Cheesy Jalapeño Polenta Cakes With Balsamic Mushrooms (GF Vegan)

April 19, 2022
The perfect appetizer, simple to prepare but visually elegant and complex on the palate. The final touch of "herb of grace" is compelling and transportive with its bittersweet, citrus tones. Showstoppers can sometimes be simple. Let's get cracking.
cheesy polenta cakes with balsamic mushrooms in a blue dish

Cheesy Jalapeño Polenta Cakes With Balsamic Mushrooms (GF Vegan)

utensils YIELDS 4 portions
herb graphic for recipe card
  • Polenta Cakes
  • 200g polenta
  • 20g jalapeños
  • 20g yeast
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 6g salt
  • Balsamic Mushrooms
  • 200g button mushrooms
  • 7.5ml balsamic vinegar
  • 4g salt
  • 5g yeast
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • Garnish
  • a few sprigs herb of grace
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1. Simmer 1.5 cups of water on the stove.

2. Add polenta and cook until soft and dried out.

3. We are not looking for porridge but a cakey texture.

4. Transfer into a heatproof bowl and add finely chopped jalapeño, yeast, salt and olive oil.

5. Mix well then press into a lined, rectangular mold until flat (1.5cm/ .60 inch width) and even.

6. Bake at 200°C/ 414°F for 20 minutes.

7. Once cooled, cut into 5 cm squares and set aside.

Balsamic Mushrooms

1. Evenly chop the mushrooms and sauté for no more than 4 minutes on medium heat with the salt and balsamic vinegar.

2. Remove from heat and stir in yeast. (prep this step just before serving)


1. As in the picture, find a serving bowl that is a nice color contrast to the polenta.

2. Place 4 slices of polenta one on top of the other, with the next layer balancing on the edge of the last one.

3. Spoon a line of balsamic mushrooms on top.

4. Garnish with herb of grace.

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Photo: Prashantha Lachanna

Prashantha Lachanna hails from the sunny east coast of South Africa, a warm and friendly city called Durban. She grew up with big, slobbery dogs, loved weeding her Mother's garden in her pajamas with sleepy dust in her eyes and could lift the front of her Father's car clear off the ground by the age of 14. Now though, she prefers lifting cups of tea to her lips, writing menus and meandering through the thoroughly dazzling, labyrinthine alleys of Taipei where she is a permanent resident. She works as a chef and teacher and owns a vegan cheese and chocolate company.


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