Edible Insects Recipe: Polenta Mealworm Roulade
Mealworms hidden in a savory polenta roll

Aug. 26, 2018
May 5, 2019

May contain affiliate links.

A roulade is a savory or sweet dish of filled rolled meat or pastry, common in many European countries. This beautiful and delicious Swiss roulade is drizzled with red pepper soy sauce and served atop a bed of fresh sugar snap peas. This recipe is contributed by the Swiss company Essento, and included in Essento's German-language cookbook, Grillen, Heuschrecken & Co, which can be purchased from the Essento online shop.

Polenta Mealworm Roulade

Time 5 hours; Active 35 mins; Serves 6


  • 400 ml vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 200 g polenta or medium to coarsely-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Olive oil for frying


  • 150 g frozen mealworms, or 50-80 g of freeze dried mealworms, rehydrated*
  • 100 g pecans
  • 50 g sundried tomatoes
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon oregano, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 300 ml red wine
  • 100 ml soy sauce
  • 50 ml vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon pink peppercorns (or your favorite red pepper), crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch


  • 1 shallot; finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 400 g sugar snap peas
  • Fresh salt and pepper, to taste


1. Boil the vegetable broth along with the chopped rosemary. Stir in the polenta (or cornmeal) and simmer for about 3 minutes, whisking constantly until all polenta is stirred in and there are no lumps. Remove from heat and mix the grated Parmesan cheese and the egg yolks. Cover a square or rectangular baking sheet with plastic wrap. Pour polenta over the plastic wrap, spreading evenly. Cover polenta with another sheet of plastic wrap to avoid drying, and refrigerate until cold.

2. Roast the mealworms together with the pecans in a frying pan until dry. Combine with other filling ingredients in a food processor and puree to a fine paste. Remove the top layer of plastic wrap from the cooled polenta, and distribute the mass evenly over the polenta, leaving a border of about 2 cm wide on one side.

3. Carefully roll the filling-covered polenta, using the plastic wrap to assist in the roll, removing as you go, so that the plastic wrap remains on the outside of the roll and does not get stuck inside. Wrap the roulade with the plastic wrap to avoid drying, and allow to cool in the refrigerator for about 4 hours. Once the roulade has cooled, remove the plastic wrap and cut the roulade into slices approximately 1 cm thick. (If the polenta remains stuck to the knife, re-cover with plastic wrap and cool the polenta briefly under cold water.)

4. Cook the red wine in a saucepan over medium heat until the volume is halved. Add the soy sauce, vegetable broth, and pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Thicken slightly by whisking in the cornstarch.

5. Sauté the shallot in butter until translucent. Add the pea pods, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sauté briefly, until pea pods are lightly crisp.

6. Fry the polenta slices in a frying pan with a little olive oil over medium heat until golden brown. Arrange polenta on a bed of sugar snap peas, drizzle with the soy sauce reduction, and serve.

NOTE: If frozen mealworms are unavailable, they can be substituted with 50-80 g of freeze dried mealworms. To prepare, rehydrate freeze-dried mealworms in lukewarm water for about 10 minutes, until they double or triple in weight.

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This entomophagy recipe is included in Bugs for Beginners, a cookbook which teaches Westerners how to prepare and safely eat insects. Text may include affiliate links

Meet Mic

I'm Mic. I love reading about, writing about, thinking about, photographing, and especially eating, food. Especially bug food. Enough talk, let's eat!

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