Fried polenta cakes with hummus and tzatziki are the Mediterranean appetizer recipe that you need in your life! Crispy polenta cakes are spread with creamy hummus and tangy tzatziki, and then topped with parmesan cheese. These loaded bites are sure to be a hit!
What Are Fried Polenta Cakes?
You know how pre-cooked polenta comes in a tightly sealed plastic casing, almost like a very large sausage? When you remove the plastic, the polenta still holds its shape, and you’re left with a pretty dense log of polenta.
Instead of breaking it up, we slice it into medallions and then fry them in oil! The polenta medallions become crispy on the outside and remain creamy and delicious on the inside.
You can top the crispy polenta cakes with whatever your little heart desires, but in this recipe we use hummus and tzatziki!
The Polenta Toppings:
I don’t know about you, but I almost ALWAYS have a container of half eaten hummus shoved in the back corner of my refrigerator. Instead of letting it go bad, I like to look for creative ways to use it up, and that is how I came up with this fried polenta cakes recipe!
For this polenta recipe, I ended up using store bought hummus and tzatziki, just because it saves so much time and effort! But if you want to make your own, more power to you!
Here are some other ingredients that you can sprinkle over the top:
- Red Onion (which I used)
- Green Scallion (again, I used)
- Parsley or Cilantro
- Shaved Radishes (watermelon radish would look BEAUTIFUL on these cakes)
- Chopped Chives
- Crispy Baked Chickpeas
- Jalapeno Slices
- Mini Cucumber Slices
- Chopped Tomatoes (go for a medley of colors!)
If you are looking for another leftover hummus recipe, check out my Sheet Pan Hummus Chicken and Veggies recipe!
Talk about easy sheet pan dinners! Chicken breasts are coated in garlicky hummus and placed on a sheet pan with chopped zucchini and red onion. It honestly doesn’t get much easier than that! With only about 10 minutes of preparation (if that), sheet pan hummus chicken and veggies is going to be your new favorite …
What Kind Of Oil To Fry With:
This question always throws me for a loop. I’m the kind of person that just uses whatever oil I want to fry with (which is why my blog is a ‘free-spirited approach towards home cooking’). But TECHNICALLY, there are benefits and disadvantages of using different types of oil to fry with, and I will go over a few here.
*Pan frying your food won’t get it as crispy as deep frying, but it uses significantly less oil and is a little safer. Please discuss any health concerns with your doctor prior to eating fried food.
|Extra-Virgin Olive Oil||Extra-virgin olive oil has a relatively low smoking point of around 374 degrees F, which basically means it’s fat breaks down into gaseous products quickly. Once it gets too hot, it can change the flavor of the food. THAT BEING SAID, I pan fry/sear with EV olive oil all of the time, and the flavor change has never bothered me. (but that is my opinion of course!)|
|Peanut Oil||Peanut oil has a high smoking point of 450 degrees F, which makes it a favorite among anyone looking to fry food. Is it healthy? – I will let you do your own research on that topic, because there are arguments for both sides.|
|Sunflower Oil||I DO NOT recommend using sunflower oil to pan sear or fry with. While sunflower oil itself can have many health benefits, heating it up has been show to release toxic compounds called aldehydes. Learn more about it HERE.|
|Avocado Oil||Refined avocado oil also has a higher smoke point than most plant-based cooking oils, at around 520° Fahrenheit. Avocado oil contains high levels of monounsaturated fats, which means that it stays fairly stable when heated.|
When To Serve Polenta Cakes:
These make a FANTASTIC appetizer for parties and get-togethers! They are quick to make, especially if you use store bought hummus and tzatziki, and they really taste delicious. THey are vegan and vegetarian, so they are a great option for a diverse crowd. You can also make them for lunch!
I highly recommend serving them right after making them, since the cakes are warm and crispy. If you make them and then store them in the refrigerator, the cakes lose their crispiness and become hard and less appealing.
Fried Polenta Cakes With Hummus And Tzatziki
- 18 oz pre-cooked polenta (the kind packaged in tight plastic casing)
- 2 tbsp pan frying oil of choice (see blog post)
- 1/3 cup hummus (I used hummus with jalapeno)
- 1/3 cup tzatziki sauce
- 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp minced red onion
- 2 tbsp sliced scallions
- Remove the plastic casing from the polenta. Slice the polenta into medallions, about 1/2 inch thick.
- Heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat in a large non-stick pan. Using tongs, carefully add the polenta rounds to the oil. Saute in the oil until golden brown, about 5 minutes, then flip and repeat on the other side. Transfer to a serving plate and repeat with remaining polenta medallions.
- Evenly spread hummus over each polenta medallion, then repeat with the tzatziki sauce. Place 3-4 Parmesan shreds on each medallion, then sprinkle with red onion and sliced scallions.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!