creamy polenta & mushrooms

creamy polenta and mushrooms / @loveandlemons

I’m short for words today… we’re in Chicago visiting my family this week, and I’m making a point to spend less time in front of the computer. Sometimes it’s just time to put the electronics away… to cut the habit of looking at your iphone every few minutes and relax a bit, you know?

creamy polenta and mushrooms / @loveandlemons

We made this warm and cozy meal last week with one of our favorite foods – mushrooms. It’s pretty simple… creamy polenta, chickpeas and a mix of sauteéd mushrooms & tarragon. They have these fancy ones right now at Whole Foods that are amazing, and more importantly – on sale. I just loved combining the texture of the oyster mushrooms with the tiny shimejis (and a few lesser expensive cremini’s to get more bang for my mushroom buck).

Topped these with just a bit of asiago cheese and popped them under the broiler for just a few minutes. A warm yet bright meal… pretty much the opposite of what it looks like outside the window here right now. Brr.

creamy polenta and mushrooms / @loveandlemons creamy polenta and mushrooms / @loveandlemons creamy polenta and mushrooms / @loveandlemons

creamy polenta & mushrooms
Serves: I filled 6 mini-ramekins as side dishes. Recipe serves about 3 as a main course.
for the polenta:
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter (or vegan earth balance)
  • ¼ cup grated asiago cheese (optional), plus extra to go on top
  • salt, pepper
for the mushrooms:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 cups mixed mushrooms, (whatever kinds you like) coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup chickpeas, cooked & drained
  • ½ tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon
  • ¼ cup chopped chives
  • salt, pepper
  1. Make the polenta: Bring 3 cups of water to a boil with a few big pinches of salt. Gradually add the polenta while whisking. Continue whisking for a few minutes until smooth & not lumpy.
  2. Continue cooking the polenta for 20-30 minutes, whisking often.
  3. Turn heat off, whisk in the garlic, olive oil, butter, salt, pepper & cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.
  4. Cook the mushrooms: In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add mushrooms and a few pinches of salt. Let the mushrooms cook for a few minutes, then add the chickpeas and the soy sauce.
  5. Cook until golden brown (8-10 minutes or so), stirring only occasionally.
  6. Add the sherry vinegar, stir, and let cook for 30 seconds or a minute longer.
  7. Remove from heat, stir in tarragon and chives. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  8. (A very optional step - make a quick pan sauce by pouring a glug of white wine into the still-warm pan the mushrooms cooked in. Let it bubble up and cook off for a few seconds and add a little pat of butter. Stir that into the finished mushrooms or pour over the final dish)
  9. Scoop the polenta into ramekins and top with the mushrooms & chickpeas.
  10. optional step - top with a little bit more grated cheese and place under the broiler for a few minutes until bubbly.
Feel free to serve in bowls or plates, the individual cocottes are cute but not completely necessary.

A note about polenta - I used the Bob's Red Mill brand but I ground it in a coffee grinder to make the polenta more smooth and less course. If you use it right out of the bag, it's a little grittier... which is still fine and tasty if you're after that texture.

Pictured above: Staub Mini Cocottes in Graphite Grey

This post is sponsored by Whole Foods, thank you for supporting the sponsors that support Love & Lemons.


  1. I hope you have good time with your family, you need some R&R. Simply love everything about this shoot and the meal looks mouthwatering.

    • jeanine from on said:

      thanks Belinda!

  2. D on said:

    Looks good, but I’m confused by the recipe. When do you add the mushrooms to the polenta? Did you bake the combined polenta-and-mushrooms in the mini Staub pots — or did you just use them as bowls to serve?

    • jeanine from on said:

      Hi D,

      I just updated the recipe to include the steps I left out… I put them in the mini pots just to serve, but I did pop them under the broiler for a few minutes at the very end (which is optional). You could serve this on plates just as easily.

  3. Great minds think alike! I just made creamy polenta with mushrooms yesterday! So good. Enjoy speeding time in Chicago.

    • jeanine from on said:

      first thing I thought of making once it got cold out :)

  4. Haley - egginon from on said:

    This looks so good. Perfect for a cold winter night!

  5. Quyen from on said:

    Yum! This is actually a classic Thanksgiving dish in our household. I cook my mushrooms low and slow with some stock and red wine. It is a perfect veggie side dish!

  6. Maria Tadic from on said:

    This looks so good! I love looking at these pictures – so well taken! And I love those little Staub pots. Super cute!

  7. This looks so delicious. I love mushrooms and with polenta makes them even better. And I just love your photography. So beautiful. Enjoy the time away from the computer.

  8. Margaret on said:

    This sounds delicious! I am curious… when do you add the minced garlic?

    • jeanine from on said:

      Hi Margaret,

      I added the garlic with the olive oil, butter, etc. Thanks for pointing that out, I just fixed the recipe to include that in the instructions

  9. Ondina Maria from on said:

    I saw this recipe during the afternoon, got home and cooked something very similiar. Thank you so much for the inspiration, tonight’s dinner was delicious :)

    • jeanine from on said:

      so glad to inspire!!

  10. Kathryn from on said:

    Such beautiful pictures and such a lovely, comforting dish at this time of year.

  11. Christina from on said:

    Gorgeous – perfectly hearty for this time of year. I wish Alberta had Whole Foods. No idea where I’d find mushrooms like those here. Your photos, as always, are outstanding. Please, please, please do a post about how you shoot such clear, light shots! Especially at dinner time when it is dark out.. well, it is up here!

    • jeanine from on said:

      Ha, well we did this one on a Sunday afternoon before the sun went down :)

  12. Tieghan from on said:

    Mmmm! Nothing in more cozy than creamy polenta. Love the mushrooms!

