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Corn Spinach Polenta Triangles, Refried Beans & Mexican Salsa

Corn Spinach Polenta Mexican Feast

Dinner, Vegan, World Cuisine | 22nd July 2016 | By

Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, these sweetcorn spinach polenta triangles make a great base for refried black beans. Serve with a zingy Mexican salsa. Keep it plant based or add feta cheese and soured cream if liked.

The first time I remember eating Mexican food was in that well-known Hispanic enclave, Loughborough, when I was a student many years ago. In those days, even tortilla chips were hard to get hold of and I felt quite hip eating such an unusual cuisine. I fell in love with the vibrant punchy flavours and have never looked back. These corn spinach polenta triangles may not be authentic Mexican cuisine, but they are certainly inspired by it.


It was a few years later when I first came across polenta and I’ve been using it ever since. These corn spinach polenta triangles are a staple I’ve been making  since before I met CT. Sometimes I leave out the veg and add cheese to the mix, sometimes I include both. Spinach works brilliantly with the polenta as it cooks so fast. This time I actually used Swiss chard instead as that’s what I had on hand and that worked fine too. Likewise sweetcorn doesn’t take long to cook. I used frozen this time, but fresh or tinned are fine. I also added fresh red chilli manzano for a little heat and colour.

Corn Spinach Polenta

Once the polenta has cooked, it can be eaten straight away as a sort of Mexican porridge, but if you pour it into a dish of some kind and leave it to go cold, it will set firm. It can then be cut into pieces of whatever shape or size you desire. Brush the pieces with a little olive oil and grill or roast them. You can also fry them, which is what I did this time. Frying, grilling or baking, gives them a crisp outer layer with a soft, almost creamy inside.

Corn Spinach Polenta Triangles 2

A Near Miss

Truth be told, it was Mexican food that first bought CT to my attention. Mutual friends had invited us both over for a feast of homemade tortillas, beans, salsa, guacamole and more. They’d thought we might get on and wanted to introduce us. As it turned out, CT was unable to make the dinner and we didn’t in fact get to meet until a year later. His name was muddier than the Rio Grande, but he eventually made things right.

Mexican Refried Beans

Black Turtle Beans

A spicy tomato sauce is my usual accompaniment to corn spinach polenta, but when I placed my order with Suma last month I very much had a Mexican feast in mind. I ordered polenta, black beans, chilli chocolate, cumin and coriander. Refried beans are a regular in the Tin and Thyme household and as a result we get through quite a lot of black beans; rather than buy tins which work out to be rather expensive, I like to buy packs of dried beans, cook them in the slow cooker, divide into tin sized portions and keep in the freezer until needed. Órale!

Suma Mexican Ingredients


You can’t have a Mexican feast without salsa of course. We used to grow tomatillos which made authentic Mexican salsas nice and easy, but we’ve not had much luck with them recently. This salsa is made of cucumber, tomatoes, spring onions, avocado and cilantro and is dressed simply with lime.

I topped the refried beans with feta cheese and served sour cream alongside. Neither of these are necessary, but if you fancy some and want to keep it dairy-free, both vegan style feta and sour cream are now available or you can make your own. I’ve given quantities to feed four people, although I only made enough beans and salsa for two. The corn spinach polenta keeps well in the fridge for a few days and can be fried when needed.

Mexican Salsa

Other vegetarian Mexican recipes you might like

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Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make these super scrumptious corn spinach polenta triangles, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or via social media. Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them. For more delicious and nutritious recipes, follow me on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

Corn Spinach Polenta Triangles. PIN IT

Corn Spinach Polenta Triangles with Refried Beans & Mexican Salsa. A wonderfully tasty vegan feast with optional vegetarian extras. #TinandThyme #VeganRecipe #MexicanRecipe #Mexican #polenta #RefriedBeans #Salsa

Corn Spinach Polenta with Refried Beans & Salsa – The Recipe

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Corn Spinach Polenta Triangles, Refried Beans & Mexican Salsa

Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, these sweetcorn spinach polenta triangles make a great base for refried black beans. Serve with a zingy Mexican salsa. Keep it plant based or add feta cheese and soured cream if liked.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: polenta, refried beans, salsa, spinach, vegan
Servings: 4 people
Author: Choclette



  • 150 g polenta
  • 650 ml water
  • pinch sea salt
  • handful spinach (or Swiss chard leaves) - roughly chopped
  • 1 small red chilli - deseeded and finely chopped
  • 100 g sweetcorn (fresh, frozen or tinned)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil.

