There’s something about cool air and the color of autumn leaves that causes me to start craving comfort foods. I start adding soups and roasted vegetables to our weekly menu, which will often include grits and polenta. I like my grits both savory and sweet, and this simple bowl of creamy polenta and mushrooms hits the top of my list. They are delicious as a vegetarian entrée for brunch, lunch, or dinner, and you can divide it into smaller servings for a side dish. I adore the leftovers for a hot breakfast.
Ramekins or small gratin dishes are good for baking polenta, but I really like to use Fiesta small pie plates (see photo above). They are about 6-½” across and offer plenty of surface area for the cheese to brown and get crispy, the best part about broiling gratins.
I modified a recipe from the book The New Way to Cook Light from Cooking Light, which has over 400 healthy dishes with lots of flavor. The original recipe calls for more mushrooms, but since I like the combination of onions and mushrooms I did that instead. I’ve also made this with coarse grits, which has more texture than instant but of course takes substantially longer to cook.
Creamy Polenta (Grits) with Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions
- 12-inch skillet
- 4-quart nonstick pot with lid
- 4 gratin dishes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms ((sliced))
- 1 large yellow onion ((sliced))
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon minced fresh oregano
- 3 cloves garlic ((chopped))
- ⅓ cup vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ⅛ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 2 cups lowfat milk
- 1½ cups vegetable broth
- ¾ cup instant or quick polenta (grits)
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Warm the olive oil in the large skillet over high heat. Sauté the onions until soft, about 4 minutes, then add the mushrooms and sauté until soft, about 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in the thyme leave, oregano, garlic, and vegetable broth. Keep warm.
- In the 4-quart pot, bring the milk and vegetable broth to a boil. Stir in the polenta and cook while stirring until the polenta absorbs the liquid, about 4 minutes. Stir in half of the Parmesan and the kosher salt.
- Preheat the broiler. Divide the polenta among the gratin bowls and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on top. Broil until the cheese melts and browns, about 5 to 6 minutes. Top each bowl with mushroom mixture and serve hot.
More Recipes with Mushrooms
More Recipes with Mushrooms From Other Blogs
- The Perfect Pantry – Mushroom Bhaji (Mushrooms in Tomato-Onion Sauce)
- Savory Simple - Duck with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce and Lentils
- The Wicked Noodle – Mushrooms Au Gratin
[Disclosure: I am a member of the Cooking Light Bloggers' Connection.]
kristy @ the wicked noodle says
I love recipes by Cooking Light; they're always solid. Polenta makes such a great side dish and I love the addition of the mushrooms here!
I really do like Cooking Light recipes, this one is definitely a winner!
Allison Day says
Mmmm, yum. I've just recently developed an appreciation for polenta (I never had it growing up, so was only recently introduced to the joys of it), but I've always been a fan of mushrooms and onions, especially together. This sounds fantastic!
Hi Allison! I love mushrooms and onions, too, and this was a delicious combination.
This sounds good but unfortunately polenta is so not diet friendly for me. However, someone on Twitter just gave me the idea of using quinoa baked with Parmesan as kind of a polenta sub. May have to try this with that idea!
Hi Kalyn. I bet the quinoa would make a good substitute, I'll have to try it!
The Squishy Monster says
I love how creamy polenta is and then, with the delicious savory element of the mushrooms/onions, I bet this is out of this world!