This simple recipe is a marriage of two even simpler foods that add up to one flavorful appetizer, main dish, or side.  This fried polenta with sautéed mushrooms dish would be welcome any time, from breakfast to lunch to dinner, and it’s a nice entertaining idea. Also, a great savory fried polenta breakfast!

Platter of Polenta with Sautéed Mushrooms

Precooked Polenta in Tubes

While you can make polenta from scratch, spread it out to cool, cut it into shapes, and fry it up, you can also start with store-bought cooked polenta.  It is available in tubes, sometimes in the refrigerated section (look near the tofu), and also in the pasta section.  Many brands don’t need refrigeration until you open them, so check both places.  I love Melissa’s shelf-stable organic prepared polenta in tubes, which is available in plain, sundried tomato, and Italian herb.

This polenta can be sliced and then browned in a pan on the stove, in the oven, or grilled up.  It is pretty time-consuming to make polenta from scratch, then get it to the place where you can cook it again in slices, so this is a real time saver.

Spooning sauteed mushrooms over fried polenta

Vegetarian or Vegan Polenta With Mushrooms

Whenever I sauté mushrooms, I try to make more than I need for that meal or recipe since leftover sautéed mushrooms are so amazing to have on hand.  You can add them to omelets, sauces, or soups, and use them to top anything from a burger or a steak to these vegetarian bites.  Make sure to allow the mushrooms to sauté long enough that they release all of their liquid and start to caramelize.

If you make your own polenta, or use packaged premade polenta, you can check to see if it’s vegan. If you are looking to keep this dish vegan, just use olive oil instead of butter.

What to Serve with Polenta with Sautéed Mushrooms

This could be part of an assortment of small Italian dishes, such as Salmon and White Bean Bruschetta, Fried Calamari, and Roasted Pepper Crostini with Basil Oil.  It could also kick start a meal, perhaps Creamy Tuscan Salmon or Pork Chops with Italian Salsa Verde.  Or just pair it up with a salad for a light lunch or dinner: try Cherry Tomato Antipasti Salad, or Endive and Radicchio Salad with Fresh Mozzarella, or Spinach Salad with Burrata.

Polenta with Sautéed Mushrooms: A pile of caramelized onions is a perfect topping for this vegetarian dish – great as an appetizer, side, or main course.

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Polenta with Sautéed Mushrooms topped with fresh parsley

Other Polenta Recipes

Garnishing Polenta with Sautéed Mushrooms with freshly chopped parsley

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Polenta with Sautéed Mushrooms

A pile of caramelized onions is a perfect topping for this vegetarian dish – great as an appetizer, side, or main course.
Yield: 6 People
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Diet: Vegetarian


  • 1 tube (1 pound) premade polenta
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided)
  • 1 pound mushrooms (such as morels, porcini, oyster, or plain button or cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced)
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • Handful chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)


  • Unwrap the polenta and slice it into ½-inch slices. Line a plate with paper towels.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place as many of the polenta disks into the pan as will fit in a single layer. Cook without moving them, until they turn golden brown and start to crisp up on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Flip the slices with a spatula, and continue to cook until the second side is browned and slightly crispy, about another 5 minutes.
  • Remove the polenta to the paper towel lined plate. Repeat with another tablespoon of butter and the remaining polenta slices. Add those to the first batch.
  • Meanwhile, in another skillet, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter, then add the mushrooms and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 8 to 10 minutes until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms have turned nicely browned.
  • Spoon the hot sauteed mushrooms over the polenta slices, sprinkle over the parsley and serve warm.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 117kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 261mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 201IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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