Refried beans

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic (I used fresh garlic)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 200 g dried black beans or 2 tins
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 100 ml water
  • 4 squares dark chilli chocolate (15g)
  • a few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) - roughly chopped
  • 100 g feta cheese crumbled (optional)


  • ¼ cucumber - cubed into 1 cm pieces
  • 4 ripe tomatoes - cubed into 1 cm pieces
  • 4 spring onions - sliced
  • 1 avocado - peeled , destoned and cubed into 1 cm pieces
  • a few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) - roughly chopped
  • 1 lime - juiced



  • Bring the water and salt to boil in a large (ish) pan and trickle in the polenta stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon or whisk all the time.
  • Add the spinach, corn and chilli and keep stirring.
  • Keep it just simmering and continue to stir for about five minutes or until the mixture is thick and no longer looks grainy.
  • Pour into a 20 or 22 cm sq mould or oiled tin and leave for an hour or so to cool and set.
  • Cut into 8 triangles.
  • Fry over medium heat in olive oil for 4 minutes or so. Turn and fry the other side.

Refried beans

  • Meanwhile, fry the garlic gently in the oil for a minute or two, then add the cumin and coriander. Fry for a further minute, then add the beans, oregano, seasoning and water.
  • Simmer for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and add the chocolate.
  • Mash roughly with a potato masher and turn out into a bowl.
  • Scatter with the coriander leaves and feta if using.


  • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir. Leave for 10 minutes for the flavours to marinade.
  • Serve with lime wedges & sour cream if liked.


Polenta needs at least an hour to cool and set before frying.
Quantities can easily be scaled up or down as required.


These corn spinach polenta triangles with refried beans are my fifth recipe for the Suma Bloggers’ Network. I’m sending them to Tinned Tomatoes for Meat Free Mondays too.


  1. Dom

    22nd July 2016 at 9:16 pm

    oooh, these look wonderful. I know exactly what you mean about polenta. I’ve only started using it myself so it still feels like a discovery. This is very inspiring and I love the addition of the spinach x

    • Choclette

      23rd July 2016 at 9:19 am

      Ah Dom, are you back from your hole? I like to get greens into a meal if I can and this is such an easy way to do it.

  2. Jenn

    22nd July 2016 at 11:31 pm

    I am loving the sound of that salsa. What a great idea to add cucumbers! Will be perfect for all those cakes I’ve got grieving in my garden! Thanks for linking up my Mexican Sloppy Joes!

    • Choclette

      23rd July 2016 at 9:17 am

      Cucumbers are wonderful when the weather is hot particularly Jenn, so they make a good addition to a summer salsa.

  3. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    23rd July 2016 at 10:08 am

    These polenta triangles look delicious. I haven’t had polenta in I really crave some!

    • Choclette

      23rd July 2016 at 2:06 pm

      Thanks Angie. Go, go, go make some 🙂

  4. Sarah, Maison Cupcake

    23rd July 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Wow! I love polenta but don’t eat it often enough and am very tempting pairing it with my beloved pulses. I need to check out the Suma site as it seems they do lots of products I’d love.

    • Choclette

      26th July 2016 at 9:45 am

      I go through phases of using polenta, I’m definitely on a run at the moment. Suma have a massive range of products. I have been known to take their catalogue to bed as a nighttime read 😉

  5. Angela / Only Crumbs Remain

    23rd July 2016 at 6:56 pm

    It’s absolutely ages since OH & I had polenta for a meal, definitely going to have to remedy that Choclette….and served with the salsa and refried beans with feta Mmmm – love it!
    Angela x

    • Choclette

      26th July 2016 at 9:48 am

      Yes, I go through phases of eating it. I’m in one now and really enjoying it. It was a delicious meal 🙂

  6. Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

    24th July 2016 at 9:58 pm

    These polenta triangles sound delicious! I love the idea of serving them with refried beans, they’re always my favourite!

    • Choclette

      26th July 2016 at 9:40 am

      Thanks Becca. Refried beans are so good. We normally eat it with corn chips, so this makes a nice change.

