A super hearty gluten-free and vegan creamy polenta recipe with creamy polenta topped with earthy fall flavors – meaty shiitake mushrooms, soft and sweet butternut squash and crunchy toasted pumpkin seeds.
Creamy polenta. Love it or hate it? Or maybe you’ve never even tried it.
Polenta’s one of those things that I pretty much never make (hence why this is the first vegan polenta recipe you’re seeing here on the blog).
I tried “grits” for the first time when I was running a catering company back in DC and I genuinely liked them. A lot.
But then I didn’t really eat polenta for years.
Until last week, which we shall call the week of creamy polenta, or when I went to visit friends in both Brooklyn and Philly. Oddly enough both of them served me polenta.
And we ordered creamy polenta when we were out to eat.
It was a polenta filled week. First I had fried rounds of polenta with a dollop of sun dried tomato pesto in Broolyn, then my Philly friend prepared creamy polenta for breakfast with a runny fried eggs and sauteed spinach.
And then we went out in Philly for a food and drink happy hour bar crawl which luckily for us runs not only from 4-7 but also again from 10-late night.
We stumbled upon a well known Mediterranean spot – Barbuzzo and enjoyed the Soft Taleggio polenta with roasted heirloom pumpkin, chanterelle mushrooms, and pepitas.
It was amazing. Literally a flavor explosion in your mouth. The creamy polenta had the consistency of hummus and the juxtaposition of the toasted crunchy pumpkin seeds, with the soft and sweet roasted pumpkin and hearty meaty mushrooms was incredible.
I knew immediately I would be recreating this vegan polenta recipe at home ASAP.
Don’t you just love feeling inspired in the kitchen? Especially by a delicious meal out. I mean a truly spectacular dish can be hard to find in restaurants (I mean unless you’re fine fine dining, perhaps), so when I take a bite for something truly unique, it resonates with me.
Since I wanted to give this vegan polenta recipe my own spin I chose to use roasted butternut squash instead of pumpkin and shiitakes instead of chanterelles (though the reason for that is mostly because Wegman’s unfortunately does not carry chanterelle mushrooms).
Are chanterelle mushrooms hard to come by? I didn’t think of them as an exotic mushroom but I could not find them at the grocery store. Let me know if you can get your hands of them?
If not, trust me the shiitakes are magical as well and just as meaty.
You want a meaty mushroom in this dish, since this is a vegan polenta recipe so the mushrooms really add that hearty taste.
To make the creamy polenta I cooked the polenta in water and added coconut cream, nutritional yeast and olive oil to the mix.
A high quality extra virgin olive oil makes all the difference here. I brought back two bottles of fancy olive oil from Portugal and oh boy, they are both delectable. These olive oils are so fragrant and delicious that you want to sip them from a spoon.
That’s the kind of olive oil that needs to be added to the finishing touches of a dish, or drizzled on top.
The mix of coconut cream and nutritional yeast make this polenta super creamy – no Parmesan, or butter needed here.
That creamy polenta is then served topped with the sauteed shiitakes with garlic, roasted butternut squash and toasted pumpkin seeds. The mixture of various flavors in this vegan polenta recipe blends together in every single bite, creating a delicious vegan dinner that is perfect during the cooler months.
- 1 cup dry polenta
- 3 cups water
- 2 tablespoon coconut cream
- 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons high quality extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 7 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
- "!for the squash:"
- 1 small butternut squash cubed
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- fresh chopped parsley
- fresh chopped rosemary
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Toss cubed squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes until cooked through.
- Heat pan over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic. Cook until aromatic and add mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are browned.
- Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a pot. Add polenta, salt and pepper, reduce heat and simmer, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add nutritional yeast, coconut cream, and 2 tablespoons high quality olive oil. Mix.
- Serve polenta topped with squash, mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, parsley and rosemary.
- Drizzle with additional olive oil as desired.