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Cornmeal Turn Over

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

In Jamaica, this meal is sometimes frowned upon as a meal for people who are poor. The savory version of this recipe is called Turn (“Tun”) cornmeal, which is usually made with beans or meat or whatever can be "thrown" into it to make a delicious meal. It is called Polenta in other parts of the world. I spend the earlier part of my life with my father and “sweet tun cornmeal” was our favorite. This was the only time we three girls would “clean” our plate and of course, satisfied our Dad that we like at least one thing that he cooked. There are several versions of this recipe both sweet and savory throughout Italy and other parts of the world. This version is from St. Mary, Jamaica. Sweet “Tun” cornmeal or Cornmeal Turn Over can be served chilled or warm and can also be grilled.

The benefits of cornmeal include; a good source of complex carbohydrate (slow to digest)-making it a great grain for people with diabetes. It is also high in fiber, low fat, low calorie and has some protein and gluten-free. Cornmeal also contains vitamin A, carotenoids and essential minerals like iron, magnesium, and zinc.

People with diseases such as celiac, gluten intolerance or those on an elimination diet may find turn cornmeal a good substitute for wheat dishes ("8 nutritional benefits of polenta", 2020).

Main Ingredient

1 cup yellow fine cornmeal

3 cups of water

2 cups of coconut milk

¾ cup of sugar

½ cup raisins

¼ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 tbsp. butter or margarine

Salt to taste


  1. Melt margarine or butter in a saucepan under medium heat

  2. Add 1 cup water, coconut milk, sugar and vanilla to melted butter or margarine and salt to taste

  3. Add 2 cups of water to cornmeal and mix well

  4. Pour cornmeal mixture to saucepan stir while pouring to prevent lumps

  5. Add raisins and cook under low-medium heat for 45-60 minutes or until pulling away from the bottom and side of the saucepan

  6. Remove pot from heat and allow cooling. Serve immediately

  7. The mixture can be poured into a square pan and place in the refrigerator until firm. It can then sliced and then baked or grilled before serving

For a balanced meal, you can add 1/4 cup nuts or 1-2 tbsp seeds or enjoy any other protein foods of your choice.

People with diabetes can use the equivalent SPLENDA No Calorie Sweeter for baking or 12 packs of SPLENDA Sweeteners or Stevia. You can also lower the calorie and fat content by using Lite Coconut milk or 1% milk instead of coconut milk.

Nutrition Information: Yield 6 Servings/ Serving size ½ cup

Amount per Serving: Calories 320: Total Fat 12.3g: Saturated Fat 9.8gm: Cholesterol 5mg: Total Carbohydrate: 52.9gm: Dietary Fiber 2.9g: Total Sugar 33.9gm: Protein 3gm

Modification for Diabetes Management

Amount per Serving: 226 Calories: Total Carbohydrate 28.1gm; Total Sugar 8.9gm

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