My Recipe Book: Crispy Polenta Cakes (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Welp. Only one month left to "officially" share recipes now that I've reached the last leg of TRFD. Rest assured, this doesn't mean that I'll ever stop sharing recipes, but I've really racked up the vegan and gluten-free ones over the past few months here. Moving forward post-TRFD, I'll label everything super clearly so no one's ever confused about what they can and cannot eat. All about that food / nutrition transparency, y'all. Now onto the food!

In a nutshell, this is where this quick 'n' easy recipe was born: I've been on the hunt for some fast food that I can make during the weeknights. When it gets busy at work, I run from the office to yoga, and by the time I get home, I'm so starving that I need something to be ready in a half-hour (or less). Generally, I really aim to take my time when cooking - because I love the process so much - but for the past few nights, getting home late has meant a lot of salads, which are easiest to create in a crunch. But I'm sick of salads! They're great for dinner every once in a while, or even for lunch throughout the week, but give me something heartier! Something filling and delicious, and something that makes you feel less like you're, well... a rabbit, for lack of a better simile.

In addition to consuming a ridiculous amount of rice and quinoa in the past few months, I've been checking out some other grain options - and that's when I remembered polenta. Polenta, just in case some of you are unfamiliar, is a corn-based food that's a bit like grits, but much thicker (and Italian). This thickness, in turn, makes it an amazing food to turn into little patties, much like crab cakes or bean burgers. Thinking about this, I reached for my sautée pan and started in on some ready-made polenta (I used one quite similar to this). And, y'all, it was perfect, creating a fast and simple dinner with the ideal amount of leftovers for the next-day lunch. Yuuum.

Crispy Polenta Cakes (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
A recipe birthed by yours truly (although another amazing option is here at Half Baked Harvest). 

- 1 Roll, Ready-Made Garlic and Basil Polenta
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Two or Three Handfuls of Fresh Baby Spinach
- 1 or 2 Cups of Crimini Mushrooms, Sliced
- Avocado, Sliced
- Tomato, Chopped

1. Unwrap the polenta and cut into slices, coating in a bit of olive oil.
2. Place the remaining olive oil into a sautée pan (or iron-cast skillet) on medium heat.
3. Place the polenta slices into the sautée pan and let sit for 10 minutes or so.
4. In another pan, sautée the spinach until just wilted on medium low, but still fresh and green (I usually include a splash of olive oil). Set aside and keep warm.
5. Flip the polenta slices and let sit for another 10 minutes or so - they should be getting browned on both sides. 
6. Using the same pan from the spinach, sautée the mushrooms on medium to medium low, until rich and just a bit browned on both sides (again, I usually use some additional olive oil for this). Set aside and keep warm.
7. Once the polenta is successfully browned on both sides, remove from heat and place on plate, topping with spinach and then mushrooms.
8. Serve with sliced avocado and chopped tomatoes, and enjoy!

There are some meals that are just so simple and quick that you find yourself turning to them time and time again - add this one to your roster for sure. It's so easy to make, and even better because it's making me a bit homesick for southern grits. (As a final note, I'm 100% sure nowadays there is nothing that sautéed mushrooms don't taste good on.)

As always, let us know if you try it! Leave a comment below or e-mail us a friendly note at hippieteaparty@gmail.com. Or tweet or instagram or whatever. Be social, y'all.


  1. This looks so good! And...LOL @rabbit food comment. I am in the struggle with you when it comes to the late work hours... I get so tired.

    - Kaisha – ♡ ColorMeLimitlessly ♡

  2. I've just bought some polenta for the first time in years, so I'll be sure to check out that recipe!



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