Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Polenta From Love & Lemons

Every week, we’re spotlighting a different food blogger who’s shaking up the blogosphere with tempting recipes and knockout photography. Here, Jeanine Donofrio of Love & Lemons offers a hearty, vegetarian-friendly take on polenta to warm your bones.


Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Polenta
Serves 2

This is a total mushroom lover’s comfort meal: creamy polenta and an herby sauté of mushrooms and onions. Pour a glass of red wine, and we’re in heaven.

Any mushrooms you like will work here. I love to wait until I see some great-looking chanterelles or oyster mushrooms at my market, but they can often be pricey, so I like to mix the “fancier” mushrooms with less-expensive crimini mushrooms.

For the polenta:

1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup quick-cooking polenta
1 cup soy milk (or neutral flavored milk of your choice)
1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 to 2 tsp. salt, to taste
1/2 to 1 cup water, as needed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup grated pecorino (optional—if vegan, omit or substitute with nutritional yeast)

For the mushroom sauté:

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cups mushrooms (I used a mix of chanterelles and criminis)
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. agave, or sugar of your choice
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
Grated pecorino, to taste

Pour vegetable stock and polenta into a medium saucepan, stir to combine, and bring to a gentle boil. Immediately reduce heat to a very low simmer.

Stirring occasionally, continue to add milk gradually as the polenta gets thicker. Add the butter or olive oil, minced garlic, and a few pinches of salt. Continue gradually adding the rest of the milk and then water (as needed) and stirring for up to 45 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as you go. Add grated pecorino if you wish. The polenta is done when it starts pulling away from the sides of the pot.

When the polenta has about 10 minutes left, start the mushroom sauté.

Heat oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add onions, mushrooms, garlic, a few generous pinches of salt, and a grind of pepper. Cook for 5 minutes or until onions and mushrooms are cooked down and caramelized.

Deglaze pan with a splash of balsamic vinegar, add sugar, and sauté for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add fresh thyme leaves.

Plate polenta, topping it with the mushroom sauté. Garnish with grated pecorino (if using), and serve.

More hearty, cold weather recipes:

Sun-dried tomato soup for a burst of summer in the dead of winter

A bright, colorful, lettuce-less winter salad

The prettiest shepherd’s pie you ever did see

What’s your favorite winter meal? Share it below!