This simple vegan vegetable polenta, made with cabbage, mushrooms, and zucchini is a comforting and flavourful meal that’s ready in just 20 minutes and will keep you coming back for seconds! Gluten-free and oil-free.
You know those days when all you want to go is to throw ingredients into a pan for a couple of minutes and have it turn into a meal? Because same. That’s pretty much me all day every day. When I’m short on time and my to-do list just seems to grow as the day progresses, every meal must be simple and straightforward. But, that certainly doesn’t mean missing out on healthiness and flavour!
So that’s why today I’m sharing this vegan polenta vegetable bowl, because it’s one of those meals that feels slightly fancy, but no one will know how little effort and time it really took.
Vegan vegetable polenta
Polenta is an ingredient I’ve been using a lot recently. On its own, it has a really distinct, slightly nutty flavour and a lot of texture. I like serving it just by itself with a bit of salt and pepper as a side dish, also adding a splash of plant milk and some vegan butter on occasion.
But for this recipe, we’re making an easy and flavourful vegetable sauce that compliments it perfectly. The base is simple tomato paste that adds richness and tanginess For saltiness, we’re adding tamari, and then a splash of good-quality balsamic vinegar to balance it out.
Of course, this dish is totally versatile. For my vegetables, I used cabbage, zucchini and mushrooms, however you can add whatever ones you have in the fridge. Just aim to make it versatile for the best results in terms of flavours and textures! I also like to add ingredients like beans and pulses for an extra serving of plant based protein.
The veggie sauce is perfect for batch cooking, and you can service it in so many different ways, not just as displayed here. For instance, serve it over a bed of fluffy rice, or stir into pasta to make a sauce.
Reasons to love this easy polenta recipe
- Comforting. This is one of those super warming, cosy meals that everyone will love.
- Super beginner-friendly. No tricky preparation needed! This recipe is completely fail-proof.
- Ready in under 20 minutes. Perfect for a weeknight dinner after a long day.
- A great way to eat vegetables: this makes cabbage and zucchini taste amazing!
- Perfect for batch cooking and meal prep.
- Simple, without sacrificing on deliciousness.
- Very flavourful. Always the way to go with vegetable-heavy meals!
You will need
- Tomato paste
- Chestnut mushrooms, or any other mushroom variety
- Garlic cloves
- Garlic granules
- Black pepper
- Balsamic vinegar
- Nutritional yeast
How to make vegetable polenta
STEP 1: Cook the polenta according to instructions on packaging in either water or vegetable broth (the latter makes it more flavourful). This usually takes around 10-15 minutes.
STEP 2: Add the cabbage, zucchini, and tomato paste to a non-stick frying pan. Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes, allowing the vegetables to soften.
STEP 3: Add the mushrooms, garlic, paprika, cumin, garlic granules and black pepper. Sauté for a further 4 minutes, until the mushrooms cook down.
STEP 4: At the last minute, stir in the balsamic vinegar and tamari.
STEP 5: When the polenta is cooked, stir it together with the nutritional yeast and salt, before serving with the vegetables.
Other vegan recipes in 30 minutes or less
- Butternut squash mac and cheese with tofu
- Sweet and sour tofu
- Easy vegan Pad Thai
- One-pot chickpea pasta
- Mushroom buckwheat porridge bowl
Let me know in the comments – what’s your favourite way to eat polenta? If you give this vegan vegetable polenta recipe a go, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@earthofmariaa) so I can see your creations, and leave your feedback in the comments below!
Simple Vegetable Polenta (Vegan & Gluten-free)
- Non-stick frying pan
- 1 cup polenta dry
- 1.5 cups cabbage chopped
- 1/2 medium zucchini chopped
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 2.5 cups mushrooms chopped
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garlic granules
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp tamari
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- Cook the polenta according to instructions on packaging in either water or vegetable broth (the latter makes it more flavourful). This usually takes around 10-15 minutes.
- Add the cabbage, zucchini, and tomato paste to a non-stick frying pan. Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes, allowing the vegetables to soften.
- Add the mushrooms, garlic, paprika, cumin, garlic granules and black pepper. Sauté for a further 4 minutes, until the mushrooms cook down.
- At the last minute, stir in the balsamic vinegar and tamari.
- When the polenta is cooked, stir it together with the nutritional yeast and salt, before serving with the vegetables.