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Creamy Butternut Squash Polenta with Spicy Wilted Spinach Recipe

Staff Writer
Creamy Butternut Squash Polenta with Spicy Wilted Spinach
Viviane Bauquet Farre

Creamy Butternut Squash Polenta with Spicy Wilted Spinach

I love creating recipes that are both healthy and super flavorful. And if they’re quick and easy to make as well, then I know I have a winner on my hands!

It’s healthy for sure — the butternut squash, corn, and spinach are packed with good-for-you vitamins and minerals and are also low in calories.

It’s loaded with flavor — the butternut squash is sweet and pleasing; the corn is wonderfully nutty; and the spinach, wilted with both hot and sweet Hungarian paprika, delivers shots of spice and earth in each little mouthful.

Paired with an equally flavorful and spunky wine, this butternut squash polenta is a dish I could eat once a week, all winter long!


  • 3 cups spring water
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup corn grits
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup butternut squash purée
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, grated
  • 1 tablespoon crème fraîche
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 8 ounces baby spinach
  • Toasted pumpkin seed oil, for garnish


Bring the water and broth to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. As soon as the mixture boils, add the corn grits. Whisk vigorously until the mixture starts to thicken. Reduce the heat to medium and gently simmer the polenta, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes until it is thick and al dente. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt, butternut squash purée, parmesan, crème fraîche, and black pepper. Stir until well incorporated. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Add the oil, garlic, and both paprikas. Sauté for 30-60 seconds until the garlic softens, but doesn’t brown. Add the spinach and remaining salt and toss until just wilted. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.

Spoon the polenta into bowls. Top with the wilted spinach and spoonful of the juices. Drizzle with the pumpkin seed oil and serve immediately.

Nutritional Facts
Calories Per Serving305
Total Fat14g21%
Vitamin A486µg54%
Vitamin B60.3mg15.4%
Vitamin C24mg40%
Vitamin E3mg17%
Vitamin K284µg100%
Folate (food)136µgN/A
Folate equivalent (total)224µg56%
Folic acid51µgN/A
Niacin (B3)3mg13%
Riboflavin (B2)0.3mg16.9%
Thiamin (B1)0.6mg39.1%