Slow cooker polenta with mushrooms & spinach is a creamy, dreamy recipe. It is the perfect side dish for just about any entree. This one will disappear fast!
There is nothing quite like a bowl of creamy polenta. It is very high on my list of comforting meals. It has a yummy flavor on its own, but is is mild enough to pair with just about any main course
❓What is polenta
If you grew up eating polenta, skip to the next section. I didn't have polenta until I was an adult. But, I loved it instantly.
Polenta is made of coarse cornmeal. It is cooked or boiled until soft and porridge-like. Soft polenta can be eaten as a side dish or as a base for yummy saucy dishes. Cabbage and ground beef or Creamy lemon chicken would be great in polenta bowls.
However, if you allow cooked polenta to cool, it takes on a more solid form. This can be sliced and baked, toasted, or fried into a whole different side dish. It is a great way to use leftovers!
To use your crockpot to make amazing mushroom spinach polenta you will need these grocery store items:
- Yellow cornmeal polenta - not instant polenta or pre-cooked tube polenta
- Chicken or vegetable broth
- Fresh spinach - baby leaves are the best
- Fresh mushrooms - sliced
- Parmesan cheese - or nutritional yeast
Spray your slow cooker with a non-stick cooking spray. Add polenta, broth, and salt and gently whisk together to ensure there are no lumps. Stir in mushroom slices, cover, and cook on the low setting for 4-6 hours.
When your polenta has fully absorbed all of the liquid and taken on a creamy consistency, turn down to warm. About 15 minutes prior to serving, turn back up to the low setting. Use a wooden spoon to stir in parmesan cheese and spinach and mix to fully combine. The cheese will quickly melt in and the spinach will quickly wilt.
Serve and enjoy!
There are tons of great ways to serve polenta. It is awesome just as is - in a bowl topped with additional parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.
Goat cheese, feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and Italian seasoning all make great vegetarian meal toppings. Served with some sauteed veggies or a green salad, this polenta would be a hearty main dish all on its own.
Spinach and mushroom polenta also makes a great base on your serving plate. The rich flavors of homemade marinara, honey garlic chicken, and chicken parmesan are all great on a bed of polenta.
Leftover polenta can be allowed to cool in the refrigerator until it sets into a more solid form. This can be sliced and cooked further for a different but equally delicious dish.
I prefer to air fry my cooled polenta. Slice the hardened polenta into ¼" thick slices. Spray with an olive oil spray on both sides and place on a piece of parchment paper in your air fryer.
Cook at 380℉ for 19 - 20 minutes or until polenta is golden and crunchy.
- A few grinds of black pepper can be added along with the salt during the mixing process if you are a fan.
- If you are interested in a vegan polenta recipe, be sure to use vegetable broth and nutritional yeast rather than parmesan cheese.
- Cremini mushrooms, white mushrooms, and baby bella mushrooms would all be delicious in this recipe
- Looking to spice things up? Sprinkle the top of your polenta with some red pepper flakes.
If you love this recipe, please let me know in the comment section below!
One great thing about being able to serve polenta so many ways is that there are rarely leftovers. Store soft polenta in an airtight container or bag for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
The next day, you can choose which way to cook your polenta. If you prefer to serve it soft and creamy, add about ¼ - ⅓ cup of broth to cold polenta slices. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and reheat in the microwave until soft. Then carefully mix to remove any lumps.
😉Hints & hacks
- This recipe can be easily doubled. All instructions remain the same. Just keep an eye on the timing the first time you do it.
- A lot of people prefer their polenta on this thick side. If you find this recipe is too thick, just stir in some additional broth or water.
- I always recommend the use of a slow cooker liner. Of course, this is an optional step. I like to purchase my liners in bulk for a less expensive per-piece price.
- One nice thing about this recipe is the flexible cooking time. If you aren't sure exactly when you will be serving this dish, it can stay in your slow cooker on the warm setting for a while before adding in spinach and cheese
- In the market for a new slow cooker? I love mine!
- Don't forget to plug in your crockpot!
Polenta and cornmeal are identical with the exception of how they are ground. Corn meal is more finely ground than polenta.
Yes, you can but.... If you use a regularly ground cornmeal rather than one labeled "polenta", your finished product will have a more mushy consistency.
Polenta and corn grits are the same in that they are both made from cornmeal. However, they are made from different types of corn. This affects both the color and the texture.
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Slow Cooker Polenta Recipe (with Mushrooms & Spinach)
- Knife and cutting board
- Mixing Spoon
- non-stick cooking spray
- 2 cups polenta dry yellow corn polenta
- 8 cups broth chicken or vegetable
- 8 oz mushrooms white button or baby Bella, sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1.5 - 2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 cups baby spinach
- spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray
- Add polenta, broth and salt to slow cooker and whisk together to ensure there are no lumps2 cups polenta, ½ teaspoon salt, 8 cups broth
- Stir in mushrooms, cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours8 oz mushrooms
- When polenta has fully absorbed all of the liquid and is a thick, creamy consistency, turn to warm.
- 15 minutes prior to serving, stir in spinach and parmesan cheese and fully combine. Allow cheese to melt and spinach to wilt and enjoy!1.5 - 2 cups shredded parmesan cheese, 2 cups baby spinach
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