    Have a great and relaxing time in Chicago!

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  14. Christina from on said:

    I have yet to try polenta but think this may be the perfect recipe to try it with!
    Looks so good!

  15. Sini from on said:

    This dish shouts COMFORT FOOD! Oh how I would love to have a bowl of this goodness in front of me right now.

  16. Lauren from on said:

    I live in Oklahoma and we’re supposed to get hit with a huge winter storm. If I can brave a trip to the store in the cold and snow I know what recipe I will be making :-)

    • jeanine from on said:

      hope you’re braving the cold, I can’t believe the weather down there!

  17. Pang from on said:

    This recipe could be the introduction to introduce my in-laws (Russian) to wild mushroom and polenta. They once told me that they did not like polenta, but I am pretty sure that your recipe can win them over. :)

    • jeanine from on said:

      Hi Pang, hope they like it!

  18. I s a b e l l e from on said:

    Sounds delicious, and looks beautiful!!
    I really want to try it out :-)

    Isabelle @ Head Red + Blondi

  19. Jesse on said:

    This looks delicious! Are there any other herb combinations you would suggest? I don’t have any tarragon…

    • jeanine from on said:

      Hi Jesse, Rosemary or sage would also be delicious. Add them earlier in the process since they’re heartier herbs… Basil would also work in place of the tarragon.

  20. Adele on said:

    I like to sauté mushrooms with some shallots and thyme. I also like to add chanterelles to risotto.

    Your recipe looks terrific.

  21. Erin on said:

    This looks AMAZING. Im a sucker for some fresh mushrooms. My favorite is in a frittata with onions spinach and peppers (never forget the hot sauce!)

  22. Melissa on said:

    Oh no! I have everything to make this except for the sherry vinegar. Any suggestions as to what I can substitute for it? Or can I omit it? Thank you for the recipe!

  23. maya from on said:

    sorry to be a nag, but i have to ask a totally unrelated question – did you white paint that gorgeous la cocote white yourself? or did it come this way? :)

    • jeanine from on said:

      Oh no worries, they came that way – the color is called graphite.

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  26. Suzy on said:

    I’ve just tried the recipe and it was delicious. I didn’t have the sherry vinegar but no worries :) my husband really liked it. Delicious and easy. Thank you!

    • jeanine from on said:

      glad you liked it!

  27. Ethel on said:

    I just made this and it was delicious!! Lazy person question: the handful of times I’ve made polenta, I’ve only cooked it about five minutes (once it turns thick), and while I cooked mine for about 20 for this recipe, it seemed pretty much the same texture. Should there be a discernible difference in the texture when it’s cooked 20-30 minutes? Either way, thank you for the recipe; it was scrumptious and I will definitely make it again!

  28. Pascale from on said:

    Really lovely recipe. It reminds me of my grandmother and a polenta dish she used to make. Of course anything with mushrooms is divine. Thank you for this scrumptious treat.

  29. Chantelle Brown on said:

    This was so good! I didn’t have tarragon so I made a herb mixture of thyme, oregano, and sage from my yard to the mushrooms instead. The ingredients list said shallot so I minced that up but then couldn’t find where in the mushroom directions to add that so I just sauteed it for a couple of mins first thing. Thanks for the yummy meal!

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  40. Sara on said:

    Hi. This looks amazing. I’m using your recipe as my first attempt at cooking polenta. Question though.. do you simmer the polenta once adding to the boiled water? I’m assuming yes, but since I’ve never made this, I thought I should ask. The instructions state add polenta to boiling water and continue to cook for 20-30 minutes.. just not sure at what temp. Thanks for the inspiration here!

    • jeanine from on said:

      Yep – thanks for bringing this up – I’ll clarify it in the recipe. Simmer on low, stirring pretty often (you want to make sure it doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan). Hope you like!

      • Sara on said:

        I loved!! Thanks so much for your quick reply :) One other thing I was wondering is when to add the shallot. It is listed under ingredients, but the instructions have no mention of it. I added it when I put the mushrooms in. Whatever way it turned out delicious!!

        • jeanine from on said:

          oops! someone else brought that up, I had thought I had fixed that – you did it right – I add it with the mushrooms. Glad you liked it!

  41. Phyllis on said:

    Hi, I was trying to figure out how I could make my polenta creamy without adding a lot of olive oil/butter, and I came across your recipe. I used an Italian polenta and used your suggestion of grinding it in a Vitamix which I think helped, but there were some problems::
    1.A “few teaspoons of salt” is far too much. I added 1 1/2 teaspoons and it was salty enough.
    2. The classic way to make polenta is by adding it to lukewarm water to avoid lumps. I tried your instructions to add it to boiling water, and it was full of lumps. I used a whisk, and tried really hard, but I couldn’t get them all out; the only thing that helped was the back of a wooden spoon. I also had to add about a half cup more of water.
    3, The polenta itself was only enough for 3 people. The quantities you mention might be good for small individual pots, but not if you use the kind of soup bowl that I used. I’d start with 1 1/2 cups of polenta and add another 1 1/2 cups of water. I served it differently – the polenta in the center of a large flat-bottomed soup bowl with the sauteed mushrooms on top, a slice of goat feta, 3 thickish slices of fresh yummy tomatoes, and green beans (sauteed in the same frying pan as the mushrooms around the bowl. It was lovely and we cleaned our plates!

    • jeanine from on said:

      Thanks for your suggestions – glad you liked it in the end…

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  43. This looks incredible! I’m going to use your recipe as inspiration for a dish I’ll make for tomorrow’s dinner. Thanks for sharing!

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