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Polenta with Mushroom Ragu

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  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan


This creamy miso polenta with mushroom ragu is fancy enough for guests, yet doable on a weeknight.



For the Polenta

  • One 13-ounce can light unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup medium- or coarse-ground polenta (not “quick-cooking”)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 tablespoons white miso
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

For the Ragu

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red or yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, sliced
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine, like pinot noir or malbec
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes (about half a standard can)
  • Fresh parsley or basil, for serving (optional)


  1. Start the polenta. In a large high-sided saucepan, combine 1 can coconut milk, 2 1/2 cups water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover, bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to low. While continually whisking, slowly stream in the polenta and whisk until no lumps remain. Cover tightly with a lid and simmer gently until a creamy porridge forms, whisking every 3 to 5 minutes to keep it from sticking to the bottom. It should take 35 to 45 minutes total. Polenta is done when it no longer tastes gritty or chalky; if it starts to get too thick, add a bit more water.
  2. Meanwhile, start the ragu. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Cook until the vegetables are soft and browned around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes, resisting the urge to stir too often.
  3. To the veg, add 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon thyme or oregano, 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional), 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Cook for 30 seconds more.
  4. Add 1/3 cup wine and simmer for 2 minutes. Then stir in 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes, cover tightly with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Finish the polenta: in the last 5 minutes of cooking, whisk in 1 cup corn, 2 tablespoons miso, and 1/2 teaspoon coarse pepper. Season with more salt, if needed.
  6. To serve, divide the polenta among bowls, top with the ragu, and sprinkle with herbs. Serve immediately.


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
  • Calories: 380
  • Fat: 13.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 52.2 g
  • Fiber: 7.4 g
  • Protein: 8.5 g

Keywords: polenta, mushrooms, red wine, ragu