Skip to content

Polenta With Sautéed Mushrooms & Tomatoes (GF Or Vegan!)

Silvia Bianco
August 18, 2014
Silvia Bianco
Written by
August 18, 2014

Growing up, I thought polenta was strictly an Italian peasant dish. Later, I discovered that it was the darling of chic restaurants everywhere. But it's just cornmeal, a common staple of nearly every ethnic group across the globe from Africa to Asia, Europe to South America and the American South (where it's used to make grits).

It's popularity is understandable because cornmeal is filling, rich in dietary fiber and iron, naturally gluten-free, and unlimited in it's versatility. It molds to the shape of its container, so you can cut it into any shape you like and then heat it up on the grill or in a frying pan.

This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

I cut mine into triangles and pan fried it so that the polenta was crisp on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside … incredible! Serve it with vegetables or with any sauce you like but this quick sauté of mushrooms and fresh tomatoes was amazing.

Polenta With Sautéed Mushrooms & Tomatoes

Serves 8 as an appetizer

Ingredients for the Polenta

  • 1 cup cornmeal (coarse or fine; yellow or white)
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 2 pats butter (optional)
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite oil for pan frying (not necessary if you plan to grill or serve soft)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • Handful of GF (or regular) flour for dredging.

Ingredients for the Sauce

  • 1 pint of cherry (or grape) tomatoes, halved
  • 1 pint of crimini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 medium garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons of broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • 2 large basil leaves, torn for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

Instructions for the polenta

Cook cornmeal according to package instructions.

If you want to serve it soft, you can stop here, season with salt, pepper, add fresh herbs and/or butter and cheese and top with the sauce. (Instructions for sauce are below.)

Coat an 8 x 8 pan with oil or cooking spray and fill with the cornmeal. Distribute evenly and smooth the top.

Refrigerate overnight to set.

When ready to pay fry, place a small skillet over med/high heat, add oil and heat until hot but not smoking

Cut the cornmeal into desired shape, dredge in flour (helps to dry it up and adds a nice crust) and add to the hot oil. Cook one or two at a time.

Cook for about three minutes on each side or until golden and crispy.

Drain on paper towels.

Instructions for the sauce

Place a medium skillet over medium heat. Add oil and heat.

Add mushroom and cook for about five minutes until golden, stirring only occasionally.

Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, just until it begins to color and follow quickly with the tomatoes.

Cook for about two minutes or just until tomatoes begin to wilt.

Add the broth, and cook for about a minute, until the flavors blend.

Season with salt and pepper

Spoon over each piece of the polenta. Garnish with fresh basil.

This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.
Silvia Bianco author page.
Silvia Bianco

Live a vibrant, connected, physically and spiritually nourished life.

As a native Italian, connection is in my DNA. As a holistic professional chef, good nutrition and great taste go together.

We've sacrificed cooking for convenience and lost the sacredness of sharing a lovingly prepared meal. I'm on a mission to change that.

For 20 years, I've taught thousands of people (regardless of their dietary choices or restrictions) how to cook whatever they want to learn using simple, fresh, everyday ingredients along with practical, easy techniques.

Now I've gathered the tools and inspiration for you to make cooking simple and meeting at the table a meaningful and memorable experience. Get them by

SUBSCRIBING to and LIKE my FB page to get my latest divine, Mediterranean inspired recipes and cooking tips. Subscribe to Miracles & the Chef for some Sacred Sustenance - based on the teaching of ACIM.