A white serving bowl filled with Pumpkin Sage Polenta.

Pumpkin Sage Polenta

A hint of pumpkin and the taste of sage brings the glow of autumn to a simple Pumpkin Sage Polenta. It’s the perfect side dish for fall!

A white serving bowl filled with Pumpkin Sage Polenta.
Pumpkin Sage Polenta

A hint of pumpkin and the taste of sage brings the glow of autumn to a simple polenta.

A white serving bowl filled with Pumpkin Sage Polenta.

Note: This post for Pumpkin Sage Polenta first appeared October 27, 2013 in the Simple Sundays series and has been updated with improved kitchen notes, recipe annotation, photographs and video. I truly hope you enjoy this favorite from my kitchen!

The hay crunched beneath our feet as we surveyed the rows of pumpkins, the sun finally making its presence known after the chill of autumn gave way to a few hours of heat. My children exuberantly ran ahead of me, declaring each pumpkin they touched “the one!” I reminded them that I would only put their final final selections in the wagon, as they steered me over to pumpkins half my size.

Bowl filled with ready-to-cook polenta on a wooden counter top.

It didn’t matter. I must have lifted over twenty pumpkins into and out of our wagon, behemoths of gourds, as I began to break a sweat, my hair sticking to my neck and my hands coated in dust. “This is the one mommy, I promise!” was followed by “Ooh, this one is perfect!” Had I anticipated this better, I may have skipped the gym that morning. My quads burned as I hoisted each specimen.

Finally, it was all settled: the largest pumpkin was appointed to Daddy, the second largest was determined perfect for the pattern my daughter pre-selected, and the squat, globe-shaped pumpkin was just what my son had envisioned. As for me, I was too exhausted to pick one out to carve; instead, I was already dreaming up ways to cook with pumpkin.

A white serving bowl filled with Pumpkin Sage Polenta surrounded by fresh sage and pumpkins.

Polenta. Creamy, dreamy polenta. I’ve been absorbed by it lately. When a reader asked if I could share the polenta recipe that nestled my Braised Chipotle Short Ribs, I was more than happy to oblige by whipping up a fresh serving, but this time stirring in a little bit of autumn.

Pumpkin Sage Polenta bubbled and hissed on the stove as my children worked on their final pumpkin carving today. My daughter ran to me and exclaimed, “Ooh, can I taste the mac and cheese?” The buttery polenta had her fooled. But she tried it anyway, and one spoonful apparently was not enough. She snuck in a few more bites then returned to the pumpkins on the table. There was more work to be done.

A white serving bowl on a wooden counter top filled with Pumpkin Sage Polenta.

More recipes inspired by autumn flavors:

Savory Herb Stuffing Bread
Pumpkin Spice Buttermilk Bundt Cake
Stuffed Butternut Squash with Farro, Chickpeas and Kale
Cranberry Sauce Slab Pie
Apple Dumplings

Pumpkin Sage Polenta

A hint of pumpkin and the taste of sage brings the glow of autumn to a simple polenta. If pumpkin isn’t your thing, any autumn squash would work nicely, or if you prefer, leave it out for a more straightforward polenta*.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword polenta, pumpkin, sage
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 257kcal


  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt*
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree canned is fine if you do not have freshly roasted pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon sage chopped
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed


  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together the water, polenta and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking periodically. Lower the heat and let the polenta simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Add the pumpkin and sage, and continue stirring for about 15-20 minutes, until the polenta begins to pull away from the sides of the saucepan. Stir in the parmesan cheese and butter. Serve immediately while hot and creamy, or if you prefer, place in a square dish to cool and serve in slices.



* Recipe updated 11.23.14 – salt reduced after reader feedback. I originally used 3 teaspoons of salt in the polenta, however, if you are concerned that it may be too salty, go with 2 teaspoons and adjust as necessary.


Calories: 257kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 1375mg | Potassium: 129mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 102.5% | Vitamin C: 1.6% | Calcium: 16.2% | Iron: 5.1%
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  1. Pauline

    I love polenta so much, reminds me of romania, so this is definitely a great twist for fall :D

    • Liren

      Hi Pauline, thank you! I have been loving polenta so much lately, and now I want to try it in the Romanian style — I believe that is sometimes with feta and bacon? Definitely sounds delicious.

    • Liren

      Thank you, Angela! Grits, polenta, whatever you call it, I’m crazy for it, too!

