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

Drizzle with olive oil, and bake until almost crisp–sounds like a good start, right? Top the golden little squares with something really delicious, whatever your foodie heart desires. Keep going, right? Here’s a seasonal recipe to show you how it’s done. Since we’re well into autumn, this golden polenta with cannellini beans and mushroom sage gravy is just the thing.

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

This is not your usual way to prepare polenta–that’s why it’s kinda fun. The hot cornmeal mush is spread quite thinly in the pan. When it sets up, it’s cut into 3-inch squares. That where the olive oil and baking ‘til golden around the edges comes in. And then there’s the sauce, this creamy dreamy vegan gravy.

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The veggie gravy features umami mushrooms and sweet onions, sautéed with garlic until golden. The finish is simple and easy–gently pungent sage, veggie broth, and sesame tahini. While tahini brings in creaminess, white cannellini beans add rich meatless protein.

Particularly when the whole seasoned combination gets spooned over scrumptious little squares of baked polenta, it turns out to be an amazingly simple vegan-happy feast. Especially this time of year. This savory sage gravy will splash the puddle in a mound of hot roasted garlic mashed potatoes in a big meatless way. Hello holidaze!

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

The polenta. 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. Today your polenta life changes to homemade and easy—with the microwave.

Cornmeal polenta—with minimal stirring. In 15 minutes flat, you’ve got those polenta grains plumped, all tender and hot spread in the pan, and firming in the fridge. (Stovetop polenta takes 30 to 45 minutes of stirring. If you don’t want to use the microwave, follow the kitchen notes below.)

As soon as the polenta is firm, which, because it’s spread only ¼-inch thick, happens in about 30 minutes, you can cut it into the squares. While it’s in the oven, make the gravy. Just like that you have a delightful aromatic dish of golden polenta with cannellini beans and mushroom sage gravy!

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

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

  • Plated appetizer idea: Top just one warm polenta square with about a tablespoon of the beans with gravy. Serve with a sprinkle of parsley.
  • Make ahead: A pan of cooked polenta will keep for several days refrigerated. You can sauté the onions earlier in the day and finish the sauce just before you serve it.
  • 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 and spread into the oiled baking sheet.

Ingredient notes:

  • 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 rubbed sage for the fresh. Know that 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.

Wishing you a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook something seasonal and creamy dreamy!

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Golden Polenta with Cannellini Beans and Mushroom Sage Gravy | Letty's Kitchen
Print
Golden Polenta with Cannellini Beans and Mushroom Sage Gravy
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 
Creamy vegan sage and mushroom gravy can be a delicious starter course too! Top just one warm polenta square with a spoonful of the mushroom and bean gravy. Sprinkle with parsley.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Letty Flatt | Letty's Kitchen
Ingredients
  • 1 cup coarse polenta cornmeal
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (see note)
  • Olive oil to brush the tops of the polenta
  • The gravy:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion , thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 8 ounces sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage (see notes)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 ½ cups cannellini beans or white beans , (one (15-ounce) can, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian leaf parsley
Instructions
  1. Very lightly oil a 12 x 16-inch baking sheet. 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. Quickly pour the soft polenta into the prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer before it cools. It will be a bit less than ¼-inch thick. Cover and chill until firm.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 °F. Turn the polenta out onto a cutting board and cut into 20 portions, approximately 3-inch square. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the cut squares on the parchment and brush them lightly with olive oil. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until you see a hint of golden brown around the thinnest edges. Remove from the oven but keep warm.
  3. While the polenta crisps, make the gravy topping:
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Sauté the onions and mushrooms over medium-high heat, until the onions and mushrooms are just taking on color and the liquid has evaporated. Add the garlic and sage and cook another minute or so. Stir in 3/4 cup of vegetable broth, tahini, beans, and salt, plus about 20 grinds of black pepper. Cook and stir into a thin sauce. This should take less than a minute--resist the impulse to cook it longer as tahini sauces thicken on their own, with time. If needed, stir in 1/4 cup more vegetable broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. To serve: Arrange 3 polenta squares on each plate and top with a generous spoonful of the mushroom and bean gravy. Sprinkle with parsley.
Recipe Notes
  • 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 rubbed sage for the fresh. Know that dried sage loses flavor potency quickly so make sure yours is less than 6 months old.


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