Winter Green Salad with Polenta Croutons

Winter Green Salad with Polenta Croutons

For these croutons, firm polenta is brushed with mustard then coated with bread crumbs and sauteed until golden brown. They can be placed on the salad in strips or cut into cubes. Polenta croutons are crispier when warm, so have the salad ready for dressing before you saute them.

  • 6Servings


  • 1 recipe Basic Polenta (firm version)
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 cup fine dried bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. fresh orange juice
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. finely grated orange peel
  • 6 cups torn romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried
  • 6 cups torn tender escarole hearts or curly endive, rinsed and dried


Croutons: Make firm polenta and refrigerate overnight as directed.

Turn polenta out of pan and cut into 12 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place on a baking sheet. In small bowl, whisk together mustard, maple syrup and soy sauce. Brush a little mustard mixture over one side of each polenta slice.

Spread bread crumbs in shallow dish. Dredge coated side of polenta slices heavily with bread crumbs; turn and brush other side with mustard mixture. Dredge both sides and edges in additional bread crumbs.

In large skillet, heat enough vegetable oil to film bottom of pan heavily over medium-high heat. Add as many polenta slices as possible without crowding and cook until golden brown, turning once, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack and cool. Repeat with remaining slices, adding more vegetable oil to skillet as needed.

In small bowl, whisk together olive oil, orange juice, vinegar, honey, mustard and orange peel; season with pinch each of salt and freshly ground pepper.

In large bowl, combine salad greens. Add vinaigrette and toss until well coated. Divide salad among plates.

Cut each crouton slice in half and lay four crouton strips over each salad, meeting in center like teepee poles. Garnish with toasted pecans and chopped basil if desired and serve at once.

Nutrition Information

  • Calories: 322
  • Carbohydrate Content: 45 g
  • Fat Content: 12 g
  • Fiber Content: 5 g
  • Protein Content: 7 g
  • Saturated Fat Content: 2 g
  • Sodium Content: 340 mg