  2. Pauline

    Yes exactly, usually in Romania they add feta or goat cheese and they make it more solid and less like puree usually. They serve it with sarmale (pork or bacon wrapped in cabbage) and a little cream. Si delicious and indulgent !!

  3. Eileen

    This polenta sounds amazing for fall. I bet it would be especially great with a juicy lamb chop!

    • Liren

      Oh yes! I love lamb chops, you’re right, this would be great together :)

  4. Beth Young

    I’m going through such a polenta phase at the moment. Will absolutely have to give this a go! Don’t think I’ll be able to get the tinned pumpkin in Italy so will have to make the puree myself!

    • Liren

      It will be even better, then, Beth! Freshly roasted pumpkin…mmm :)

  5. Shelly

    I love love love polenta. Fried, creamy, or baked. It’s sooo amazing cooked any way. I roasted a pumpkin a few weeks ago and have a bunch of leftover puree in my freezer – might have to pull some out to try this recipe!!

    • Liren

      How perfect! I really should consider roasting and freezing a bevy of pureed squashes, great idea :)

  6. Monet

    A lovely recollection of your pumpkin picking excursion and an even lovelier dish made with thought and love. This polenta looks heavenly and would grace any fall meal. Thank you for sharing Liren!

    • Liren

      Thank you, Monet! Can’t wait to see how Lucy likes her first pumpkin picking excursion…I can imagine her toddling in the fields already :)

  7. Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    I adore polenta! Last fall in Florence I had the most comforting bowl of polenta on a chilly evening, and I’ve been dreaming of it lately. Can’t wait to try this soon!

    • Liren

      Ah to be in Florence! Such a beautiful city, I can imagine the polenta was especially dreamy.

  8. Theresa @ Delicacious

    Your pumpkin picking trip sounds so fun. Things I’ll never be able to do in Singapore! And the polenta looks so creamy and delicious. Are you posting pictures of the carved pumpkins too? :)

    • Liren

      I just might have to post pictures of the carved pumpkins. I’ll try!

    • Liren

      It would be great with turkey! And I would be honored to be part of your Thanksgiving table :)

    • Liren

      It can really be comforting on these cold days, especially when you feel the need to eat something hearty!

  9. Paula

    Is this the correct amount of salt? I made this tonight, but it really came out too salty.

    • Liren

      Hi Paula, did you include the pumpkin? I can see that if perhaps the pumpkin was left out, the polenta will be on the salty side (when I make it plain, I definitely use less). Thanks for your comment – I will make sure to annotate it that in the recipe itself.

  10. Paula

    I did include the pumpkin, but I did put in a little extra cheese. Maybe that was it? Even if it was a little on the salty side for my palate, I still really loved it thanks for the recipe! I’ll just pare down the salt next time I make it. And there will be a next time!

    • Liren

      It could be the cheese, parmesan is salty, too. I’m so glad that you still loved it and will make it! Thanks for the feedback!

  11. Lucy

    I also made this last night. It came out grew but I had to skip the cheese all together because I think the amount of salt is off. It was very salty. I ended up adding a little milk and extra pumpkin to bring down the salt content. Thank you though. Great idea!

  12. Otillie

    I agree with the above posts. Salt is off..too salty. Otherwise the taste is good.

  13. Jenn

    Wish I had read the comments before making, I can tell this would be delicious! The flavors work so well together but it’s soooo salty.  Will definitely adjust next time is that I can enjoy it.

    • Liren Baker

      Thanks so much, Jenn! I know everyone has different tastes when it comes to saltiness – I’ll be sure to update the recipe so others can salt sparingly if they wish!

  14. Caitlin

    Is this reheatable? I would love to make it for my family’s Thanksgiving, but it would need to be able to travel! Thanks 

    • Liren Baker

      Yes, it is! If when reheating you need to thin it out, just add a little chicken broth! Happy Thanksgiving!

  15. Liz

    What a spectacular, autumn fall dish! I’d love this on my Thanksgiving menu!!!

  16. Phoebe Hendricks

    I very rarely have a savory dish with pumpkin. This sounds amazing, especially with the sage!

    • Liren Baker

      Hi Rebecca, I’m glad that you are interested in trying this recipe for pumpkin sage polenta! I believe your comment was intended as an email to share and not as a blog comment. If you ever want to share recipes from my site, you can use the “email this” button from the share menu. I hope that helps!

    • Liren Baker

      Hi Joanne, I’m pleased that you are interested in trying this recipe! I believe your comment was intended as an email to share and not as a blog comment. If you ever want to share recipes from my site, you can use the “email this” button from the share menu. I hope that helps!

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