Easy Appetizer: Polenta Discs
Baked polenta discs are one of my favorite vessels to use for appetizers. You can buy a tube at almost any grocery store. Slice it up into 1/2-inch thick discs, bake them off, and you’re ready for topping. Because polenta is gluten-free and vegan, I can serve them to just about anyone.
What is Ragout? Ragout refers to a hearty French stew. It translates from ragoûter, meaning: “to revive the taste”. Traditionally made with chunks of meat, hearty chunks of mushrooms make a satisfying plant-based substitution. The mushrooms are browned and stewed until full of umami flavor. A splash of white wine and fresh thyme add a pop of flavor.
The ragout is thickened with gluten-free brown rice flour. Nutritional yeast adds creaminess – without any dairy or saturated fat.
Mix and match with a variety of mushrooms for different flavors and textures. I used creminis and Velvet Piopinni for this recipe, but explore what’s available at your local farmers market. There is huge diversity in the mushroom family. Your location will offer unique varieties due to the weather and season.
These make delicious finger-food for a summer cocktail party. Or serve them as a fun tapa at an Mediterranean-inspired dinner party. Mushrooms rule because Plants-Rule!
Medium | Servings: 4 | Ready In: 60 minutes | Yield: 16 discs + 3 cups mushroom ragout
A mix of wild mushrooms are sautéed with onion and garlic for a hearty, rich Italian ragout. Slice and bake pre-made polenta makes an easy base for serving this savory topping. Serve these gluten-free based dinner. If you love these, you’ll also love
- 1 (18-oz) gluten-free tube polenta
- 1 onion, diced
- 16-ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 4-6 ounces mixed wild mushrooms, sliced or torn into large chunks
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
- 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
How it’s Done
To bake the gluten-free Polenta Discs: Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a 9×11 baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat. Remove the pre-made polenta tube from its packaging. Slice into ½-inch thick discs. Place the discs on the pre-lined baking sheet and bake 30 minutes. Flip after the first 20 minutes. When done, remove from the oven and keep warm.
To make the Vegan Wild Mushroom Ragout: In a large heavy skillet, sauté the onions and mushrooms over high heat until the mushrooms are brown and have released most of their moisture, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and saute until the garlic is soft, 2-3 minutes.
Add the brown rice flour and cook until no longer white, about 1 minute.
Pour in the wine and cook until evaporated.
Pour in the non-dairy milk and nutritional yeast. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until thick and creamy, about 7-10 minutes.
By now, the polenta discs should be done baking. If they aren’t, keep the ragout simmering on low heat until the polenta is ready. If the ragout starts to dry out, add 1-2 tablespoons of water, as needed.
To assemble and serve the Baked Polenta Discs with Creamy Wild Mushroom Ragout: Remove the Wild Mushroom Ragout from the heat. Stir in the fresh lemon juice and half of the parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Portion a heaping spoonful of the ragout onto each of the polenta discs. Garnish with extra parsley and serve.
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Chef Katie’s Tips:
Mushroom Varieties: This recipe is a great way to experiment with a variety of mushrooms. For interesting textures, choose a variety of mushroom sizes – some big chunks of Portobello or Lions Mane would pair nicely with delicate Peponi or Enoki.
Cleaning and Handling Mushrooms: Food science experiments have shown it’s okay to wash your mushrooms under running water. Use your hands to vigorously remove any loose grit or silt from the mushrooms. If using large Portobello mushrooms, use a spoon to scoop out the gills (which are watery and have an off-putting black color). Use a knife to slice big beef mushrooms (like cremini and white button).
Make Ahead: If making this for a party, you can make both components ahead of time and store them separately. To assemble and serve, reheat the polenta discs in a 350F oven for 8-10 minutes. Microwave or simmer the ragout, covered, 3-5 minutes, until hot. Portion the ragout on the discs and garnish with parsley up to 30 minutes ahead of time. You can keep the assembled discs warm in a 225F oven for up to 30 minutes.
Celiac Concerns: Double-check that the wine you use is certified gluten-free.
|Amount Per Serving|
|% Daily Value *|
|Total Fat 1 g||2 %|
|Saturated Fat 0 g||1 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 0 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg||0 %|
|Sodium 202 mg||8 %|
|Potassium 1864 mg||53 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 45 g||15 %|
|Dietary Fiber 5 g||22 %|
|Sugars 8 g|
|Protein 14 g||28 %|
|Vitamin A||7 %|
|Vitamin C||12 %|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Watch to Learn More:
Shopping and Gear List
- McCORMICK Culinary Thyme Leaves
- Bob’s Red Mill Organic Whole Grain Brown Rice Flour 24 Ounce
- Edward & Sons Low Sodium Veggie Bouillon Cubes, 2.2-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 12)