60-Minute Recipes (But totally worth it!)/ Dinner

Mushroom Stew Polenta Bowl

This mushroom stew is rich, flavourful and super simple to prepare. Served over crispy fried polenta triangles, your favourite grain and with a side of greens, this hearty grain bowl has it all!

Vegan mushroom stew with fried polenta in a bowl of rice and greens.

It’s no secret that I love vegan bowl recipes. They’re varied, nutritious, delicious and creative. (They’re also some of the most popular recipes on this blog!).

So ever since I made my breakfast polenta bowl, I’ve been trying to come up with another way to incorporate polenta into a bowl form. Enter the mushroom stew polenta bowl.

Now of course I’m stingy so I don’t buy anything labelled as Italian polenta. Good old yellow cornmeal works just fine for making polenta and is cheaper. (If you’re a stickler for authenticity, read about the difference between polenta vs. cornmeal).

Polenta in a baking dish cut into triangles and ready to be fried.

I also wanted to try a different way to prepare the polenta so I chilled it, cut it into triangles and fried it. Man, it’s delicious served this way! If you’re normally dubious about the porridge-like texture of soft polenta, frying it is the solution. It elevates the sweet corn flavour while giving it a bite and a bit of crunch.

Mushroom stew, or a kind of ragu or ragout, is polenta’s best friend. Mushroom stew is super easy to prepare, literally just throw all the ingredients into a pot and let it simmer. No need to fry off the onions or brown the mushrooms first.

Mushroom stew with fried polenta, mixed rice, steamed Brussels sprouts in a bowl.

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For this vegan mushroom stew I used a mix of white button and baby Portobello mushrooms, but you can use whichever kind you have on hand. They’re stewed in a rich sauce of red wine, tomato and herbs that would be equally delicious served over a bowl of pasta.

To bulk up the bowl a bit I served everything over a bed of mixed rice. I used this whole grain 5 blend from the Bulk Barn but it turned out to be a bit expensive. Feel free to use straight up brown rice or any other grain of your choice (farro would be great to keep with the Italian vibe).

And of course every grain bowl needs something fresh and green. I used steamed spinach and Brussels sprouts (while they’re still in season) but if you don’t like them use broccoli, kale, snow peas or something like that.

Rich and flavourful mushroom stew in a bowl over steamed greens.

Admittedly, this recipe has more steps than the recipes I usually post on this blog. But you’ll be super surprised by how much flavour comes out of this little bowl! I think this mushroom stew would make a great Sunday dinner or a delicious holiday dish that will for sure impress your guests!

Mushroom Stew Polenta Bowl

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 - 5 Cooking Time: 2 hours Total Cost: $11.09 Cost per serving: $2.77


  • For the polenta:
  • 4 cups (1 litre) water - $0.00
  • 1 teaspoon salt - $0.03
  • 1 cup (120 grams) yellow cornmeal - $0.40
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced - $0.04
  • A couple tablespoons of oil for frying - $0.10
  • For the mushroom stew:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil - $0.10
  • 600 grams (21 oz) mixed mushrooms, quartered (I used white button and baby Portobello) - $2.95
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced - $0.14
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced - $0.08
  • 1 teaspoon salt - $0.03
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried) - $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano - $0.10
  • ½ cup (120 ml) red wine - $1.27
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar - $0.12
  • 1 can (6 oz / 170 grams) tomato paste - $0.99
  • ½ cup (120 ml) vegetable stock or water - $0.23
  • For the bowls:
  • 2 cups (200 grams) uncooked rice (or your favourite grain) - $2.31
  • 400 grams (14 oz) Brussels sprouts, halved (or broccoli, kale, peas, etc.) - $1.10
  • 200 grams (7 oz) fresh spinach - $1.00



Bring the water to a boil, add the salt and slowly pour in the cornmeal while whisking. Lower the heat to low and continue whisking for a couple of minutes or until the cornmeal has thickened. Cover the pot and simmer over low for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time.


Lightly grease a medium-sized square or rectangular baking dish (mine measured 20 cm x 15 cm). Mix the minced garlic into the polenta and pour it into the dish. Refrigerate for an hour or until solidified.


Meanwhile prepare the mushroom stew. Heat the oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, garlic, salt, rosemary and oregano. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the wine and vinegar and simmer for a minute to boil off the alcohol. Finally, add the tomato paste and stock. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Feel free to simmer for a bit with the lid off if you want a thicker stew (optional).


Boil the rice and cook the Brussels sprouts and spinach to your liking. I steamed them.


Once the polenta is solid, cut it into squares then cut each square into triangles. Because of the size of my baking dish, my triangles were about 2 cm thick. I prefer my fried polenta quite thin so I cut each triangle in two to get a 1 cm thickness. I ended up with 24 triangles. You can cut them as thick or thin as you like depending on how big they come out of your dish.


Heat a small amount of oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the polenta triangles and fry, flipping gently halfway through, for a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown. Add more oil to the pan as necessary.


To assemble the bowls pile rice on one side and the green on the other. Arrange the fried polenta down the middle and top with the mushroom stew. Serve immediately.

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