Mushroom and Caramelised Onion Polenta Bites

Mushroom Polenta Squares

Mushrooms are such a versatile vegetable and a wonderful inclusion on your festive menu, particularly for vegetarians.  They are delicious and are just the thing to satisfy meat eaters and vegetarians alike.  So, when I was approached by Australian Mushroom Growers to collaborate with them as part of their Summer Mushroom campaign I was excited as I love cooking with mushrooms.

Mushroom Polenta Squares with Caramelised Onoon and Thyme Summer Mushroom dishes can range from delicious salads, bbq recipes or something a little more substantial.  They can be quick and easy or a little more intricate, so in the spirit of Summer Mushrooms, and daring to be different, I came up with Mushroom and Caramelised Onion Polenta Bites.  Deliciously crispy fried polenta topped with caramelised onions and mushrooms.  Honestly, these are so addictive we struggled not to eat the plate I prepared to photograph.

The great thing about these Mushroom and Caramelised Onion Polenta Bites, apart from how amazingly delicious and addictive they are, is you can prepare all of the ingredients the day before and simply fry the polenta and assemble on the day.  Even better, by omitting the parmesan cheese and replacing the butter with oil they are vegan friendly, and by dusting the polenta squares in more polenta instead of flour they are gluten free too!

Mushroom Polenta Squares

If you are looking for more mushroom inspiration why not check out the Summer Mushrooms website, or the Mushroom Wellington I came up with last time I worked with Australian Mushroom Growers when I participated in the Mushroom Masters which would be at home as the centrepiece to your Christmas table.

So tell me, what canapes will you be serving this Christmas and will Mushrooms feature on your Christmas menu?

A quick reminder, I’m giving away a Blendtec Homeblender valued at $824. Have you got your entry in?  The competition ends in 3 days, so hurry up and get your entry in.

Mushroom Polenta Squares
4.8 from 4 reviews

Mushroom Polenta Squares with Caramelised Onions
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 2 cups of vegetable stock
  • ½ cup of instant polenta
  • ⅓ cup of grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 large onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 2 tsp of olive oil
  • salt
  • 400g of mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 tsp of fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tbsp of rose or red wine
  • 2 tsp of olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • salt to taste
  1. Start by making the polenta. Grease a baking tray (I used a 30cm x 20cm tray) and set aside. Then in a medium saucepan bring the vegetable stock and butter to the boil. Gradually whisk in the polenta and reduce the heat to medium low. Continue whisking the polenta until it becomes thick and creamy, around 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the parmesan. Pour the polenta into the prepared tray and cover and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes to set.
  2. To make the caramelised onions, heat a large frying pan over a medium low heat and add the olive oil before adding the onions and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes before adding the balsamic and brown sugar. Cook for a further 10 minutes until caramelised. Set aside.
  3. For the mushrooms, heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes before adding the garlic and cook for 2 minutes before adding the rose or red wine and thyme leaves. Simmer for a further 10 minutes, or until the wine has all but evaporated. Set aside.
  4. Cut the polenta into bite size squares and coat in flour or uncooked polenta (the polenta will provide extra crunch). Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add oil. Once the pan has come to heat add the polenta squares and fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towel.
  5. To assemble the Mushroom Polenta Bites top the polenta squares with a small amount of caramelised onion (too much will overpower the mushrooms) and top with the mushroom mixture.
To make the Mushroom and Caramelised Onion Polenta Bites vegan omit the parmesan cheese and substitute the butter for olive oil. If you would like to make the canapés gluten free dust the polenta squares in uncooked polenta instead of flour. The individual components can be prepared the day before.

This recipe is proudly sponsored by the Australian Mushroom Growers Association who compensated me for creating the recipe as part of the Summer Mushrooms campaign. For more details check out their My Mushrooms blog.

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  1. Xiaolu/6Bittersweets December 5, 2011  7:10 am Reply

    Mmm I love caramelized onions and mushrooms are always a winning ingredient too. What a great starter!

    • delicieux December 5, 2011  8:47 am Reply

      Thanks Xiaolu :D I love caramlised onions too, they are one of my favourite things.

  2. Rosa December 5, 2011  7:39 am Reply

    That looks really delicious and pretty! Those dainty polenta squares are really festive.



  3. Nic@diningwithastud December 5, 2011  9:16 am Reply

    What a great combo. I love polenta but it can be a bit of a winter dish so the squares are fab :) perfect for some Xmas canapes. Love it :D

    • delicieux December 5, 2011  12:42 pm Reply

      Thanks Nic :D I agree, polenta can be a bit of a winter dish, but these fried polenta squares are fab and can honestly be served any time of the year.

  4. Jas (the gluten free scallywag) December 5, 2011  12:58 pm Reply

    wow these look delicious, so moreish too I imagine with thhe winning flavour combos - all things I love; crispy polenta, soft musshy's and caramelised onions, I'll be making these over the coming socialising months, great litte nibbles. Yum!

