Creamy and luscious polenta is topped with a garlicky and complex mushroom and kale ragout, and then drizzled with a rich Alfredo-like cream sauce. This dish is rich, packed with flavors, and incredibly comforting, but you’ll never guess that it is also secretly healthy!
It all starts with the polenta, which is milled from corn and a great whole-grain base to our decadent dish. Next, we take nutrient dense mushrooms and caramelize them for maximum flavor. To the mushroom ragout, we add in some kale – the superfood that we just can’t seem to get enough of. In this recipe, we are using tuscan kale for its milder flavor and texture. It blends in perfectly to this mushroom sauce. Next, goes in some garlic which adds major flavor.
Then while that is all cooking away, we will make the star of this dish – the dairy-free cream sauce. I know, crazy, right?! Dairy-free cream sauce? Yes. And it is every bit as rich and creamy as a full-fat Alfredo, but this rendition is made with raw cashews and a variety of seasonings. I know, strange, but you’ll be tempted to eat this creamy concoction by the spoonful. No judgement if you do, I have been know to from time to time 😉 A quarter of this cream gets stirred straight into the polenta, making it ultra creamy. The rest gets drizzled, or poured, over this dish right before serving.
All these components add up to a dish that is over-the-top delicious and secretly nutritious.
For the cashew cream:
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
For the Mushroom Ragout:
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 20 oz crimini mushrooms
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 cups chopped Tuscan kale
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Polenta:
- 1 cup polenta
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tablespoon good olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup prepared cashew cream (recipe above)
1. Add the cashews to a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover and let sit and soften for 20 minutes. Drain the cashews and add them to a high speed blender with the unsweetened almond milk, apple cider vinegar, salt, white pepper, and garlic powder. Blend until creamy, scraping down the sides as necessary.
2. Add the polenta and salt to a saucepan. Add in one cup water and whisk to combine, breaking up any clumps.
3. Add in the remaining 2 cups water, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently until the polenta has absorbed most of the water, and the whisk leaves trails in the polenta. Add in the plant milk, and bring back to a simmer. Cook until the polenta has absorbed all of the milk, about 7 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 cup of the cashew cream and the olive oil. Set aside.
5. While the polenta is cooking, add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add in the mushrooms and red pepper flakes.
6. Sauté until the mushrooms have lost all of their water, and begin to brown, about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add in the garlic, salt, nutmeg, red wine vinegar, and kale. Continue to sauté, stirring occasionally, until the kale has wilted, about 5 minutes.
7. Ladle the polenta into bowls. Top with the mushroom ragout and drizzle with cashew cream. Serve immediately.