Vegan Seared Garlic-Balsamic Mushrooms with Fresh Thyme & Creamy Polenta (Grits)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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What you see pictured here are actually grits.  Grits are the same as polenta but more coarsely ground.  And – if you are interested, yellow grits have fewer calories than white.  I used Red Mill grits (seen below in a photo I took from Google).


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They cooked up nice & creamy in less than ten minutes.  The polenta I used for my Vegan Creamy Polenta Bowl with Roasted Beets, Toasted Walnuts, Thyme & Balsamic Glaze – seen above – took longer but I cooked that in a slow cooker, so you could argue it was easier.

I really like grits (polenta) in pretty much any form (the soupier cream of wheat style being my favorite) and leftovers bake up will into delicious & guiltless fries (below).

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But – polenta can be served soft & creamy or in harder patties & it can be topped with just about anything.  If you eat seafood – Shrimp & Grits are pretty amazing.  But this dish here is very simple & straight-forward & delicious.  It comes together in the time it takes to cook your grits – and that depends on what brand you buy.

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Vegan Seared Garlic-Balsamic Mushrooms with Fresh Thyme & Creamy Polenta (Grits)

Serves 2


Polenta for 2 (this amount is your call- based on your appetite but know packaging usually defines a serving as smaller than is realistic – so err on the side of making too much & make baked fries out of the leftovers)

Mushrooms – I’d go with 8oz per person because mushrooms really shrink – sliced

Olive oil

1 or more garlic cloves (depending entirely on your taste for garlic) – minced

1-2 TBS fresh thyme removed from stems

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar


Fresh parsley – chopped

NOTE: If you want more flavorful grits – use vegetable stock rather than water when you make them.

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Cook the grits/polenta according to instructions.  If it gets too thick – just add more water.

Meanwhile – heat 2 TBS olive oil in a pan over high heat & add the mushrooms.  Leave them in a pan a few minutes at a time without stirring to sear them.  When they are tender & browning, add the garlic & thyme.  Cook for 1-2 minutes (do not burn the garlic or it gets bitter) then add the balsamic.  It will cook off fast.  Add S&P.

Serve over polenta.  Garnish with parsley.

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