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creamy polenta with roasted mushrooms, blue cheese, and walnuts in a white bowl
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5 from 1 vote

Creamy Polenta with Roasted Mushrooms

Creamy polenta is topped with hearty roasted mushrooms and shallots, then topped with crunchy walnuts and pungent blue cheese or gorgonzola. An elegant vegetarian dinner that is worthy of any special occasion, but simple enough for a weeknight!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Dinner, Side Dish, Vegetarian
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: creamy polenta, how to make polenta, how to roast mushrooms, roasted mushrooms, vegetarian dinner
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 272kcal
Author: ari | well seasoned

Ingredients

For Roasted Mushrooms

  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms cleaned and stems removed
  • 4 oz shiitake mushrooms cleaned and stems removed
  • 2 shallots thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 head of garlic halved

For Polenta

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup grated parmesan

For serving

  • ¼ cup walnut pieces toasted
  • ¼ cup gorgonzola or blue cheese
  • 2 Tbsp high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp flaky salt

Instructions

To roast mushrooms

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Quarter baby bellas, then place in a large mixing bowl with shiitakes and sliced shallots. Add olive oil, sherry vinegar, and salt, then toss to combine. Pour into a a baking dish or skillet, then place garlic halves in upside down. Place thyme leaves on top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender and browned. Set aside.
    mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme in a pan before roasting

To make polenta

  • Combine water and salt in a medium pot, then bring to a rapid boil. Slowly pour in cornmeal, then whisk continuously until smooth, about 2 minutes.
    corn meal and butter in a sauce pan
  • Turn heat to a simmer, cover pan, and cook for 25-30 minutes, whisking every 5 minutes.
  • Remove polenta from heat, then add butter and grated parmesan. Whisk until very smooth, then pour polenta into a large serving bowl.
    polenta in a white bowl

To assemble

  • Discard thyme leaves, then spoon roasted mushrooms and shallots (and any sauce!) on top of polenta. To use garlic, simply squeeze the cloves out of the skin and add to mushrooms.
    roasted mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme
  • Sprinkle toasted walnuts and blue cheese or gorgonzola on top, then drizzle everything with a high quality finishing oil and a touch of flaky sea salt. Serve immediately.
    roasted mushroom polenta in a large serving bowl

Notes

A coarser cornmeal can be used to make polenta, but it will result in a texture that is overall less smooth.
If you don't like blue cheese (more pungent) or gorgonzola, feel free to substitute with creamy goat cheese. This will be tangier, but SO delicious!
Roasted mushrooms can be made 1-2 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in a refrigerator. Reheat just before serving (stove top, microwave, or oven!).
Polenta can be made in advance. To reheat, return to a pot on the stove top and add water or milk (start with ½ cup, adding more as needed), then whisk and bring temperature up slowly. Continue cooking and adding more liquid as necessary until polenta is smooth and creamy again. Taste to adjust seasoning - more salt may be needed!
Feel free to use any mix or blend of mushrooms you like! The contrast in textures is what makes this so memorable -- for that reason I recommend more than 1 variety of mushroom!

Nutrition

Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 593mg | Potassium: 288mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 236IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 1mg