Butternut Squash Polenta with Crispy Sausage and Caramelized Onions

October 27, 2016

Butternut Squash Polenta with Crispy Sausage and Caramelized Onions

Look at this guys!
Can you believe that I’ve been eating this for dinner all week?
I’m serious.
And I still can’t get enough of it.
It’s creamy, sweet, fragrant, rich, and with a deep flavor that just begs to be savoured.
Honestly, I could eat just this for dinner for the rest of the year and never get bored.

Butternut Squash Polenta with Crispy Sausage and Caramelized Onions

Truth is, there are so many things to this Butternut Squash Polenta that I like, and yet I can’t say that I’ve always been a fan of polenta.
At first I was very suspicious, I thought it was just some yellow-ish grits — and I’ve never been a fan of grits (though I suspect it has to do with the fact that I never had them done right.)
Anyways, when polenta first appeared on restaurant menus it’s something that I didn’t give any consideration, and seeing it on the grocery store shelves failed to inspire me in any way.
But eventually it grew on me and somewhere over last few years polenta and I have become friends, very good friends, maybe even BFFs.
Why haven’t I given this delightful food a fair chance?
Who knows, who knows…

Butternut Squash Polenta with Crispy Sausage and Caramelized Onions

Fact is, polenta is very versatile: You can cook it down to a velvety consistency — as I’ve done here — creating a creamy pillow for meat or veggies to lie on it.
Or you can cook with with less liquid and use it to make a mean polenta bake, polenta fries or even polenta croutons.

Butternut Squash Polenta with Crispy Sausage and Caramelized Onions

This Butternut Squash Polenta with Crispy Sausage and Caramelized Onions is a savory satisfying dinner.
The squash adds sweetness to the savory cornmeal. The sausage is browned with rosemary and thyme, while the onions are caramelized in the sausage fat.
This dish is simple enough for a weeknight, but at the same time so elegant and refined that you can impress your guests with it.

Butternut Squash Polenta with Crispy Sausage and Caramelized Onions              Print this recipe!
Adapted from NYTCooking

A couple of notes. Try to avoid using instant polenta, but if it's all you can find, add the squash and salt to the boiling water 15 minutes before stirring in the polenta, so the squash gets a chance to soften.
I always recommend buying certified organic foods when possible, in case of polenta (made from yellow corn) it’s especially important. Organic corn is non-GMO and does not contain any harmful pesticide residues.

Serves 6

1 cup polenta (not instant)
1 ½ teaspoons fine grain salt
5 oz / 141 gr butternut squash, peeled and coarsely grated
Ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb / 453 gr turkey sausage, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
1 teaspoon rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 medium onion, halved and sliced into half moons
Thyme sprigs for garnish


Bring 4 ½ cups of water to boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add salt and slowly whisk in polenta. Stir in grated butternut squash.
Reduce heat to low and continue cooking — stirring frequently to prevent it from sticking all over the bottom — for about 20 to 30 minutes. If any point the polenta gets too thick, add more water to the pot (you want it to be creamy but not soupy). Also be careful that the polenta tend to splatter so use a lid.
Take a taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
While the polenta cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage rounds, rosemary, and thyme. Cook them for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until deeply browned and crispy. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
Add onions to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden and start to caramelise, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Return sausage to the skillet and stir to heat through.
Spoon polenta into bowls and top with sausage and onion. Garnish with a couple of thyme sprigs if you like.

Nutrition facts

One serving yields 283 calories, 10 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbs, and 18 grams of protein.


  1. Brilliant! And so perfect for the season. I love the idea of adding butternut squash to polenta -- talk about CREAMY!

    1. It's such a great combo. Butternut squash adds so much flavor and creaminess to the polenta, it's amazing!

  2. I haven't given too much thought to polenta before but maybe I should change that. The creamy consistency sounds really good and the fact that it can be converted into fries is intriguing too.

    - D. King

    1. You should definitely give polenta a try Dave, it's so worth it!

  3. This looks so yummy. Perfect dish for fall.

  4. Great idea with the polenta and squash mash up, HUGE fan of it and those caramelized onions top it off nicely. :)

  5. I can see why you like this so much Mike, what a dreamy combination!