Am I allowed to sigh because it’s Monday? We had a great weekend, and I don’t want to be at work today!
The weekend was full of relaxing, bike riding, dog walking, throwing the tennis ball, pheasant hunting, couch napping, and lots and lots of cooking and eating.
I love the extra time I have during the weekends to cook huge, tasty meals. This weekend, I made a delicious rice salad, roasted potatoes, and sauteed squash, among many other dishes. And to finish off the feast, I baked sweet and tart vegan whoopie pies for dessert!
In a perfect world, it would be great to throw dinners like that together during the week, but I normally just can’t find the time.
For our regular weeknight dinners, I usually have less than an hour to throw something together when I get back from my run or bike ride after work.
This may sound like plenty of time, but when you try to make it look nice and take photos after cooking, it can feel a bit rushed.
The beauty of this meal is that the cornmeal only needs about five minutes of steady stirring, after which you can cover it and stir just every ten minutes or so. No constant stirring and standing over the stove for a long period!
It’s foolproof and definitely delicious!Print
This creamy polenta is so easy to make. Serve with mushrooms sauteed in sherry and fresh herbs for a hearty vegan dinner.
For the Polenta:
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons vegan margarine (Earth Balance is my preferred brand)
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
For the Mushrooms:
- 1 pound small baby bella mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup cooking sherry
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Polenta:
- Bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium-sized pot. Whisk gently while adding the cornmeal in a steady stream. Turn the heat to medium and continue stirring until the cornmeal has thickened substantially, about 5-7 minutes. You should be able to scrape it away from the bottom of the pan for a second before it falls back together.
- Turn the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook the cornmeal for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. The stirring is important to cook the mixture evenly without burning it.
- Remove from the heat and add the margarine and nutritional yeast, then stir until combined.
For the Mushrooms:
- While the polenta is cooking, wash and quarter the mushrooms. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until they begin to release their moisture, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the sherry and herbs, stir well, and let cook until most of the moisture has boiled off, about 4-5 minutes. Stir every now and then.
- When the mushrooms are done, add some freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve the polenta and top with mushrooms and some extra fresh herbs.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Comfort Food
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Vegan
Keywords: polenta, cornmeal, mushrooms, herbs, vegan, gluten-free
Vegan Comfort Food in Less Than One Hour
Crunched for time to make dinner on a busy weeknight?
You really need to try this creamy vegan polenta, topped with herbed baby bellas sauteed to perfection. Everything cooks in less than an hour, and you don’t need to stand over your stovetop for the entire time.
So go change out of your work clothes, open a bottle of wine, and stir the pot every 10 minutes – you deserve to relax while dinner is cooking!
If you make this and love it, share it with your friends, and send us a message in the comment section below with your rating. We’d love to know how the recipe turned out for you.
Photos by Raquel Smith, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 13, 2014. Last updated: July 14, 2021 at 16:01 pm. With additional writing and editing by Nikki Cervone.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Raquel Smith
Raquel is a whole foods enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, and a dog lover. She works by day at Food Blogger Pro and formerly maintained her food blog "My California Roots" (now merged into Foodal).