Food, Recipes

Healthy Dinner: Vegan Polenta Mushroom Pancake


Healthy Dinner: Vegan Polenta Mushroom Pancake
Sometimes I make a recipe and it’s difficult to focus on writing and uploading the article because I want to keep eating the food. [Steals a few mouthfuls in between typing.] This is one of those. I got the idea for this because I was craving pancakes (see kimchi pancakes, under pancake obsession). Specifically, I was remembering how fun it was getting mushroom pancakes at vegan Korean restaurant Hangawi on 32nd Street last Valentine’s Day. But while I love traditional flour-based pancakes once in a while, it felt a little indulgent for just myself, on a random Friday. So I decided to make a skillet-baked polenta mushroom pancake instead, and it ended up being so incredibly delicious! Polenta gets nice and crispy on the edges while still remaining fluffy inside. How fluffy depends on your preference–make them thinner for more crispiness. The longer you set the pancake in the pan after you pull it out of the oven, the easier it will be to cut into pieces and serve individually.
Polenta, by the way, is a great gluten-free option, plus the skillet baking minimizes the oil by at least half–a win-win. Enjoy! 😀

Vegan Polenta Mushroom Pancake


Prep Time: 05 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
  • 1 cup dry polenta
  • 3 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cap portobello mushroom, sliced
  • 6 white button mushrooms, sliced
  • to taste fresh black pepper
  • handful spinach, trimmed and cut


1. Bring 3 cups water to boil in a medium sauce pan. When it is boiling, add polenta, 1/2 tsp salt, garlic powder, herbs, nutritional yeast, and 2 tsp olive oil. Stir to combine and quickly reduce heat to simmer. Stir in spinach. Cook, stirring and scraping occasionally with a spatula, for 12-15 minutes or so, or until the texture turns pudding-like and polenta pulls away from the sauce pan. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. While the polenta is cooking, bring the rest of olive oil to medium heat in a cast iron skillet. Add mushrooms, salt generously, and cook gently stirring for about 5 minutes. You may also cover with a lid to steam the mushrooms a bit, until they are all tender. Add fresh ground black pepper.
3. Transfer the mushrooms to another plate. Spoon cooked polenta into the cast iron skillet and gently press down with the spatula, pushing the edges up the sides. Top with the mushrooms and press them down into the polenta.
4. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes, until the edges turn crispy.

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Photo: Peaceful Dumpling

Juhea Kim
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Juhea now lives in NYC with her Oreo cookie cat, Zeus. When she is not writing, she enjoys running in Central Park, yoga, and teaching Barre classes. Follow Juhea on Instagram @peacefuldumpling, Google+ and Pinterest.
  • Sandra Diaz

    this was great and easy to make. Next time, I think adding some tamari to the mushrooms, as well as adding some caramelized onions could make this a really special dish. I think you might be able to sub broccoli for the spinach as well. Thank you for sharing!

    • Juhea Kim

      Excellent ideas, Sandra! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I was really debating about adding caramelized onions, just as you said–and the reason I didn’t might just be because caramelizing takes quite a bit more time! (had no patience and way too much hunger)

      • Sandra Diaz

        I am actually making this again tonight for friends and am going to add red bell pepper and the onions. A tip: since I love having caramelized onions around I make it easy by using a slow cooker. Chop the onions up, fill up your slow cooker (I have a small one so 2 medium sized onions does the trick) and then 8 hours later, you have a whole bunch of yummy caramelized onions. Thank you again, Juhea!

        • Juhea Kim

          wow, didn’t know you could use slow cooker to make caramelized onions! enjoy your dinner with friends 😀

  • This is such a beautiful dumpling. I love how the mushrooms add texture and bring a rustic element to this dish.

    • Juhea Kim

      thank you Lynn! 😀 “rustic charm” is where it’s at (when it comes to dinners!)

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