Mushroom Polenta

By Jeri Mobley-Arias
January 15, 2024 | Updated on February 27, 2024

Mushroom polenta is a layered dish of rich, creamy polenta topped with savory sautéed mushrooms. This hot and hearty meatless meal is delicious comfort food that hits all the marks.

If you’re a mushroom lover, then you have to try more mushroom recipes like these Soy and Sake Sautéed Mushrooms, Kale and Mushroom Egg Bites, Garlic and Mushroom Skillet Chicken, or Creamy Mushroom Soup.

a bowl of mushroom polenta

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Polenta and mushrooms are a match made in culinary heaven. It’s an unexpected pairing but after one spoonful, you’ll understand why it’s a must-try.

Silky smooth polenta is enriched with butter and parmesan cheese. Earthy mushrooms are sautéed with garlic, shiitake stock, soy sauce, sake, and mirin for an umami flavor bomb. The final result is a hearty nourishing creamy mushroom polenta.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Meatless Meal From the seasoning to the texture, shiitake and oyster mushrooms are juicy and flavorful, packing lots of umami. If you’re looking to integrate more meatless meals, I promise you won’t miss it with this dish! Not only is it friendly on the pocket, but it also cooks in less time than polenta paired with braised meat.
  • Versatile Polenta with mushrooms is filling enough to be a meal or a hearty side dish. And with a few simple swaps, you can make this recipe vegan.
  • Great Comfort Food – Whether it’s winter or just a rainy day, a bowl of this will soothe your body and soul. This hot dish will give you all the cozy feels while also filling your tummy.
a bowl of mushroom polenta

Tools You’ll Need

Ingredients You Will Need for Mushroom Polenta

There’s flavor in each bite of this oyster mushroom polenta but the essence of that umami flavor starts with dried shiitake mushroom stock.

Miso Polenta

  • Polenta or cornmeal – This is the main ingredient. Aim for coarse texture polenta
  • Water – The liquid base of your polenta.
  • White miso – This is a milder miso with subtle umami notes.
  • Parmiggiano regiano – Do not use pre-shredded cheese. Grate the block yourself for the best results.
  • Unsalted butter – This enriches the polenta, providing a luscious, creamy texture.

Sautéed Soy Mushrooms

  • Dried shiitake mushrooms – These mushrooms have a concentrated umami flavor with smoky notes. They rehydrate when soaked in hot water and have a distinct, meaty texture.
  • Oyster mushrooms – These mushrooms have a delicate texture with smooth flesh. Clean and separate them before cooking.
  • Avocado oil – Avocado oil has a mild and neutral flavor, allowing the natural taste of the mushrooms to shine through. I prefer using this oil due to it being a monosaturated (healthy) fat.
  • Garlic – Mince fresh garlic and skip the bottled stuff.
  • Sake – This rice wine has a hint of sweetness. It encourages caramelization and also helps deglaze the pan. You don’t need to use expensive sake. I use Sho Chiku Bai sake, which can be found at most Asian grocers and some grocery stores.
  • Mirin – This is another sweet rice wine. It helps to balance the salty and savory notes from the other ingredients.
  • Soy sauce – This infuses the dish with another pop of savory flavor.
  • Kosher salt Add to taste. I always use the Diamond Crystal brand.

Garnish

  • Chives, finely chopped
raw mushrooms in a bowl

How To Make Mushroom Polenta

What I love most about this recipe is how each component is absolutely delicious on its own: the mushroom stock, miso polenta, and sautéd soy mushrooms. Keep in mind this recipe yields a hefty portion of mushrooms for two servings. If you prefer a larger serving of polenta, double the polenta recipe.

Shiitake Stock

  1. Rehydrate dried shiitake. Place dried shiitake in a heatproof bowl and add 1 cup of boiling hot water. Cover bowl with a heatproof plate and set aside for 20 minutes.
  2. After 20 minutes, remove mushrooms from the stock and squeeze out any remaining stock the mushrooms have. Trim and discard the stems, then slice the mushrooms into thin slices. Set stock and prepared mushrooms aside.

Miso Polenta

  1. Cook polenta. Place polenta, miso paste and 2½ cup water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking consistently until the mixture begins to slightly thicken. Once the mixture comes to a boil, lower heat to a medium and cook for 25 -30 minutes, stirring every few minutes with a silicone spatula and scraping the bottom to prevent scorching. If the mixture becomes too thick, refer to the ½ cup reserved water. While polenta is cooking, prepare mushrooms.
  2. Add butter and parmesan. Once cooked, add butter and parmesan. Stir until completely mixed.
butter and parmesan added to a pot of polenta

Sautéd Soy Mushrooms

  1. Sauté mushrooms. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add oil and both mushrooms, spreading the mushrooms in an even layer. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until both sides have browned. Season mushrooms with kosher salt then add garlic. Cook for another 2 minutes.
mushrooms added to a pan

2. Add sake and cook for 2 minutes then add soy sauce and mirin. Stir and cook for 1 minutes then add reserved shiitake stock. Bring to a simmer for 1 minute then turn off heat. Adjust seasoning with salt, if necessary.

