Orange Polentina

January/February 2010

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Italians enjoy cornmeal or polenta in countless preparations. Polentina is a creamier, porridge-like version, often served for breakfast. An orange-infused dollop of tangy mascarpone cheese and yogurt is a rich, delicious topping. But feel free to skip the mascarpone and double the yogurt to save calories. To keep it quick, we use instant polenta or regular fine cornmeal. If you have time, the recipe will work with stone-ground cornmeal. It will take longer to cook, 15 to 20 minutes, but will reward you with rich texture.

"I made it with low fat cream cheese, and it still turned out very good. Have also used madarins and grapefruits, and always add pecans. "
Orange Polentina

Makes: 4 servings, about 3/4 cup each

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 1 medium orange
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup instant polenta or fine cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone (Italian cream cheese)
  • 1/4 cup nonfat Greek-style yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons honey, divided
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon (optional)


  1. Zest the orange to get 1 1/2 teaspoons; set the zest aside. Remove the rest of the peel and white pith with a sharp knife. Working over a bowl, cut the segments from their surrounding membranes. Set aside for garnish.
  2. Combine water, milk and salt in a large heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in polenta (or cornmeal) and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain an even bubble and whisk until the polentina thickens, 1 to 5 minutes (depending on what type you’re using). Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine mascarpone, yogurt, 1 tablespoon honey and 1/2 teaspoon of the orange zest in a small bowl.
  4. Whisk the remaining 3 tablespoons honey and the remaining 1 teaspoon zest into the polentina. Divide among 4 bowls and top with a dollop of the mascarpone topping. Garnish with the reserved orange segments and sprinkle with tarragon, if desired. Serve immediately.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the topping (Step 3) for up to 2 days.


Per serving: 353 calories; 14 g fat (8 g sat, 0 g mono); 41 mg cholesterol; 51 g carbohydrates; 17 g added sugars; 9 g protein; 4 g fiber; 219 mg sodium; 71 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (30% daily value), Calcium (18% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 3 1/2

Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1/2 low fat milk, 1 1/2 other carbohydrate, 2 fat

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Recipe Categories

Health & Diet Considerations
Low sodium
High calcium
Gluten free
Low cholesterol
Total Time
30 minutes or less
Type of Dish
Main dish, vegetarian
Ease of Preparation
January/February 2010
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