Polenta Fries and Kale Chips

As much as I would love for it to be the case, leggings are not, as it turns out, actually pants. The baby is three months old, it’s nearly, sort-of almost spring, and one of these days I’m going to have to clothe myself in something with a zipper. Ugh. It’s time to trade in the hamburgers and fries, which have comprised 72% of my diet since September, for…I don’t know. What do you eat when you aren’t having hamburgers? Smaller hamburgers? The truth is, I don’t mind swapping out meat for veggies and quinoa a lot, but snacking is another story. Appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, and mid afternoon grazing are three of my basic food groups. I would be at a total loss without a four o’clock cheese and cracker session in the kitchen. I was somewhat apprehensive about both of these recipes, which are a bit ubiquitous these days around the internet.

The kale chips especially went around and around a few months ago, but I felt like it was one of those things I didn’t get or wouldn’t enjoy, like Farmville, knowing who Tim Tebow is, or rainbow colored capris. I figured I would wait out the fad and eventually there would be a new meme to embrace or avoid. Does anyone remember Napster or the Tamagotchi? No, nor should you. Oh, but I’m glad I made these. In the oven, kale – which I really like in soups and stews – becomes brittle, which is better than it sounds, and kind of melts in your mouth. It’s a salty and addictive treat, which seems like baloney, but isn’t. I would not steer you wrong. I’ve taken the easy way out in both cases, buying bagged kale and a box of instant polenta. If I’m going to have to wear pants that button, I will not consent to wash my own greens.

Baked Polenta Fries


  • 1 box instant polenta, prepared according to package directions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt, to taste


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spread prepared polenta in a 1/2 inch layer on a baking sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Cut into rustic rectangles and arrange on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for thirty-five minutes, or until golden brown.

Dipping Sauces

Dipping sauces are what separate us from the animals. Malcolm is a straight-up ketchup man. And, if the idea is that you’re attempting to replicate a french fry, that makes sense. But my mind went in a couple of different directions. Somewhere in my travels I’ve had a super creamy polenta that was all jammed up with gorgonzola cheese, which is so seriously decadent. In tribute to this dish, I combined gorgonzola crumbles with a spot of sour cream, seasoned with salt and pepper. Crazy good. My other thought was elote, a Mexican street snack of corn slathered in mayonnaise, crema, lime juice and chile powder. Combine equal parts mayo and sour cream, a squeeze of lime juice and a dash of chili or cayenne or chipotle powder. Boom. Now you’re dipping elote.

Kale Chips


  • 8 oz kale (in bite-size pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the kale with olive oil and spread onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and bake for twelve to fifteen minutes. If desired, add a dash or two of vinegar, for a salt and vinegar chip alternative.

Eat delicious things!

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road.


  1. Since you lived in the Yucatan, perhaps you can help me figure out how to use either frech masa from the molina or bagged, dry Maseca to make Mexican polenta. Thanks for any suggestions.

  2. i too was all, kale chips, pffff, when they were reaching the peak of their trend. then i tried them, and have sense made myself feel sick multiple times over how many i ate. but it’s kale, so whatevs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.