Creamy Polenta With Balsamic-Braised Mushrooms

I can eat creamy polenta any time of year, at any meal! Besides, it’s a great source of fiber and protein. I like it with eggs, beans or fish but you can’t go wrong with this as a side dish. Adding savory mushrooms - any kind will do - offer micronutrients like selenium and may play a role in cognitive protection.1 This recipe can be customized to use any fresh herbs you like such as sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and/or tarragon, and your favorite mushroom mix. This recipe is gluten-free, lactose-free, and low FODMAP.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serving size: 6

Ingredients for creamy polenta

  • 1.5 cups corn grits (aka polenta)
  • 1 cup plain Lactaid free milk or dairy-free milk
  • 3.5 cups water (can use ½ low-sodium veggie stock for extra flavor)
  • 1.5 Tbsp. healthy butter substitute
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 lbs mixed mushrooms (such as shiitake, oyster, and crimini), wash and roughly chopped
  • 1.5 tsp rosemary
  • 1.5 tsp thyme
  • 1.5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ cup parmesan (can omit if dairy-free)

Directions for creamy polenta

  1. In a large pot, bring water (optional veggie stock) to a boil. Lower heat and add polenta in slowly, whisking to avoid sticky clumps.
  2. Turn heat to very low and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in dairy-free milk and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until creamy and liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat and cover for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in a large pan. Add sliced mushrooms, salt, and pepper, and sauté for about 4 minutes.
  4. Mix in herbs and balsamic, and cook uncovered for 5-7 minutes more.
  5. While mushrooms are cooking, add butter substitute to polenta and mix well. Add optional parmesan and mix until melted.
  6. Spoon polenta in a bowl and ladle mushrooms and sauce over top. Optional garnish with fresh herbs and additional seasoning.

1. L Feng. The Association between Mushroom Consumption and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Community-Based Cross-Sectional Study in Singapore. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, vol. 68, no. 1, pp. 197-203, 2019. Accessed 2/2/2020.

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Nutrition facts

Per Serving

  • calories: 210
  • carbohydrates: 33g
  • fat: 5g
  • fiber: 2g
  • potassium: 88mg
  • protein: 5g
  • saturated fat: 1g
  • sodium: 86mg
Photograph by Melissa Halas. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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