Provencale Polenta Provencale Trader Joe

Trader Joe's Polenta Provencale

One of the things I love about Trader Joe’s was that they have introduced me to dozens new dishes that I would not have otherwise. Polenta is one of these dishes. To my best knowledge, I hadn’t heard of it before. Sonia, who has been to more places than me, has had the opportunity to try polenta both in Los Angeles and in Italy. Despite her efforts, she has never been able cultivate an appreciation for the corn-based dish.

The presence of corn (and absence of wheat) is great news for all you gluten-free folks. For people like Sonia, however, it means an unusual texture, which, in her words, “feels almost like eating soap.” That observation is very true. It’s a bit strange that the texture of the actual polenta balls feels like pasta, especially if it is supposed to be smooth and creamy. I’m done! Talking about balls and Russ chuckling about nut butter. This is a family-friendly blog, I swear.

Other than its lack of gluten and its vegetarian-ness, this product’s other great strength lies in its vegetable medley, which includes peas, spinach, and tomato bits. Although the cream sauce adds some spice to the dish and gives it a nice mix of herbs, its flavor is not overwhelming.

The polenta has very little flavor. It tasted very neutral to me. On the back of the bag is a long, melodramatic description of Trader Joe’s efforts to “liberate” polenta from the traditional Italian niche. If this isn’t how traditional polenta was served, perhaps the entree would have been better as something else? It was good, though. Sonia and me both agree that the most appetizing aspect of this dish is the polenta.

The overwhelming soupiness of this product was another surprise, as shown in the above photo. The bag photo shows a mostly-dry dish on a plate. We ended up eating our “polenta” stew from a bowl, which is not a bad thing.

Since it’s something unique and new-to-me—and because it tastes good overall, I’m giving this polenta provencale a 3.5. Sonia doesn’t like the texture of the polenta balls, despite her admitting that she enjoyed the vegetables. It gets 2.5 stars from her.

Final verdict: 6 out 10