  7. Kari

    24th July 2016 at 11:13 pm

    I really love Mexican food, and this looks like a delicious feast. I usually make my beans in a slow cooker, too – after boiling over on the stove too often, I find it to be the way to go!

    • Choclette

      26th July 2016 at 9:39 am

      Thanks Kari. Slow cookers are brilliant for cooking beans, especially when you’re cooking them in bulk. I love bold flavours and Mexican food has plenty of those.

  8. Nayna Kanabar

    24th July 2016 at 11:37 pm

    I love this colourful nad tasty mexican feast you have created. It looks delicious.

    • Choclette

      26th July 2016 at 9:36 am

      Thanks Nayna. I really ought to make it more often. It’s so easy and flavoursome.

  9. Johanna @ Green Gourmet Giraffe

    25th July 2016 at 12:19 pm

    I love mexican food – though probably didn’t when I left home as I didn’t have much experience of it – now this post makes me think I need to have some polenta in a mexican night soon – we don’t do polenta enough and I love the stuff – so comforting when warm and porridgy but also great grilled the next day and perfect for mexican

    • Choclette

      26th July 2016 at 9:35 am

      It’s such a versatile substance, I find it really useful. I made ‘lasagne’ with it once, which was quite interesting. It went quite soft, but just about held together.

  10. Camilla

    25th July 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Wow, what a lush meal! I have never made my own polenta and have only ever had it once at party made by the Italian host many years ago! Must put this right soon!

    • Choclette

      26th July 2016 at 9:30 am

      It’s funny the differences in the ingredients we all use. I’ve been cooking with polenta for so long, I sort of assumed everyone used it.

  11. Kerry at Kerry Cooks

    25th July 2016 at 1:33 pm

    What a Mexican feast! Amazing – I’ve always found polenta a little bland so I bet they’re much better with mexican flavours

    • Choclette

      26th July 2016 at 9:28 am

      Polenta is mostly a vehicle for soaking up flavours, or that’s what I reckon anyway 😉

  12. nadia

    25th July 2016 at 10:36 pm

    Looks yummy! I’ve only used polenta in sweet recipes so far but I really want to experiment with it in savoury recipes. Sounds so good together with the beans and salsa! 😀

    • Choclette

      26th July 2016 at 9:15 am

      Ah, you’re in for some fun Nadia. It’s a great vehicle for carrying flavours, but although it’s mostly eaten as a ‘porridge’, the fact you can make it into solid shapes makes it doubly useful.

  13. Kate | The Veg Space

    26th July 2016 at 9:08 am

    These look fabulous Choclette, love the idea of chard & sweetcorn in crispy polenta, and the spicy salsa and refried beans sound fab. What a treat – my kinda food! Thanks for including my Chilli.

    • Choclette

      26th July 2016 at 9:13 am

      Thanks Kate. One of the things I like about this is that you can make up a mass of polenta to last for a few days and then have an easy supper for a few days.

  14. Kate - gluten free alchemist

    27th July 2016 at 2:34 pm

    That’s a perfect Mexican feast! Shall I come round now???
    I have never been a great fan of refried beans….. but these look amazing! May be time to temp myself into a re-try!

    • Choclette

      27th July 2016 at 5:01 pm

      Oh no Kate. I love refried beans, but it must be said they wouldn’t be the same without sour cream, cheese, avocado etc etc 😉

  15. Randolph Holub

    21st August 2016 at 7:57 pm

    I have tried 2-3 of your recipes by now and they turned out to be so tasty. My husband loved all of them. I would love to try these yummy Tacos as well,,,I love Mexican food. Thank you!! Thank you for dropping by my blog.Hope you enjoyed reading the recipes.Your feedback and comments are appreciated. Comments with links to external sites will be deleted.

    • Choclette

      29th August 2016 at 6:46 pm

      Thank you. Would love to see a picture if you make any more of my recipes.

  16. Tracey @

    16th June 2017 at 11:31 pm

    What a great idea. I’m thinking it would be great with my mushroom walnut vegan chorizo. I’ll definitly give you credit for the chili polenta. Yum.

    • Choclette

      17th June 2017 at 11:08 am

      Ooh yes Tracey, that sounds like a lovely combination. Let me know how you get on.


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