Mushrooms Star in This Polenta Dish

This hearty, comforting, umami-rich dish is perfect for these early spring evenings when you want something warm and filling. It's packed with mushrooms, which I love for so many reasons, including:

  • They add an amazing woodsy, savory flavor to any dish.
  • They have a hearty, meaty texture so they can be used as a replacement or partial substitution for meat in many dishes.
  • They are versatile. Whether sautéed or raw, they go well in stir-fries, omelets, pizzas, pastas and salads. And, of course, sautéed with shallots and thyme and served atop creamy polenta!
  • They are low in calories and provide nutrients including B vitamins (which help produce energy), selenium (an antioxidant), potassium (contributes to healthy blood pressure) and copper (helps produce red blood cells). And, depending on whether the mushroom was exposed to UV light, mushrooms contain bone-health-promoting vitamin D.

Our favorite mushrooms are shitake and oyster, which tend to be on the pricier side, but worth the extra money if you're looking for a strong flavor. In this recipe, sautéed mushrooms and white beans are served atop creamy polenta, but you could substitute farro, quinoa, millet or another whole grain if you prefer. 

Creamy Polenta with Sautéed Mushrooms, White Beans and Parmesan Tweet this

Recipe by Jennifer Shea Rawn, MS, MPH, RD


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces shitake mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Marsala cooking wine
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock, divided
  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 15½-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, shaved
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat until glistening. Add shallots and sauté 2 minutes.
  2. Add mushrooms and sauté 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned.
  3. Add thyme leaves and Marsala wine and sauté an additional 2 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.
  4. Meanwhile, bring 3 cups vegetable stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Combine corn meal and remaining 1 cup stock in a small bowl and stir. Add cornmeal mixture to boiling stock and stir constantly until it thickens, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in butter.
  5. Pour cornmeal polenta into serving dish. Top with cannellini beans (they can be room temperature), sautéed mushrooms, shaved Parmesan and freshly ground pepper. Serves 6.
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Jennifer Shea Rawn
Jennifer Shea Rawn, MS, MPH, RD, is a registered dietitian and nutrition communications expert based in Cape Cod, Mass. Read her blog, and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.