January 19, 2015

Vegan Polenta Bowl

Weeknight comfort food! Cheesy, creamy, vegan polenta topped with roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. 

Today marks the third week of my “weeknight dinner” challenge and while we haven’t been perfect, I am enjoying the challenge of creating a unique weekly menu each Sunday night.

This week I’ve planned out these polenta bowls (can’t.stop.making.them.), quinoa salad, and black bean tacos. All require minimal prep and can be ready within 30 minutes of walking in the door after work, which is how I define a weeknight dinner success.

Weeknight comfort food! Cheesy polenta bowl topped with roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. Vegan and Gluten-Free. | www.delishknowledge.com

Polenta might be one of the most unassuming foods out there. Ground corn, cooked in milk or water, and served creamy, baked, grilled or fried.  But, for anyone who has ever tasted polenta, you know this is the real deal. Hearty, stick-to-your ribs yumminess that’s the perfect canvas for just about anything you wanna throw its way. In this case, roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. 

Weeknight comfort food! Cheesy polenta bowl topped with roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. Vegan and Gluten-Free. | www.delishknowledge.com

As kids, my mom used to make us polenta on special occasions. While my sisters loved the fried variety, I wanted it soft and mushy with homemade spaghetti sauce topped with loads of parmesan cheese. Simple perfection.

I used to think it was such a treat to get polenta bowls for dinner. Now I know that my mom was a genius. Polenta, for all its deliciousness, is really, really cheap. Like pennies per serving cheap. Topped with roasted vegetables, you are getting a healthy, filling dinner that’s ready to serve in less than 30 minutes.  Did I mention it costs less than a dollar per serving?! Now that’s a happy meal.

Weeknight comfort food! Cheesy polenta bowl topped with roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. Vegan and Gluten-Free. | www.delishknowledge.com

Like the rustic nature of polenta, I wanted to keep the rest of the bowl simple. This time of year, I think I end up roasting just about every vegetable that comes into my kitchen. Not only do most vegetables taste delicious roasted (cauliflower —> swoon), but it takes very little effort to prepare.

Do a quick chop, toss with a smidge of olive oil and salt & pepper, and roast away. During the winter when most fresh tomatoes taste like water, I stick to the cherry or grape variety. While I don’t love them raw, I devour them like candy after they’ve been roasted.

Polenta bowls for the win! If you’re anything like me, you’re going to wanna face plant right into this giant bowl of creamy, comfort food goodness.

Weeknight comfort food! Cheesy polenta bowl topped with roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. Vegan and Gluten-Free. | www.delishknowledge.com

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

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Weeknight comfort food! Cheesy polenta bowl topped with roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. Vegan and Gluten-Free. | www.delishknowledge.com

Vegan Polenta Bowl

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3-4
  • Category: dinner, main, entree, pasta
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Weeknight comfort food! Cheesy, creamy, vegan polenta topped with roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. 


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3-4
  • Category: dinner, main, entree, pasta
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3-4
  • Category: dinner, main, entree, pasta
  • Cuisine: Italian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 10 oz. mushrooms (1 pack) thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning (thyme, oregano, basil)
  • Polenta: 3 cups soymilk
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 1 tbsp. dairy-free butter (I like Earth Balance brand)
  • 2 tbsp. [url:1]nutritional yeast[/url] (optional but gives great ‘cheese’ like-flavor)
  • Fresh basil for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Toss the halved cherry tomatoes and mushrooms slices with tsp. olive oil. Season with Italian seasoning and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Roast until tender and tomatoes have burst, about 20 minutes.
  4. Make the polenta: Heat broth and milk over medium heat.
  5. When bubble start to surface, gently whisk in cornmeal and stir together.
  6. Reduce heat to low and let cook until thick, stirring often, about 20 minutes.
  7. Stir in butter, nutritional yeast (if using) and pinch salt/pepper to taste.
  8. To serve, scoop the polenta into bowls and top with roasted vegetables.
  9. Garnish liberally with torn basil. If you like a little kick, add a pinch of red pepper flakes!

did you make this?

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

30 comments
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    1. Julie Dufour
      March 3, 2017 AT 1:30 pm

      Have you to make it with coconut instead of soy milk? I am trying to use up what’s in my freeze!

      1. Alex
        March 5, 2017 AT 4:55 am

        Hi Julie, I usually cook with soy milk as I don’t think it imparts another taste like almond and coconut often do. I love coconut milk in many dishes, but it usually has a faint coconut taste. If you try it and it works- let me know! Thanks, Alex

    2. Heather
      February 10, 2017 AT 7:44 pm

      This was absolutely delicious. Used nutritional yeast and didn’t miss the dairy at all. Thank you!

      1. Alex
        February 13, 2017 AT 7:38 am

        Awesome! So glad you liked it!

    3. Tabitha Hyatt
      August 3, 2016 AT 10:15 pm

      Super easy, quick and delicious! I had some store-bought pre-prepared polenta in the cabinet I used. I will definitely make this again, but make the polenta homemade next time. The sodium content in the prepared polenta is insane!

      1. Alex @ DelishKnowledge
        August 5, 2016 AT 2:16 pm

        Yeah, that’s true! Glad you liked it!

    4. Katie @ Produce on Parade
      January 21, 2015 AT 11:41 am

      Oh yum! I adore polenta as well. My own mother never liked the stuff so the first time I had it was like 5 years ago!! I can’t get enough now! 🙂 Great recipe, Alex!

      1. DK
        January 22, 2015 AT 8:53 pm

        Isn’t it the best! I cannot get enough of it! Thanks for the sweet comment!

    5. Deryn @ Running on Real Food
      January 20, 2015 AT 9:55 pm

      I don’t think I’ve ever cooked with polenta..it’s about time I start! This looks great! Super simple too! Thank you 🙂

    6. Jessica DeGore RD
      January 20, 2015 AT 8:36 am

      Polenta is definitely a favorite of mine…and I usually have roasted veggies leftover during the week to throw together with eggs, pasta, and now- Polenta!

    7. Laura
      January 20, 2015 AT 8:02 am

      This looks awesome! I have always just baked polenta after cooking it on the stove, but this bowl idea looks great. I love bowls!!

    8. jillconyers
      January 20, 2015 AT 3:16 am

      Love polenta and I haven’t made any in forever. Time to change that. Pinning for menu planning.

    9. Arman @ thebigmansworld
      January 20, 2015 AT 12:47 am

      Wow, no joke I ate polenta for the first time this weekend and LOVED it- It reminded me of cream of wheat! Anyway, I’m a huge meat eater but I’d go vegan for this! Pinned!

    10. Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits
      January 19, 2015 AT 11:18 pm

      I absolutely LOVE polenta, and this reminds me how much I need to make it again! Also, I totally agree with you that the tomatoes taste like water at this time of the year! Can’t wait til summer again…