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Golden Polenta with Cannellini Beans and Mushroom Sage Gravy {vegan and gluten-free}

Drizzle cooked corn polenta with olive oil and bake until almost crisp, then top the golden little squares with something really delicious like a creamy vegan mushroom sauce and tender-smooth protein-rich white beans, and you’ve got this golden polenta with cannellini beans and mushroom sage gravy! 

Golden Polenta with Cannellini Beans and Mushroom Sage Gravy | Letty's Kitchen

The veggie gravy features sautéed meaty umami mushrooms, sweet onions, garlic and gently pungent sage.  To that, stir in vegetable broth, creamy sweet sesame tahini and the cannellini beans. Ta-da–you’ve made an aromatic vegan gravy, a savory sauce that’s as delicious with mashed potatoes as it is with polenta! Last Thanksgiving my niece make the mushroom gravy to go with our vegan mashed potatoes.   

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First cook the polenta using one of the methods below, Instant Pot, microwave, stove-top or oven. Once cooked, the hot polenta cornmeal mush is spread quite thinly in the pan. As soon as the polenta is firm and set, you can cut it into the squares.

If you want to prep ahead, a pan of cooked polenta keeps for several days refrigerated. Also, instead of cooking your own, you can substitute sliced pre-cooked polenta, the kind that comes in the tubes, even though homemade polenta is easy to make and is sooo much more flavorful. 😉

polenta before baking for Golden Polenta with Cannellini Beans and Mushroom Sage Gravy | Letty's Kitchen

When you are ready to serve this dish, brush the polenta squares with olive oil and bake in a hot oven until golden around the edges.

While the polenta bakes, make the mushroom gravy with sesame tahini and beans. The rich seasoned gravy with crisped baked polenta squares makes an amazingly simple vegan-happy feast!

Golden Polenta with Cannellini Beans and Mushroom Sage Gravy | Letty's Kitchen

Golden Polenta with Cannellini Beans and Mushroom Sage Gravy kitchen notes:

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  • Nutritional yeast adds vegan cheesy nutty taste. If you wish, stir in 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese instead.
  • Sage: You can substitute 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning or 2 teaspoons rubbed sage for the fresh sage. (Dried sage loses flavor potency quickly so make sure yours is less than 6 months old.)
  • Make sure to buy whole grain polenta, not the instant kind. Look for both polenta cornmeal and nutritional yeast in bulk bins at natural food stores. Or you can order them online through my highlighted Amazon links.
  • Vegetable broth: Vegetable broth cubes or powder are great pantry items to keep on hand. Really, when a recipe calls for vegetable broth—it’s what I use.
  • This Vegan Shepherd’s Pie features a similar mushroom gravy without the cannellini beans.

How to cook polenta cornmeal or cornmeal grits:

Have you always avoided cooking polenta from scratch? The second you find out it has to be cooked and stirred for 45 minutes, do you turn the page? Yeah, me too. With an Instant Pot pressure cooker or microwave oven, making polenta is quick and easy! In like 15 minutes!

  • **** Whichever way you cook your polenta, before it cools, pour the soft hot mush into the oiled baking sheet and spread into an even layer. It will be a bit less than ¼-inch thick. Cover and chill until firm. A pan of cooked polenta like this will keep for several days refrigerated.
  • For Instant Pot pressure cooked polenta: Put the vegetable broth and water, polenta, olive oil, and salt in the Instant Pot. Do not stir. Lock lid. Sent the top Vent to seal. Cook on Porridge setting with time adjusted to 7 minutes. Natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then vent to release the pressure completely.
  • For microwave polenta: Combine the water, vegetable broth, salt, polenta and the olive oil in a microwave-proof bowl. Cover and cook on highest power for five minutes. Stir, cover again and cook for another five minutes. Stir in the nutritional yeast, cover and cook for three more minutes.
  • For stovetop polenta: Bring 2 cups water and 2 cups veggie broth to a boil in a medium-size heavy sauce pan over high heat. Add the salt and olive oil. Slowly pour cornmeal into the hot liquid, stirring with a wire whisk or wooden spoon. In 2 to 3 minutes, when the polenta begins to thicken, reduce heat to low. Cook for at least 45 minutes, giving it a stir every 5 minutes or so. When it is very thick, stir in the nutritional yeast.
  • Here’s a recipe for oven roasted polenta.

Other ways to serve polenta:

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Nutrition Facts
Golden Polenta with Cannellini Beans and Mushroom Sage Gravy
Amount Per Serving
Calories 240 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 632mg27%
Potassium 291mg8%
Carbohydrates 34g11%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 180IU4%
Vitamin C 1.8mg2%
Calcium 51mg5%
Iron 1.8mg10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This recipe was originally posted in October 2016.

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