Soft Polenta and Mushroom Bowls

PureWow Editors

Most polenta is drowning in butter and cheese. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not exactly health food. So when we discovered Sapana Chandra’s recipe for soft polenta and mushroom bowls from her new cookbook, Plant Power Bowls, we were intrigued.

Instead of finishing the polenta with a boatload of dairy, Chandra stirs in a tablespoon of avocado oil. The results are decadent and a tad creamy—but totally plant-based. Top it off with crispy mushrooms, fresh vegetables and a dollop of basil pesto for a satisfying, nutritious meal.

Polenta and Meatballs



½ teaspoon sea salt

1 cup polenta

1 tablespoon avocado oil


1 tablespoon avocado oil

2 cups chopped mushrooms, such as cremini, portobello or shiitake

Pinch of sea salt

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

For Serving

2½ cups thinly sliced spinach

½ cup diced tomato

2 tablespoons diced red onion

½ cup basil pesto

½ medium lemon, halved


1. Prepare the polenta: In a medium pot, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add the salt. Slowly pour in the polenta while stirring. Add the avocado oil, reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the polenta is soft, 25 to 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make the mushrooms: In a large skillet, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, making sure not to crowd the pan; season with salt and pepper. Cook, undisturbed, until golden brown on one side, 10 to 12 minutes. Toss and continue to cook until golden brown all over, about 5 minutes.

3. Assemble each bowl with half of the polenta, mushrooms, spinach, tomato and onion. Top with a dollop of pesto and garnish with a lemon wedge.