Sometimes I spend hours racking my brain trying to come up with a new recipe. There’s not a constant recipe catalog in my head spewing out new ideas left + right. Sometimes I’ll have a streak with a lot of new ideas and other times I’m………blank.
Typically, the “blank” times are when I have a lot of things going on and maybe I’ve had some time away from the kitchen.
Right now I kind of feel like, “How do I cook again? I forget.”
When it comes to breakfast I feel like I’m never short of ideas, but I was absolutely stumped this week.
I didn’t want to make anything cakey and it’s still too hot for hot, porridge-type breakfasts. I started thinking about polenta and how much I love polenta as a hot breakfast porridge.
But, like I said, it’s just too hot for that. However, the really unique/fun/delicious thing about polenta is that it glues together as it cools. No eggs or binding agent needed, just polenta + water. Pretty cool stuff.
You will typically find polenta in savory dishes, so I thought I’d try my hand at breakfastizing it.
Meet the polenta trail mix breakfast bar.
Super thick, dense, and chewy with a bit of crunch + sweetness from the mix-ins. This recipe is fully customizable depending on your fruit and nut preferences.
It takes just a few minutes to mix up on the stove and then it’s off to the fridge to chill and gel together.
After it’s chilled you can scarf it down or have fun with topping options.
I obviously go for the toppings.
A little peanut butter + banana?
Or, Greek yogurt + Colorado peaches?
I’ll take that, too.
No-Bake Polenta Trail Mix Bars
gluten-free, vegan // yields 9 large bars
- 3 cups water, or per your polenta cooking instructions
- 1 cup polenta/corn grits
- 1 cup dried fruit + nuts
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2-4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds, optional
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Boil water then stir in polenta slowly.
- Reduce heat to simmer and stir polenta frequently for about 5 minutes until you reach a very thick/stiff porridge consistency. Or, follow package directions as it may vary slightly.
- In the last minute of cooking stir in the fruit and nuts, coconut, maple syrup, chia seeds [if using], coconut oil, cinnamon, and salt until well combined. Taste and add more maple syrup if desired.
- Cook for another minute and then pour into a 9x9 square pan and spread/pack firmly into the pan with the back of a spatula.
- Refrigerate uncovered until fully chilled.
- Slice polenta into squares, then top however you like, and eat. Keep remaining bars wrapped or in a sealed container and refrigerated.
- Or, preheat a skillet over medium and coat the pan with coconut oil.
- Place the chilled polenta squares [or cut into strips] in the pan and cook for 2-4 minutes per side until golden brown.
- Remove from the pan and add toppings, or eat plain.
I cannot wait to make these for ski season. I am thinking they’ll hold up really well wrapped and stuffed in my pocket for hours and they also won’t turn rock hard in colder temps like many granola bars tend to do.
They’re also incredibly filling and filled with all sorts of healthy goodness.