Roman Beans with Polenta

Roman Beans With Polenta | Wheat-Free Meat-Free

Here’s a quick and easy dinner. (It’s good for you too!)

Roman Beans

  • 2 cups cooked Roman beans
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • juice of half a lemon
  • crushed red pepper
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • sea salt


  1. Put the water in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil. When the water is boiling, stir in the polenta. Stir in a big pinch of salt and lots of freshly cracked pepper. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper if neccesary.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Add the bell pepper. Cook for half a minute to a minute. (This depends on how cooked you want your peppers). Stir in the beans, season with salt and pepper, and cook for a minute more. Push the beans and peppers over to one side of the pan, and add the parsley, garlic, and crushed red pepper (to suit your preferred level of spiciness). Cook until fragrant, about half a minute to one minute more. Finish with the lemon juice and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve over the polenta.

Serves 4-6

Roman beans are also known as cranberry beans or borlotti beans, so be aware they may be disguised under other names. Of course you can substitute numerous other beans in place of the Roman beans, and the recipe works just the same.

As I mentioned in the recipe, you don’t need to stir the polenta constantly. (And obviously you can’t if you’re making the beans and polenta simultaneously.) However it is important to stir while you’re adding the cornmeal to the water to prevent lumps. If you want your polenta to be a bit creamier, you can substitute some milk in for part of the water. A bit of shredded parmesan cheese added at the end would also be nice, but alas we didn’t have any.

Looking for More Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes?

Take a look at my book, The Wheat-Free Meat-Free Cookbook: 100 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes.

A sampling of the recipes included:
  • Breakfasts: Cinnamon Quinoa Muffins, Yeasted Waffles, Gooey Butter Cake,
  • Sides: Patatas Bravas, Pea and New Potato Salad, Braised Celery,
  • Mains: Corn Waffle Sandwiches, Enchiladas with Green Sauce, Pesto Asparagus Galette, and
  • Desserts: Blueberry Mango Crisp, Baklava Rolls, Amaretto Cake.

You can see the full recipe list on the Amazon page.


  1. Oh, yum, we love polenta and beans here too! This recipe looks great! I bet you could also use any type of white bean here too.

    -Ali :)

  2. Hi Ali,

    I’m sure white beans would also be great. I felt like all my other bean recipes used white beans so I needed to mix it up a bit. ;)

  3. We made this a few days ago…yum!

    I made mine just like your recipe. A certain Debbi, of course, left the garlic out of hers.

    This was my first time making polenta. I didn’t even know what it was! But I have a whole bag of cornmeal for my bread experimenting, so this is a great new way to use it!

    What else should I make with polenta? Mom and I were thinking maybe Mexican flavors would go well with it. And she said “Ooh, Pat will like polenta, you don’t have to chew it!” That’s his number one favorite quality in a food, hehehe.

  4. Mexican flavors sound good. You could also do other Italian flavored food, like tomato and basil.

    In my list of of posts to make are a breakfast polenta and baked polenta. I haven’t figured out what flavors I want to use yet.

    Happy experimenting! Let me know how it goes.

  5. I had no idea that’s what polenta is. It’s kind of like grits, just with water instead of milk, and no butter. This does look yummy.

  6. Funny you mention that. I just came across this article explaining the difference between polenta and grits. (Hint: it’s really only the color of the corn.)

  7. Great recipe, thanks. Romano beans are in season here in Quebec and the markets are overflowing with them.

    One note, however. Grits are made from hominy, corn that’s been treated with an alkali which makes it puff up and soften. It also gives it a different flavor. Try a blind taste-test with grits and polenta. They shouldn’t taste the same at all.

  8. Hi Kalinda,
    My mother-in-law is from Rome, and we make polenta all the time. We have it with marina sauce, or we slice it and have over stew with string beans with tomato sauce. Or I have it for breakfast with some maple syrup. Roman beans my mother-in-law does not care for, so I was looking up recipes for it when I came across yours. I love any type of beans I was raise eating a variety of beans. Great recipes I will give a try.

  9. Polenta with string beans and tomato sauce sounds delightful. Thanks for the suggestion.

  10. Made this recipe tonight, substituting with dark red kidney beans and dried parsley. Fantastic! Also made the hot and sour noodles last weekend, which were a hit with myself and my boyfriend (who is neither vegetarian nor gluten-free, but admittedly open-minded when it comes to food). As a long-time “meat-free” and very recent “wheat-free,” I am happy to have found your website and look forward to combing through to find more new favorites.

  11. Oh sweet! Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

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