Baked Polenta Discs with Vegan Wild Mushroom Ragout

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Baked Polenta Discs with Wild Mushroom Ragout - Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Italian Appetizer Recipe with Pioppini
Baked Polenta Discs with Wild Mushroom Ragout – Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Italian Appetizer Recipe with Pioppini

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.

The discs are a blank canvas for toppings. You can do a simple Oil-Free Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto or Sweet Heat Tomato Jam. For an authentic Italian topping, I recommend this wild mushroom ragout.

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!

Baked Polenta Discs with Wild Mushroom Ragout - Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Italian Appetizer Recipe with Pioppini
Baked Polenta Discs with Wild Mushroom Ragout – Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Italian Appetizer Recipe with Pioppini

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

Ingredients

  • 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.

If you love this, you’ll also love:

Gluten-Free Port Mushroom GravyVegan Mushroom Pea Italian ‘Farro-tto’, and Vegan Butternut Squash Italian Polenta.

Baked Polenta Discs with Wild Mushroom Ragout - Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Italian Appetizer Recipe with Pioppini
Baked Polenta Discs with Wild Mushroom Ragout – Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Italian Appetizer Recipe with Pioppini

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.

Cook the mushrooms until golden brown for the ultimate savory flavor
Cook the mushrooms until golden brown for the ultimate savory flavor

Celiac Concerns:  Double-check that the wine you use is certified gluten-free.


Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 180
% 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 %
Calcium 19 %
Iron 19 %
* 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)

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  • There is a problem with the directions. You’ve repeated some steps, I think. You’ve added the flour twice, the milk twice, etc… Any chance of getting a corrected version? Thanks.

    • Thanks so much, Suzanne! I fixed the recipe. Hopefully this is much clearer and easier to follow.