sautéed mushrooms in a skillet

3. Serve desired amount of polenta. Top with mushrooms and sauce. Finish with chives. Enjoy!

a bowl of mushroom polenta garnished with chives

Tips and Tricks

  • Allow the mushrooms to soak for at least 20-30 minutes. This gives them enough time to fully rehydrate and become plump.
  • The mushrooms should become tender after soaking. If they still feel tough, let them soak a bit longer.
  • Occasionally stir the polenta and scrape the bottom of the pan. This prevents scorching.
  • If the polenta becomes too thick, use the ½ cup of reserved water.
  • When sautéeing the mushrooms, start with a hot pan. Heat oil over medium-high heat before adding the mushrooms. A hot pan helps to achieve a nice sear.
  • Mushroom polenta is best served immediately.
bowl of mushroom polenta

Variations

  • Mushrooms – Use any variety of mushrooms you prefer. I suggest trying cremini mushrooms or portobello mushrooms as substitutes. Just be sure to use dried shiitake mushrooms for the stock as it lends the sautéed mushrooms adds a specific flavor.
  • Stock – Don’t have time to prepare the shiitake stock? Use vegetable broth instead. Add red wine for depth of flavor.
  • Vegan mushroom polenta Use vegan butter instead of dairy. Swap the cheese for nutritional yeast.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is polenta?

Polenta is a classic Italian dish made from cornmeal, coarsely ground yellow corn. For this mushroom polenta recipe, it is prepared like a porridge but you can also grill, bake, or fry polenta. It pairs well with a variety of vegetables and sauces.

Should I sauté mushrooms in oil or butter?

Sauté mushrooms in oil because it has a higher smoking point than butter. Cooking with oil also highlights the natural flavor of the mushrooms. Use butter for a richer, buttery taste.

How do you get the most flavor out of sautéed mushrooms?

Intensify mushroom flavor by cooking them in a mushroom stock. That doubles down on the earthy, savory flavors of the mushrooms without adding sodium or additives.

What wine matches with mushrooms and polenta?

Serve polenta mushrooms with a glass of red wine such as Pinot Noir. The acidity in the wine balances the deep, earthy notes of the mushrooms.

overhead view of a bowl of creamy mushroom polenta

Looking for More Meatless Recipes?

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a bowl of mushroom polenta

Mushroom Polenta

Mushroom polenta is a layered dish of rich, creamy polenta topped with savory sautéed mushrooms. This hot and hearty meatless meal is delicious comfort food that hits all the marks.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 2 people
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian

Equipment

  • Heatproof bowl
  • saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Silcone spatula
  • Cast Iron Skillet

Ingredients

Miso Polenta

  • ½ cup polenta or cornmeal
  • 3 cups water, divided
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • ½ ounce parmiggiano regiano, do not use pre-shredded
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Sautéd Soy Mushrooms

  • 4 pieces dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 10 ounces oyster mushrooms, cleaned and separated
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced, do not used bottled
  • ¼ cup sake
  • 3 tablespoons mirin
  • tablespoons soy sauce
  • kosher salt, to taste Diamond Crystal

Garnish

  • chives, finely chopped

Instructions

Shiitake Stock

  • Rehydrate dried shiitake. Place dried shiitake in a heatproof bowl and add 1 cup of boiling hot water. Cover bowl with a heatproof plate and set aside for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, remove mushrooms from the stock and squeeze out any remaining stock the mushrooms have. Trim and discard the stems, then slice the mushrooms into thin slices. Set stock and prepared mushrooms aside.

Miso Polenta

  • Cook polenta. Place polenta, miso paste and 2½ cup water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking consistently until the mixture begins to slightly thicken. Once the mixture comes to a boil, lower heat to a medium and cook for 25 -30 minutes, stirring every few minutes with a silicone spatula and scraping the bottom to prevent scorching. If the mixture becomes to thick, refer to the ½ cup reserved water. While polenta is cooking, prepare mushrooms.
  • Add butter and parmesan. Once cooked, add butter and parmesan. Stir until completely mixed.

Sautéed Soy Mushrooms

  • Sauté mushrooms. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add oil and both mushrooms, spreading the mushrooms in an even layer. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until both sides have browned. Season mushrooms with kosher salt then add garlic. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add sake and cook for 2 minutes then add soy sauce and mirin. Stir and cook for 1 minutes then add reserved shiitake stock. Bring to a simmer for 1 minute then turn off heat. Adjust seasoning with salt, if necessary.
  • Serve desired amount of polenta. Top with mushrooms and sauce. Finish with chives. Enjoy!
Keywords best polenta recipe, creamy mushroom polenta, Mushroom polenta, oyster mushroom polenta, Polenta and mushrooms, Polenta with mushrooms
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a bowl of mushroom polenta

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jeri-mobley

Hey, I'm Jeri!

At Whisper of Yum, we explore ALL cuisines - comfort foods, classics, elevated originals. If you love food like me, I invite you to settle in to this place, where swoon-worthy food is attainable + inspo for your next meal awaits.

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