I love making polenta bakes. I also love spicy tacos. So spicy taco polenta bake? I’m all in! Polenta bakes are so versatile. I make so many versions of this it’s ridiculous. Taco, enchilada, nacho, BBQ, buffalo chicken, spinach and goat cheese, chorizo, carnitas- you name it, I’ve made it. The process is essentially the same in each recipe, only the ingredients change. Which is probably why I make them so much. I run on auto pilot when I make these now. It’s what I go to for meal prep when I’m short on time and energy. This recipe is gluten free and you can also make it dairy free to meet your dietary needs by just skipping the cheese.
What is Polenta?
I really had no idea what polenta was until a few years ago when a friend of mine (Hey Jill!) told me about how she made a carnitas polenta dish and I was like, “What is this polenta you speak of?” So I investigated and long story short, a love of polenta was born. It’s basically just corn meal. That’s it. But the taste is pretty neutral so it works perfectly as a base for so many dishes.
One thing to note is that the polenta I use comes in a plastic wrapped tube. I get it from Trader Joe’s. I crumble it up with my hands and then press it into the bottom of a 9×9 casserole dish to get the base of the casserole. You should end up with something like this.
How To Prepare Taco Polenta Bake
Once you have the base as shown above, it is ready for the oven. I bake it for 15 minutes first so the polenta slightly comes together. After 15 minutes of baking, you can start to layer your other ingredients. Once you have everything your little heart desires on top of your polenta crust, it’s ready for the final bake.
For this taco version of the polenta bake, you need ground beef, taco seasoning, black beans, diced green chilis and shredded cheese. Feel free to be creative here and use your favorite type of cheese. I love using mozzarella. You can make this spicy taco polenta bake with ground beef, ground turkey or shredded chicken-all delicious! Sometimes I switch things up and use pinto beans instead of black beans or add corn. It’s really customizable to whatever sounds good to you.
Other Taco Inspired Recipes You May Like
- 1 pkg polenta (I get mine at Trader Joe’s)
- 1 lb ground beef (I use 96/4 or 90/10)
- 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed
- 1 4 oz can of diced green chiles
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup diced white onion
- 1/4 cup sliced back olives
- 3 tbs taco seasoning (I like Primal Palate)
- 1/2 TBS avocado oil
- Toppings: green onion, cilantro, avocado
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- Remove polenta from packaging and crumble with your hands and add salt and pepper to taste. Push down into a 9×9 casserole dish greased with cooking spray to form the base. Bake for 15 minutes.
- While polenta is baking, begin preparing the ground beef. Add oil to a heated skillet along with onions and sauté for 1-2 minutes
- Add ground beef and seasonings to skillet, breaking into crumbles until cooked through
- When ready, remove polenta from the oven and layer with ground beef, black beans, cheese, olives and green onion
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Top with green onions and cilantro and serve!
- Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
- Calories: 442
- Fat: 16
- Carbohydrates: 28.5
- Fiber: 7.8
- Protein: 41.8
Keywords: casserole, meal prep, gluten free