Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes

Crispy Slices of Polenta, + Broccoli and Watercress Sauce with Roasted Garlicky Mushrooms. Vegan.

I still seem to be finding my inspiration from the Mediterranean right now.  Must be an antidote to grey January days and the prospect of snow….brrr…

Here is a delicious combination, with Italian flavours running all the way through it.

fried polenta+ broccoli and watercress sauce + garlicky mushrooms

This is a great dish to prepare in advance, as the polenta needs to be cooked, cooled and sliced before its fried.  The broccoli sauce can be made in advance and just warmed through with an optional swirl of soya cream.

Which, when the time comes,  just leaves the mushrooms to roast in a serious amount of garlic and the polenta to fry in a little oil.  That’s what I call organise..ised….!



For 4



  • 250gms. quick-cook polenta
  • 1L water ( + a little extra if necessary)
  • 2tbs. dried herbs ( I used sage and rosemary)
  • 5tbs. nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1.5 tsps. salt
  • juice 1/2 small lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
  • 10gms. finely chopped fresh chives
  • 2-4 tbs. olive oil

Broccoli Sauce:

  • approx. 450gms. broccoli florets
  • 50gms. watercress
  • 300ml. water
  • 200ml. non-dairy milk (I used oat milk)
  • 1tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper


  • 200gms. small/button/closed cup mushrooms
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3-4 tbs. oil ( I used grapeseed oil)



  • Crush garlic cloves and mix in a deep bowl with oil.
  • Add whole mushrooms and mix well to coat mushrooms in garlicky oil.
  • Set aside.


  • Bring 1L water to the boil in a heavy saucepan.
  • Add the polenta in a slow stream, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
  • Bring polenta to the boil, and then reduce heat to a low simmer.
  • Stir polenta regularly to avoid sticking and burning. