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Easy Mushroom Ragu with Parmesan Polenta

4.61 from 81 votes

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Rich and savory portobello mushroom ragu served over creamy cheese polenta — a flavor bomb vegetarian main dish!

A gray bowl full of yellow polenta topped with chunky mushroom ragu sauce, with a fork on the side.

Are you’re craving polenta for dinner?

How about the heartiness of a rich-tasting, meaty ragu, only it’s completely vegetarian?

You’re going to love this portobello mushroom ragu, a sauce that tastes complex and slow-cooked, but that actually comes together in just under an hour.

An overhead view of two bowls full of yellow polenta topped with chunky mushroom ragu sauce.

It makes a fantastic one-bowl meal served over creamy Parmesan polenta.

I’ve included the recipe for my go-to perfect creamy polenta, an essential recipe for foolproof buttery soft polenta.

Although the combo of cheesy polenta and this super-tasty sauce feels totally indulgent, I have no problem whatsoever tagging this recipe as “healthy” (heh heh).

A skillet with dark red portobello mushroom ragu and a wooden spoon.

After all, polenta is a gluten-free whole grain, and the robust, chunky sauce is vegetarian, full of fiber and mineral-rich portobellos.

Although a traditional Italian-style ragu is a slow-cooked sauce based on meat (beef and/or pork), this mushroom sauce is just as rib-sticking and satisfying, only it’s completely meatless.

I’m always amazed when I make this — the flavors are so savory it’s hard to stop eating it.

It’s definitely one of those portobello mushroom recipes that’s a total keeper.

An image of pantry ingredients to make polenta with mushroom sauce, showing polenta, sliced shallots, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, fresh rosemary and butter.

One reason this dish tastes so delicious is that it includes ingredients that happen to be full of umami, a word that basically translates from Japanese to mean “yummy”:

This same mushroom ragu is amazing on pasta too — we love it with Pappardelle Pasta with Mushroom Ragu

An overhead view of two bowls full of yellow polenta topped with chunky mushroom ragu sauce.

How to prepare portobello mushrooms:

  • Choose mushrooms with firm, unbroken caps.
  • Look for unbroken gills that are light brown in color. If the gills are moist or turning black, use a spoon to scrape them out and discard.
  • Gently wipe the mushrooms with a damp towel if they seem dirty, but don’t soak them in water or they’ll get soggy.
  • Slice into thick slices or chunks about 1-inch for the best chunky sauce.
Portobello mushroom caps and a bowl of uncooked polenta on a gray surface.

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Savory Mushroom Ragu with Parmesan Polenta

Easy Mushroom Ragu with Parmesan Polenta

Karen Tedesco
Easy polenta for dinner recipe for a rich and savory portobello mushroom ragu spooned over creamy cheese polenta — a flavor bomb vegetarian main dish!
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4.61 from 81 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Vegetables
Cuisine Vegetarian
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

Portobello Mushroom Ragu
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound (500 g) portobello mushrooms caps, sliced into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary or thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 3 tablespoons (45 g) tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3-1/2 cup (75-125 ml) vegetable stock or water
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Parmesan Polenta, Recipe Follows

Instructions 

  • Put the olive oil, shallots and a pinch of salt in a large (12-inch) skillet and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots are softened, but not browned.
  • Add the mushrooms to the pan, Cook for about 5 minutes, or until they take on some color, then stir and add 1/2 teaspoon salt (this helps them release their water). Continue cooking until the mushrooms become tender and the liquid evaporates.
  • Stir in the garlic, rosemary or thyme, chili, tomato paste, vinegar and butter. Add 1/3 cup of the stock or water and stir until the mixture becomes saucy, adding more liquid if needed.
  • Serve the ragu over Parmesan Polenta with grated Parmesan.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 391mg | Potassium: 588mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 571IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 160mg | Iron: 1mg
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Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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19 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made this several times now, and it’s quickly become a favorite! Because of where I live I can’t always get portabella, but baby bella, cremini , and even white button have all worked well for me. Thank you for a reliable and quick meal that tastes gourmet!

  2. 5 stars
    This was super. I used white mushrooms and a roll of polenta from Trader Joe’s. Even with the shortcuts, it was excellent. I will make this again.

  3. I added a little marsala wine at the end and let it cook down and it was delicious. My husband never liked polenta until tonight!

  4. This was so delicious! I used sliced baby Bellas and they were fantastic! A+++++

  5. Juliewiggins says:

    5 stars
    This is SO GOOD! Next time I think I will double the sauce. The flavors are intensely delicious! This is a definite keeper.

  6. a quick google search would have saved you the embarrassment of saying umami “basically translates” to yummy. The Japanese word for yummy is “oishi” where umami is a reference to the sixth flavor profile of savory. Do research before sounding like an appropriating fool

    1. Hi Katie – Whether or not you agree with me on the way I described this dish, I hope you try it because it is really yummy!

    2. Juliewiggins says:

      How gracious you are…

    3. Someone clearly woke up on the wrong side of their broomstick …

  7. Gloria Woods says:

    I am going to make this for a group of 6 and I’m wondering what the portion size is for the polenta and the ragu ( I will double the ragu recipe). Thanks. It looks delicious!

    1. Hi Gloria – The polenta can serve 4-6, depending on how you’re planning your menu and the appetites of your guests. I think if you also have salad, maybe bread, etc. you don’t need to make a double batch of it. Good call on doubling the sauce though!

  8. How much will I ruin the flavor if I used baby bellas? I have some from a recipe I was going to make until plans changed last minute!

  9. This is SO good!!! Seriously. Thank you for this recipe!!

  10. Incredibly savory and so flavorful!! Will definitely add this to the rotation! Only comment is on the polenta. The recipe made way more than I anticipated but tasted fantastic! My husband and I scraped as much as we could off the bowls.

    1. Julie Wiggins says:

      We absolutely loved this! Next time I will double the sauce!

  11. Just the title of this dish makes me want to make (and eat) it! Thanks for sharing. XO

    1. Janet Brosius says:

      My daughter sent this to me last week. Perfect fall dish, and the flavors where perfect! I added more garlic, because! Such a good comfort meal. Thank you!