Baked polenta is the perfect pair for mushrooms and eggs in this easy to make meal. Perfect to serve for breakfast, brunch or even a light lunch or dinner. It’s not a super fast dish to make but most of it is hands-off since the polenta bakes in the oven rather than on the stove where it needs attention.
Baked polenta basics
Polenta is a form of ground corn historically used in a lot of Northern Italian cooking. It is generally cooked and served in a creamy version similar to porridge or in a more firm consistency such as this recipe.
Polenta takes time to cook, starting around 45 minutes whether it’s prepared in the oven or on top of the stove. On it’s own, polenta doesn’t have a lot of flavor on its own but you can flavor it up by adding herbs, cheese, garlic and other flavors, or by topping it with a delicious sauce.
Types of polenta
There are several varieties of polenta that you can cook with though some may be more challenging to find in your grocery store.
Bramata polenta is a moderately coarse type of polenta and the one that I use in this recipe for baked polenta. It has lots of flexibility and works well either baked with a firm texture or prepared on the stove in a creamier version. I also use it as a substitute for corn meal in baking dishes such as cornbread.
Fioretta polenta is a more delicate, finer form of polenta and works well in baked goods. I especially like to use it to make pancakes.
There are a few varieties of polenta I have yet to try. One is made from buckwheat (Taragna polenta) and one from white corn (Polenta bianca) with a much more delicate flavor, are also available but less mainstream. There is also an integrale version of polenta that I definitely want to try out.
There are also instant varieties of polenta available that cook in much less time but to be quite honest, I am not super enthusiastic about their flavor and texture. But, I understand that if time is a factor it’s an option to consider.
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Keep reading after the baked polenta recipe for my favorite egg cooking techniques!
Baked polenta with mushrooms, basil and egg
- 1 1/2 cups polenta bramata coarse polenta
- 2 cups water
- 2 cup vegetable broth
- ¼ cup fresh basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 pound white button mushrooms cleaned and cut in half or quarters
- 2 – 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 T parsley chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 eggs
- chopped basil for garnish
Cooking the polenta
- Preheat oven to 220 C or 400 F degrees.
- Heat water and vegetable broth to a low boil. Once water boils, remove from heat and add polenta in slowly while stirring. Once all the polenta is combined, add basil plus salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer to a 1.5 liter baking dish (8 x 8 or other similar) lightly sprayed with baking spray or oil. Place into oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Polenta should be set and firm with a crispy top.
- Remove from oven and allow it to sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
Cooking the mushrooms
- Heat olive oil on medium high heat. When oil is very hot, add mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes allowing them to brown on all sides.
- When mushrooms are almost done, add the garlic and parsley and cook for about another minute or two. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside while you cook eggs.
Cook the eggs
- Cook eggs how you prefer. Scrambled, poached, soft-boiled or fried.
- Cut polenta into squares and top with mushrooms and eggs. Garnish with chopped fresh basil.
Substitute any green for the spinach. But if you use a green such as kale, chard or mustard greens, they may need a bit more time to cook. If that’s the case, add a bit of water after sautéing for a few minutes and cook until the leaves are tender.
How do you like your eggs?
As a “mostly” vegetarian, I eat eggs regularly. But I like to change it up and try out different methods for cooking. Here’s my go to ways to cook eggs to top my baked polenta ranked from easiest to more challenging!
Scrambled eggs are by far the easiest way to cook eggs. Simply crack them open, give them a little whisk with a fork, add some salt and pepper and cook. I like soft, creamy but cooked scrambled eggs. My method for achieving the best results is to gently heat the pan over medium or medium low heat. Add the eggs and stir while they cook. This cooks the eggs a bit more slowly and I end up with a nice creamy texture and no firm or brown parts.
This method is actually pretty easy but can be a bit tricky especially if you like the yolks a little runny. The trick I have found to cook these eggs are to first gently crack the egg so the yolk doesn’t break and then also to cook the egg in a hot and well-sprayed pan. I use cooking spray which helps keep the egg from sticking and makes it much easier to flip.
My favorite method but a little more work and can be a little tricky to get the eggs cooked right. But recently I discovered the perfect method for making poached eggs without any swirling water or vinegar. Read more here to see how you can perfect your poached egg technique.
I used this method to prepare the eggs I used for the photos of this recipe. It’s not too crazy difficult and I learned some helpful tricks along the way to make the process a little easier.
- Boil the water first, then reduce heat and cover once you add the eggs.
- Add about 1 T canola oil or other oil to the water. This makes the eggs easier to peel.
- Gently add the eggs to the water using a spoon.
- Soft-boiled eggs take three to five minutes depending on how runny you want them. Use a timer to figure out the time to get your perfect consistency.
- When time is up, run them under cool water until you can handle.
- Gently tap the egg with a spoon or knife to crack the shell and then gently remove.
I achieved perfect eggs on my first try using this technique. And the oil definitely made the eggs easier to peel.
Did you make this recipe for baked polenta? What did you think? Did you enjoy the combination and flavors? Tell me here on the blog by leaving a comment or sending me a message using the chat function in the bottom right of the screen. Be sure to also give the recipe a 5-star rating if you liked it! If you take photos tag @cookeatlivelove so I can see your creations.