This traditional northern Italian dish made vegan will make you want to cuddle up, bite after bite. Our version of a Vegan Mushroom Polenta is made with a rich mushroom stew, crunchy pine nuts and freshly chopped parsley. Perfect for autumn and winter.
Vegan Mushroom Polenta
- 2 cup (2 cup) polenta
- 8 cups (8 cups) water
- 1 tbsp (1 tbsp) salt
- 2 kg (9 cups) mixed mushrooms button, chanterelles, oyster, cremini, king oyster, portobello, enoki
- 50 grams (1 cup) dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 tsp (1 tsp) chili flakes
- 1 cup (1 cup) water use left over water from shiitake-soaking
- 4 cloves (4 cloves) garlic
- 1 whole (1 whole) shallot
- 1 tbsp (1 tbsp) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (½ cup) white wine or red
- ½ cup (½ cup) plant milk or soy, oat, almond
- 2 tsp (2 tsp) thyme
- 1 handful (1 handful) flat leaf parsley
- 20-40 grams (0.5 oz) pinenuts
- 2-3 tsp (2-3 tsp) salt
- 1 tsp (1 tsp) pepper
For the polenta
- Measure water and polenta (4 cups of water for 1 cup of polenta) and set the water to boil. Salt the water when boiling.
- Slowly pour the polenta into boiling water, whisk/stir constantly until all polenta is stirred in and there are no lumps of flour left.
- Keep medium heat and be cautious of the "polenta-bubbles", they have a lava-like consistency and can get you really burned if it reaches skin.
- Once smooth, change tool from whisk to wooden spoon and stir occasionally every 1-2 mins on low-medium heat. Depending on your polenta type, you need to cook it for 15-60 mins. Taste the polenta for salt and remove from stove once cooked.
- 2 ways of eating your polenta: 1) pour the boiled polenta into a cast iron pan or rectangular baking form and bake for 30-40 mins until golden. 2). Serve directly from the pot onto a plate or wooden board. On both cases, serve with a generous amount of sauce on top!
Prep the mushrooms
- Soak shiitake mushrooms in lukewarm water and set aside.
- Rinse the fresh mushrooms and cut into stripes. We prefer to maintain the shape of the various mushrooms by cutting them into not-too-thin stripes and maintaining the "umbrella" shape.
- Drain the shiitake and cut into thin 1 cm (¼ inch) slices and save the shiitake "water" for the sauce.
- Rinse the parsley and remove thicker stems, gather leaves in a pile, and slice roughly. Try not to press the parsley leaves too hard as you may bruise them. Set aside.
- Peel shallots and garlic cloves and chop everything together into fine pieces.
- Add pine nuts to a non-stick pan and roast lightly on medium to high heat for a slight crunch. Set aside once pine nuts are lightly brown.
Make the mushroom stew
- Add shallots, garlic and chili flakes to a large pan or skillet with ¼ cup of water and "water fry" in 4 tablespoons of shiitake water (leftover) until they caramelise, this usually takes 2-3 mins. Add more shiitake water if necessary.
- Once shallot and garlic are golden, add shiitake-mushrooms to the mix. Add the remaining mushrooms a little bit at a time. Do not add any more water at this point.
- Add wine to the mix once the pan is hot and let evaporate. Cover the stew with a lid and let cook for 15 mins, adding some more shitake water if necessary.
- Start flavouring; add salt, pepper, thyme while stirring. Add plant milk and flour (through a small sieve to avoid lumps). Let cook for some more minutes to let the flavours grow.
- Once you've reached creamy consistency, add parsley and turn gently into the stew. Set aside to cool down for 5 mins before serving
- Arrange polenta on a plate, on a cutting board or use the baked polenta in the cast iron.
- Pour a healthy amount of mushroom stew in the middle. Share with family and friends while wearing fluffy, soft socks (optional). Enjoy!
There are two main ways of eating your polenta:
1) pour the boiled polenta into a cast iron pan or rectangular baking form and bake for 30-40 mins until golden.
2). Serve directly from the pot onto a plate or wooden board.
On both cases, serve with a generous amount of sauce on top!
📖 Questions & Answers
What is Mushroom Stew?
You can use any mushrooms you find in your local grocery store. We recommend using at least three different sorts, if possible. We used: 450 grams of button mushrooms, 350 grams portobello mushrooms, 350 grams of chantarelles, 250 grams oyster mushrooms, 250 grams cremini mushrooms, 200 grams king oyster mushrooms, 120 grams enoki mushrooms.
The polenta can easily be exchanged for pasta, rice or a crunchy slice of Vegan Flat Bread - just add the mushroom stew on top, and it will enrich your favourite grain with a beautiful earthy feel and flavour.
In need of sauce? Add ½ cup of extra plant milk to the sauce to reach a more liquid consistency and it can be used as a sauce (e.g. thanksgiving, Christmas, and festive occasions).
Polenta stores well for up to 3 days and it's perfect for food prep. We always cook a bit extra and store it in an airtight container for quick healthy meals.
This recipe was adapted from "The Crepes of Wrath".
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Will you be cooking this Polenta at home? Let us know in the comments below if you do, it always makes us smile.