Cauliflower ‘Polenta’ with Mushrooms and Hazelnuts
Cauliflower Polenta with Mushrooms and Hazelnuts is your new go-to side healthy side dish! It's a simple paleo and vegan dinner that's more flavorful than the real thing and super healthy for you.
I've been obsessed with turning cauliflower into things it's totally not.
Like polenta. Cauliflower makes great polenta. It's every bit as creamy and comforting as the real thing, but so much healthier for you.
You got to admit, regular polenta is pretty boring and bland unless you add mountains of butter, cream, and cheese to flavor it. Not that I have anything against butter, cream, and cheese, but I don't want to eat tons of it for dinner every night.
In this totally paleo + vegan version of polenta, the cauliflower is roasted with onions and garlic, so it has tons of naturally sweet, nutty, buttery flavor. Once it comes out of the oven, it goes for a spin in the food processor till it's perfectly creamy, just like real polenta.
Topped with some seared mushrooms and toasted hazelnuts this cauliflower polenta becomes a great, healthy, veggie-loaded dinner.
A few tips for making cauliflower polenta
You'll see that the recipe takes an hour to make, and that might seem like a lot if you want to make this after a long day at work. Most of that time though is hands-off while you're waiting for the cauliflower to roast. The hands-on time is only about 30 minutes, at most.
Here's how to save the most amount of time:
- Put the hazelnuts in the oven right away. There's no need to worry about waiting for the oven to heat up; the hazelnuts can start toasting while it's heating.
- Once you chop the cauliflower put it in the oven right away. Just like with the hazelnuts it can start roasting while the oven warms.
- Start the mushrooms sautéing next. While they're sizzling in the pan you can chop the onions, get the garlic ready and chop the hazelnuts.
- Next, clean everything up, pop the onions and garlic into the oven, then go chill out for a bit.
- Once the cauliflower is nice and dark roasted you'll be eating your cauliflower polenta in only 5 minutes.
Make ahead cauliflower polenta
You can make the cauliflower polenta up to a day in advance and then warm it gently over low heat with a small splash of water added to the pan.
You can also toast the hazelnuts in advance. I will often toast more than I need and keep extra on hand to toss into salads during the week.
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Other Great Cauliflower Swap Recipes:
- Paleo Cauliflower Fried Rice
- Spinach Lemon Cauliflower Rice Risotto
- Garlic Brown Butter Mashed Cauliflower
- Creamy Cauliflower Hummus
- Dreamy Vegan Cauliflower Alfredo
Cauliflower ‘Polenta' with Mushrooms and Hazelnuts
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- ¼ cup hazelnuts
- 1 medium cauliflower, roughly chopped
- 6 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 4 cloves garlic, in their skin
- ½ medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 3 cups chopped mushrooms
- ⅓ – ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, or sub parmesan cheese
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
- Chopped parsley, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the hazelnuts in a small baking dish and toast in the oven for 7-10 minutes, or until they are golden and fragrant. Once the hazelnuts are out of the oven, increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Roughly chop the hazelnuts once they are cool enough to touch.¼ cup hazelnuts
- Place the chopped cauliflower on the baking tray and drizzle with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Put it in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes. (You don't need to wait for the hazelnuts to come out of the oven first.)1 medium cauliflower, 6 teaspoons olive oil
- Place the garlic in a small piece of aluminum foil, with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and wrap it tightly.4 cloves garlic
- After a half hour, mix the onion into the cauliflower and add the foil-wrapped garlic to the baking sheet. Roast for another 20 minutes.½ medium yellow onion
- While the cauliflower is roasting, prepare the mushrooms. Heat the remaining 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they are dark brown, about 8 minutes.3 cups chopped mushrooms
- Place the roasted cauliflower, onions, and garlic (remove the skin from the garlic first) into a food processor. Add ⅓ cup of water and the nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese and blend until it is creamy. Add more water, if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.⅓ – ½ cup water, 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, Sea salt and pepper
- Divide the cauliflower polenta between 2 plates. Top with the mushrooms, chopped hazelnuts, and parsley.Chopped parsley