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From the authors, Gina and Jeremy: We’ve always been suckers for good Italian home cooking and this Tomato Mushroom Polenta was always the triple complete rainbow. Often we would find ourselves purchasing store-bought versions because making the perfect polenta seemed unattainable, and it was usually hard, slimy, and never had that homemade taste. We learned this easy recipe from Jeremy’s Mom, who although not Italian, fancies herself a connoisseur of the cuisine. Once we realised how simple, although a bit time-intensive, it was to make our own, we never went back to the perils of pre-bought polenta. It turns out it is also cheaper, as you could make 6 or more batches of polenta out of a $3 bag of cornmeal and only 1 or 2 out of the pre-made tube.
The sauce for the polenta is a favorite standby of ours; we often use it on pasta, ravioli, and now polenta. You can use the one we provided or your favorite red-based sauce. It also tastes delicious with an oil-based mushroom sauce. This works as a side dish for a nice bean patty, cooked tofu, or, if you add garbanzo beans or fried tempeh to the sauce, as an entree.
From Plant-Based on a Budget:
If you are a big fan of Italian food but are looking to switch things up from your normal pasta dishes, then this succulent baked Tomato Mushroom Polenta will hit the right spot. Even though polenta on its one is not necessarily super appealing, combined with the salty mushrooms, the herbs, and the sweet tomato sauce is a dream.
If you’re feeling a little indulgent, you can grate some vegan cheese on top a few minutes before the Tomato Mushroom Polenta is done baking. It will taste like a creamy pizza dish!
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- My favorite knives
- Medium-sized pan
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Wooden Spoon
- Casserole Dish
Photos by Alfonso Revilla
Tomato Mushroom Polenta
- 3 cups of water
- 1 ½ cups of cornmeal
- 1 cup of cold water
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 garlic clove minced
- ½ of a medium yellow onion diced
- 4 white mushrooms sliced
- 1 14.5-ounce can of stewed or diced tomatoes, in their juices
- 1 ½ tablespoons of oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6 fresh basil leaves chopped for garnish
- Place 3 cups of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. While the water is heating up, place all the cornmeal and 1 cup of cold water in a mixing bowl. Mix together until you get the consistency of paste.
- Once the water is brought to a boil, add in a tablespoon of salt and pour in the polenta paste. Bring the mixture to a boil for about a minute, stirring the entire time with a wooden spoon and turn down to low heat.
- Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring most of the time. If lumps appear, stir them out or mush against the edge of the pot. You will know the polenta is done when the spoon can stand up in the middle on it’s own and it starts to separate from the side of the pot.
- While the polenta is simmering, preheat the oven. In a pan, heat the olive oil and add in the garlic and onions.
- Let them cook until brown and add in the mushrooms and stewed tomatoes.
- Add in the oregano, salt, and pepper and stir. Turn down to low/medium heat and mix in the fresh basil. Let this sauce simmer until you’re ready to serve the whole dish.
- Once the polenta is done on the stovetop, pour the mixture into the casserole dish and bake for 20 minutes.
- Let cool for a few minutes. Scoop out the polenta on a plate or bowl and pour sauce over it. Serve with a garnish of black pepper and fresh basil.
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