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Making Polenta Crostini con Funghi!

A few months back I did a cooking demo for the Westchester PlantPure meetup, led by the enthusiastic, indefatigable Jeanne Schmacher, who very kindly filmed, edited & shared it here.

Mushrooms are an invaluable addition to the plant-based pantry. From a culinary perspective, they lend rich, desirable umami flavor notes. But from the health perspective they really shine!

There are hundreds of varieties of funghi, from delicate enokis to prodigious king oysters, mild white buttons to the intensely flavored (& favored) porcini & morels. Mushrooms have the unique ability to stimulate our immune systems to fight infection & counter malignancies while ALSO curbing inflammation to counter chronic illnesses, & protect from an over-active immune effects in auto-immune disorders & allergies. Quite remarkable.

You can top this saute on flavorful crostini made from coarsely ground polenta, rich in antioxidants, vitamin Bs & fiber, or millet crostini, made similarly & also satisfyingly crunchy & creamy.

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Polenta Crostini con Funghi

Polenta's rich corn flavor & crispy outside-creamy inside textures pairs beautifully with a woodsy medley of sauteed mushrooms for a delicious canape with multiple health benefits.

Serves 4-6, Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour


2 cups polenta (Bob's Mills for a course texture)

6 cups water or veggie broth

8-9 cups mixed mushrooms, chopped crudely & irregularly to add texture & interest

½ cup dried porcini, ground to powder in a spice mill OR reconstituted in warm water

6-8 sprigs of fresh thyme or 2-3 tsp dried thyme leaves

½ – 1 cup mushroom or veggie broth

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium red onion, medium dice (about 1 ½ cups)

No sodium veggie broth, dry vermouth or dry white wine, for deglazing

Freshly ground black pepper & sea or kosher salt, to taste

4 good quality canned peeled tomatoes, sliced in strips