sliced squares of polenta with mushrooms and herbs
Appetizers and Sides

Hearty and Flavorful

Polenta, and cakes made from it, are dishes enjoyed in Italy for centuries—not bad, considering they didn’t have corn until it arrived from the New World in the 1500s. But grains slow simmered into a porridge are a hearty and flavorful dish, especially when combined with mushrooms and a dash of red pepper for spice. The combination of polenta and mushrooms in particular is potent, boosting each other’s antioxidant health benefits. Try this recipe using coarse, stone-ground grits and lemon thyme with a bit of freshly-grated lemon zest for a bright, toothy variation.

Prep Instructions

  • Yield: 8 (1/2 cup) servings

  • Cook Time: 7 minutes

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes

  • Total Time: 12 minutes

Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
  • a pinch nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup polenta, dry


  1. Follow the prep technique next to each ingredient.
  2. In a medium size skillet sauté mushrooms, using water to avoid burning. After mushrooms are cooked, add thyme and garlic; cook until the aroma is released. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil and slowly add the polenta, stirring continuously as it starts to thicken. Add the seasoning and fold in the mushroom mixture.
  3. Remove from heat and serve or place into a shallow dish and refrigerate for later use. After complete cool down you can shape it as desired, sear it, or grill it.

Nutritional Data

Calories: 71.16
Fat: 0.93 g
Saturated Fat: 0.13 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 33.11 mg
Carbohydrates: 14.13 g
Fiber: 1.66 g
Sugars: 0.19 g
Protein: 1.85 g
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