    • delicieux December 5, 2011  5:36 pm Reply

      Thanks Jas :D Originally I wasn't going to fry the polenta but I felt the dish needed a bit of texture and frying it was the perfect thing to give it a little bit of crunch. I'll definitely be making these again.

  5. lindamaree@mygardenfeast December 5, 2011  1:21 pm Reply

    These look great! I'm in charge of pre-dinner nibblies on Christmas Day and two of our family are wheat intolerant as well as vegetarian, these would be very popular I think. I was also thinking of some sort of cream cheese based dip with dried cranberries and pistachios and some sugar and spice macadamias.

    • delicieux December 5, 2011  5:37 pm Reply

      Thanks LinaMaree :D I hope you enjoy them!

  6. rebecca December 5, 2011  1:23 pm Reply

    lovely appetizer idea

  7. MyFudo December 5, 2011  4:52 pm Reply

    Scrumptious dish! Cornmeal gets me excited...It is filling and nutritious too. I love the festive theme of your pictures. Will try this definitely very soon. Thanks for the post!

    • delicieux December 9, 2011  3:30 pm Reply

      Thanks :D I'm glad you enjoyed these.

  8. baobabs December 5, 2011  5:30 pm Reply

    this looks delish!!! perfect canapes for the festive little parties coming up!

  9. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella December 5, 2011  6:36 pm Reply

    These look fabulous and very festive styling there! Hmm good question! I'm still devising my Christmas menu but no doubt it will be full of fattening foods! :P

    • delicieux December 6, 2011  11:23 am Reply

      Fattening foods...isn't that what Christmas is about :p

  10. thelittleloaf December 5, 2011  7:17 pm Reply

    What a gorgeous combination of ingredients. I love polenta but find it needs strong flavours to really bring it to life - just as you've done here. I can imagine eating these as canapes before Christmas lunch, yum.

  11. Katherine Martinelli December 5, 2011  8:57 pm Reply

    I just love this recipe!!! I am definitely bookmarking to make soon. Gorgeous.

    • delicieux December 6, 2011  5:21 pm Reply

      Thanks Katherine :) I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

  12. Anna @The Littlest Anchovy December 5, 2011  9:49 pm Reply

    Every ingredient in this recipe is something I love. This looks divine, I would love to be served this at a party :)

  13. Marta´s Kitchen December 5, 2011  11:14 pm Reply

    This looks amazing! I´ll give it a try! And lovely pictures too

    • delicieux December 6, 2011  5:19 pm Reply

      Thank you for your kind words Marta :)

  14. Joanne December 6, 2011  2:15 am Reply

    This is such a great appetizer for the holidays! They look gorgeous!
    Thanks for sharing! - Joanne

  15. EA-The Spicy RD December 6, 2011  3:16 am Reply

    Oh, my goodness...Yum!!! These look amazing {love anything with mushrooms!!!} And your pictures are so pretty too! Definitely making these soon!

    • delicieux December 6, 2011  5:13 pm Reply

      If you do make them I'd be interested to know what you think :D

  16. Wendy December 6, 2011  3:23 pm Reply

    Polenta is such a great base for a really flavoursome topping like this. Adding the sweetness of the caramelised onions to the mushrooms is a wonderful idea.

  17. Heidi - Apples Under My Bed December 6, 2011  6:59 pm Reply

    Beautiful creation here, Jennifer! I adore the sound of these bites - my kind of canape!! Delicious :)
    Heidi xo

    • delicieux December 9, 2011  3:29 pm Reply

      Thanks Heidi :D They are definitely my style of canape too. I think most meat eaters would love these too.

  18. Von December 6, 2011  8:50 pm Reply

    I love mushrooms, and this looks like an extra delicious way of cooking them! I've never had polenta before, but this looks so good I might have to try this some time since I conveniently have some instant (I think?) polenta right now.....

  19. Kiri W. December 6, 2011  9:20 pm Reply

    This looks amazing! I love polenta cskes, and yours came out so very perfect. The topping of mushrooms and onions must be melt-in-your-mouth flavorful :)

  20. Mushrooms Canada December 7, 2011  5:39 am Reply

    I love a good appetizer that you can prepare the day before. These would be prefect bite-sized mushroom morsels for a holiday get-together!
    - Brittany

  21. Terris@ Free Eats December 7, 2011  10:01 am Reply

    What a lovely set of photos and the polenta bites look delicious! Polenta and mushrooms are always a hit for me. :)

  22. S May 4, 2012  9:58 pm Reply

    This was amazing. From now onwards, I can't imagine having other hors d'oeuvres other than this. Thanks so much for a great recipe!

  23. Viola September 9, 2012  9:02 am Reply

    I have been drooling over these bites since discovering your blog (thanks to your now-husband!). I share your love of all thing mushrooms. I'm finally going to give them a go tonight! I'm just a *bit* excited :)


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