grams fat (6 grams saturated fat); 190 milligrams cholesterol; 340 milligrams sodium; 36 grams carbohydrate; 9 grams fiber; 30 grams protein


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