Dairy-Free Bolognese Polenta Bites are grilled crispy polenta bites topped with slow cooked turkey ragu Bolognese for the perfect little Italian bite.
Why you are going to love Dairy-Free Bolognese Polenta Bites
The crispy polenta is the perfect little vehicle to transport that luscious savory tender Bolognese ragu. You are just love these little Dairy-Free Bolognese Polenta Bites because when your teeth hit the crispy polenta you are in for a real treat. Rich and delicious slow cooked Bolognese cooked with a little Italian love is the perfect hearty appetizer for a crowd.
Are you going to be entertaining over the holidays?
Dairy-Free Bolognese Polenta Bites are a great make ahead appetizer. Well at least the Bolognese sauce and if you buy the pre-made gluten-free, dairy free polenta tubes. All you need to do is cut, peel and grill the pre-made polenta for about 3-4 minutes on each side and you are good to go. Did you know that Bolognese sauce freezes really well? I always like to make extra and then can take it out for a quick and easy meal like our Tagliatelle Alla Bolognese or for these delicious Dairy-Free Bolognese Polenta Bites.
We made our Bolognese sauce a little less traditional. We wanted to make it a little healthier than the normal Bolognese sauce with low-fat lean turkey instead of beef and non-dairy creamer instead of whole milk to accommodate our dairy issues. Really you could use lactaid, soya milk, or any dairy alternative you like but I have found that almond milk does not work as well with savory dishes but is best for desserts and sweets.
However if you do not have a dairy issues, then please use regular milk and be sure to grate a little parmesan cheese on top before serving. How many of you did not know that there is milk in Bolognese? Don't feel alone, before spending some time in Italy and learning how to make Bolognese the traditional way, I had no idea.
The milk or milk alternative really helps make the Bolognese sauce tender and rich, it is hidden and you would never even know it is in there.
If you would rather make this hearty little appetizer into a hearty little meal, then just exchange the grilled polenta with a hearty serving of delicious cooked creamy polenta. This would be a perfect comfort meal.
As these little Dairy-Free Bolognese bites are just finger food you want to really keep your cut carrot, celery, garlic and onion combo , soffritto chopped finely. These aromatics are really the heart of the dish.
More Delicious Italian Appetizers Recipes
Dairy-Free Bolognese Polenta Bites
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ cup celery chopped finely
- ½ cup carrots chopped finely
- ⅔ cup pancetta
chopped (or can exchange with bacon)
- ½ pound ground turkey
- ½ cup red wine
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp sage
(optional but really nice with the turkey)
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 28 oz tomatoes
- ½ cup non-dairy creamer
we used a coconut creamer
- 1 tsp sugar
or sugar alternative
- 18 oz polenta pre-made tube (gluten-free, dairy free)
- In a medium sauce pan, add olive oil, onion, garlic, celery and carrots and cook just until aromatic. Add the pancetta and cook until slightly browned about 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey, and cook until browned. Add red wine, salt and pepper to taste, sage (optional but nice with the turkey) and Italian seasoning. Add the crush tomatoes and sugar or sugar alternative . Turn heat down to slow simmer and cook and stir and give it a little love for about 30 minutes until the sauce looks rich and delicious and thick. Add your non-dairy creamer or milk alternative of choice and cook for another 10 minutes. Turn off burner and set aside.
- Slice your pre-made polenta and remove the plastic covering. Coat your grill (we used our grill pan on top of the burner) with olive oil or brush a little olive oil on both sides of the polenta. Grill the polenta cakes on each side in a grill pan with a little olive oil for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until crispy and they have nice grill marks. It makes about 9 little appetizers with some extra Bolognese left over and that is very good thing.
- Spoon a tablespoon of Bolognese sauce on top of each polenta cake. Garnish with a little basil or parsley if you wish. If you do not have a dairy dietary issues, then feel free to add a little grated parmesan cheese on top of each little Bolognese Polenta Bites. Enjoy!