Posted by Megan | Budget, Budget & Quick, Dinner, Vegetarian

Oh hey there hearty, healthy meal. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen the likes of you. While we’re getting out of the warm, cozy meal season, there are still some cool spring evenings where a dish like this is appropriate. As I sit on my back deck with a heavy sweater on typing this up, I’m starting to think making this dinner tonight wouldn’t have been a bad idea. Watching the sun set, drinking some wine, all while taking in the chill of evening coming in off the water, a warm bowl of polenta and veggies sounds awesome. C’est la vie. Maybe next time. But for you out there who read this blog, you can return to this recipe at any point in the year to find a comforting, budget-friendly dish. This could easily act as the inspiration for other similar dishes, including different veggies and sauces, all dolloped over a heaping bowlful of polenta. Not convinced yet? I’ll let the pictures do the talking from here.

Cooking Notes: Our polenta took 20-25 minutes to thicken up…perhaps I simmered it on too low of a temp? Just let it cook longer if it’s not looking 100% after the first 15 minutes. I also recommend whisking it, to help alleviate chunks. Personally, I would skip out on the marinara sauce – I didn’t have it the second night and thought the whole bowl tasted better, but that may just be me.

Mushroom Polenta Bowls (adapted from Budget Bytes; serves 4)
3 cups veggie broth
1 cup water
1 cup cornmeal
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
8 oz. baby portobello mushrooms
1/4 tsp dried thyme
8 oz. frozen chopped spinach
1 cup marinara sauce
2 oz. feta cheese
S&P, to taste


Bring 3 cups of veggie broth to a boil in a pot. Stir together the cornmeal and one cup of water, then pour into the boiling broth. Stir the mixture and allow it to come back up to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low, place a lid on top, and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until very thick. Whisk occasionally, to avoid chunks forming.

Mince the garlic and slice the mushrooms. Add the olive oil, mushrooms, garlic and thyme to a large skillet and saute over medium heat until the mushrooms have gone limp. Season the mushrooms with S&P. Remove the mushrooms from the skillet, leaving the liquid behind. Add the frozen spinach. Saute the spinach until heated through, then season lightly with S&P. Spoon one cup of polenta into each bowl, then top with 1/4 cup warmed marinara sauce. Divide the mushrooms and spinach between the four bowls, then crumble 1/2 oz. of feta over each. Serve warm.

Recipe: Budget Bytes: Portobello Polenta Bowls

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