This 30-minute Easy Creamy Polenta gets its unique flavor from a umami-packed Miso Paste. Served with a quick vegan sautéed mushrooms, this dairy free polenta is perfect for busy weeknights. It's healthy, comforting and satisfying.
This Creamy Vegan Polenta And Mushrooms is literally made for chilly days. Buttery yellow cornmeal is cooked with a plant-based milk, nutritional yeast and a touch of Miso paste for a flavor. Topped with quick fried onions and mushrooms and served creamy and hot.
Growing up, I didn't eat Polenta very often. In Ukraine, we call it Banosh and it's usually made with sour cream and salty cheese resembling Feta.
I made Banosh a few times but it's too heavy and I actually prefer Polenta. It's a very basic porridge but the possible savory topping options are endless.
Here's Why This Recipe Works
- simple ingredients. Creamy polenta is basically made from the pantry staples;
- quick. The savory recipe comes together in just 30 minutes and perfect for busy weeknights. You can even sauté the mushrooms ahead of time and then all you'll have to do is to quickly make the polenta, reheat the mushrooms and dinner is ready;
- versatile. Polenta is a simple porridge. It acts a base for more complex toppings. Fried mushrooms are my go-to. You can use whatever you have in the fridge to pile on top of polenta: pickled veggies, crispy tofu, sautéed Swiss Chard or kale. It's really a wonderful versatile dish;
Here's an overview of the specific ingredients for this recipe. For the exact ingredients and measurements, please scroll to the recipe card below.
- cornmeal. I used yellow cornmeal. It is stone-ground meaning that its grains have an irregular texture, some of them might smaller and some - bigger. If you buy a product that is specifically says Polenta, it usually made with a consistent grind. Unlike the cornmeal, the polenta grains are smaller and uniform. If you like your polenta porridge to have a smoother texture but you only have cornmeal, you can grind it for a few seconds using a coffee grinder;
- plant-based milk. I prefer using a milk with a neutral flavor like Almond, Soy or Oat Milk. Coconut milk, even the one from the carton still has some coconut flavor and in my opinion, it doesn't pair well with polenta. Whichever plant-based milk you choose, make sure it doesn't have any additions like oils or sugar. See my Vegan Grocery List post for brands recommendations;
- mushrooms. This vegan mushroom polenta will taste great with any mushrooms. I used Portobello mushrooms because they are the easiest to find. Chanterelles, Shiitakes or other wild mushrooms would be the next choice;
- Miso Paste. There are many Miso paste varieties out there, but in this recipe I specifically use white Miso paste. It's my literally go-to ingredient for every recipe. It has a bold umami flavor and works perfectly in vegan recipes. I usually buy Organic Miso by Hikari Miso on Amazon. However, Kroger sells it too.
- Prepare creamy Polenta. In a medium saucepan combine water and plant-based milk and bring it to a boil over medium heat. When the liquid starts to boil, whisk in polenta making sure there are no lumps. Reduce the heat to low and simmer polenta for 15 minutes until all liquid evaporates and polenta is cooked through.
- Cook the onion. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Add the onion and sauté stirring occasionally until the onion is soft, about 7-10 minutes.
- Cook the mushrooms. Add mushrooms and sauté stirring occasionally until all liquid evaporates and mushrooms are slightly brown on the sides. Season the mushrooms with some salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
4. Finish the polenta. When polenta is fully cooked, stir in white Miso paste, nutritional yeast and vegan butter. Mix with a hand whisk or spoon until combined.
- Serve. Divide the creamy polenta among the serving bowls, top with the sautéed mushrooms and sprinkle with some fresh parsley leaves. For some heat - add a few sprinkling of red pepper flakes.
Polenta cooking time may vary depending if it's a course or stone grind. That's why I recommend keeping an eye on it at the 10 minute mark. Polenta is done when its texture is creamy and the individual grains are tender.
Frequently Asked Questions
Typically polenta is made with a cornmeal. Grits are a type of cornmeal but it has a courser grind. Nevertheless, grits make a perfect substitute to a cornmeal.
Too little liquid reduces the cooking time hence causing the polenta to be undercooked and lacking creaminess. Using the right ratio of liquid to cornmeal ensures a longer cooking time which results in creamy polenta with individual grains being fully cooked.
The best way to fix runny polenta is to l
Cornmeal is naturally gluten-free but it can be cross-contaminated with other grains containing gluten. If you follow a GF diet, I recommend checking the label for the cornmeal. It should have Gluten-free badge on it.
This Vegan Polenta With Mushrooms is a very basic recipe. If you have a bit of extra time, you customize it by adding more ingredients you have in your refrigerator.
- Sauté the mushrooms with other veggies such as carrots, bell peppers, fennel and tomatoes.
- For the cozy fall flavors, you can also prepare Polenta with a butternut squash or canned pumpkin puree. Just cut a small squash into the small 1-inch size pieces and stir into polenta about 5 minutes into cooking. Cook until the squash is tender and polenta is cooked through.
- For another quick polenta topping idea, I recommend a quick Sautéed Chard or spinach.
- Another option is to add vegan cheese to your polenta. You can either do it by stirring a vegan cashew cheese into a hot Polenta (I love Miyoko's brand) or sprinkling the cooked dish with some vegan Parmesan cheese.
Storing And Reheating
Cooked polenta should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking. Store it in the pot covered with a lid or other airtight container for no longer than 4 days.
To freeze - add cooked polenta to a freezer-friendly bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
To reheat - add frozen polenta to a small pot or pan along with a few tablespoons of vegetable broth or plant-based milk. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer stirring occasionally until the polenta is heated through and creamy.
This vegan Polenta and Mushrooms is a humble dish that can be enjoyed on its own. To round out the experience I recommend pairing it up with a simple side dish like my Creamy Shaved Brussels Sprouts or Roasted Balsamic Green Beans.
Similar Cornmeal Recipes
For a quick overview of the recipe, please check out my Vegan Polenta with Mushrooms web-story.
Creamy Vegan Polenta With Mushrooms
For the creamy vegan polenta
Prepare creamy Polenta
- In a medium saucepan combine water and plant-based milk and bring it to a boil over medium heat. When the liquid starts to boil, whisk in polenta making sure there are no lumps. Reduce the heat to low and simmer polenta for 15 minutes until all liquid evaporates and polenta is cooked through.
Cook the onion
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Add the onion and sauté stirring occasionally until the onion is soft, about 7-10 minutes.
Cook the mushrooms
- Add mushrooms and sauté stirring occasionally until all liquid evaporates and mushrooms are slightly brown on the sides. Season the mushrooms with some salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
Finish the polenta
- When polenta is fully cooked, stir in white Miso paste, nutritional yeast and vegan butter. Mix with a hand whisk or spoon until combined.
- Divide the creamy polenta among the serving bowls, top with the sautéed mushrooms and sprinkle with some fresh parsley leaves.