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Savory breakfast polenta with parmesan and polenta
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5 from 2 votes

Breakfast Polenta

Creamy, cheesy breakfast polenta with pesto is savory brunch goals! Cook yellow grits until creamy, then mix in plenty of parmesan cheese. Top with jammy soft boiled eggs for a hearty, satisfying breakfast. All components can be made ahead and reheated before serving. Tastes like summer!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: homemade pesto, savory breakfast, yellow grits
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 349kcal
Author: Ari Laing


  • Sauce pan for boiling eggs
  • Slotted spoon or spider for removing eggs from water
  • Large pot for cooking polenta


  • Arugula pesto homemade (recipe linked below) or store-bought
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 3 cups water for polenta
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt plus a pinch for soft boiled eggs
  • 1 cup cornmeal polenta also labeled yellow grits
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated
  • Flaky sea salt for finishing


  • Make the arugula pesto. You can also use store-bought in a pinch!
    Making homemade arugula pesto
  • Make the soft boiled eggs. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and a splash of white vinegar. Set a timer for exactly 7 minutes, then carefully lower the eggs into the boiling water.
  • Prepare the ice bath. Fill a large mixing bowl with cold water, then add 1 cup of ice cubes (not an exact measurement -- just enough ice to cool down the water substantially). When timer goes off on the eggs, immediately transfer them to ice bath with a slotted spoon. Cool for 10 minutes before gently peeling eggs.
  • Cook the polenta. Combine polenta, water, and Kosher salt in a medium sauce pan, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, then stir until thick and creamy, about 20 minutes.
    Yellow grits in a cocotte
  • Finish the polenta. Stir in butter and parmesan cheese until very well mixed and both have melted.
  • Assemble breakfast polenta. Spoon some of the cooked parmesan polenta into individual serving containers or bowls. Top with a generous spoonful of pesto, then place ½ or a whole soft boiled egg on top. Add any remaining desired toppings (such as chopped tomatoes, avocado, etc.). Sprinkle with a pinch of flaky sea salt, then stir and enjoy immediately!
    Savory breakfast polenta with parmesan and polenta


  • Use traditional (not quick cooking) polenta.
  • Keep the polenta moving. While you don’t need to stir as consistently as you would with risotto, if you don’t stir often, you risk scorching the bottom of the pan.
  • If you can’t find polenta, use coarse or medium coarse ground corn grits as opposed to finely ground corn grits, which won’t have the same texture. These may also be labeled stone ground yellow grits.
  • Polenta cools (and seizes) quickly, so serve immediately for creamiest results!
  • Homemade pesto will last for up to 1 week and is great to make ahead!


Sodium: 926mg | Calcium: 264mg | Vitamin A: 990IU | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 1g | Potassium: 122mg | Cholesterol: 209mg | Calories: 349kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Fat: 21g | Protein: 16g | Carbohydrates: 24g | Iron: 1mg
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