Polenta Cakes with Caramelized Onions and Sauteed Mushrooms

Polenta Cakes | Savvy Eats

You’ll have to forgive me: I’m veering away from the breakfast for dinner theme just a teensy bit. Instead we’re having breakfast as an appetizer.  If you consider polenta cakes to be a breakfast item. Which I do. Kind of.  Polenta isn’t that different from grits, right? (Right, according to this post on The Kitchn.)

Anyways, polenta cakes for dinner appetizers!  When I told the people at Frieda’s that I couldn’t decide if I liked polenta or not (I just wasn’t sure how I felt about the texture – I’ve had both really good polenta and really terrible polenta at various restaurants), they were kind enough to send me a few rolls of their organic polenta to try cooking it for myself.

I typically prefer my polenta/grits on the crispier end, so I decided to play around with some polenta cakes – they are crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside.  That’s perfect for me! I topped them with some caramelized onions (always a favorite) and sautéed mushrooms, and drizzled them with a little truffle oil, making for a fantastic vegan appetizer.  Delicious.
Polenta Cakes | Savvy Eats

Polenta Cakes with Caramelized Onions and Sauteed Mushrooms

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 6-8

Polenta Cakes with Caramelized Onions and Sauteed Mushrooms

These polenta cakes are crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and topped with caramelized onions and sautéed mushrooms.


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 roll precooked polenta (I used Frieda's brand)
  • 1/2 cup caramelized onions (I use this method)
  • White truffle oil, for drizzling


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper, stirring so that the mushrooms are completely coated by the oil. Cook, flipping once or twice, for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the water to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the water is entirely gone from the pan. This should take 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  4. While the mushrooms cook, slice the polenta into 1/4" thick rounds. Heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat, but don't add any oil or nonstick spray. If you do, the polenta won't brown!
  5. Add a few polenta rounds to the pan, being sure not to crowd them too much. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until they begin to brown.
  6. Top each polenta round with a teaspoon or so of caramelized onions and a few sauteed mushrooms. Drizzle with the truffle oil and serve immediately.

Psst: Frieda’s sent me some polenta to try, but I was not compensated in any other way for this post. All opinions are my own.


  1. says

    I’ve only had a few bites of polenta in the past, but I could totally get down with this recipe, everything is better with onions and mushrooms!

  2. says

    THIS explains why my polenta cakes wouldn’t brown this week. I hadn’t made them in forever and couldn’t remember how I used to get them nice and crispy. Yay! Savvy Julie to the rescue!