BBQ Chicken Polenta "Pizza"

Many moons ago, a friend of mine mentioned the idea of polenta pizza to me. I was FLOORED. I LOVE polenta, and I love pizza. I am always trying gluten free pizza crust options, and truthfully, none are ever really that great. But polenta pizza, well it is NEXT LEVEL! It’s the perfect way, in my opinion, to eat pizza if you’re gluten free, or just trying to reduce the amount of gluten you consume.

Plus, this is a great way to sneak in some veggies! I stir spinach into the “crust”, top the pizza with sweet potatoes, and also get some protein from chicken. You can really use whatever ingredients you like, though! I’ve made this pizza with goat cheese and caramelized onions, spinach and mushroom, broccoli and cheddar cheese. Truly, the possibilities are endless.

When I had my meal delivery service, this was always a crowd favorite. My clients loved it because it was super easy to reheat, and it is very portable, making it a perfect weekday lunch option.

The other thing I love about this recipe is that it showcases the fact that you do not have to make every single thing from scratch. I LOVE making my own pizza sauce, but really, we’re all busy and burning the candle at both ends. SO, it’s nice to have a recipe that still utilizes fresh and healthy ingredients while allowing for a little shortcut here and there. I almost always have pizza sauce and BBQ sauce in my refrigerator, so this is a great way to utilize pantry staples and get ahead on meals for the week!

So what makes this "pizza" so dang delicious?!

  • Sweet potatoes - the combination of sweet potatoes and BBQ sauce has got to be one of my favorite things in the entire world. It's something about the spicy, salty and sweet combined that just does it for me.

  • Polenta - How cool is this idea?! I wish I could take full credit, but an old friend of mine gave me the original idea for it! I just came up with the super simple toppings!

  • Cheeeeeese - Ok, I know that I usually talk about cutting down on my dairy consumption, but I really love the combination of the cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce in this dish. Of course, if you are following a plant-based diet, you could certainly omit the chicken and the cheese. You could also use a plant-based cheese substitute. Either way, you can definitely cater this pizza to your tastes.

  • Spices - I add spices to the polenta to add an extra little punch of flavor. It just works so well. Polenta is similar to most other grains, in that it is a blank canvas and will take on the flavors added to it during cooking. The chili powder goes so well with the BBQ sauce.

Here is what you'll need for this BBQ Chicken Polenta "Pizza":

  • Medium sweet potato

  • Avocado oil

  • Vegetable broth

  • Milk of your choice (I tend to use oat milk!)

  • Coarse Kosher salt

  • Fresh ground black pepper

  • Chili powder

  • Ground cumin

  • Garlic powder

  • Paprika

  • Polenta

  • Baby spinach

  • Shredded mozzarella cheese

  • Jarred pizza sauce

  • Your favorite BBQ sauce, divided

  • Cooked, shredded chicken breast

  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese

How does this polenta "pizza" come together?

Roast the sweet potatoes. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place sweet potatoes, 1 TBSP avocado oil, and salt and pepper on a foil-lined baking sheet, and toss to coat. Place in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes or until potatoes are browned and tender. (Keep the oven on!)

Make the polenta. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring remaining oil, broth, milk, salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and paprika to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to low, and stir constantly, with a wooden spoon, until the polenta is thick and creamy. If polenta becomes thick before tender. Once thick and tender, remove from heat and stir in ¼ cup mozzarella cheese and spinach. Spread evenly into a small, foil-lined baking sheet pan. Let cool slightly.

Assemble! While the polenta is cooling slightly, stir together pizza sauce and 2 TBSP BBQ sauce. Spread over the polenta. Sprinkle sweet potatoes and chicken. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and cheddar cheese. Drizzle remaining BBQ sauce over the top, and place in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Remove from the oven and cut into 6 pieces. ENJOY!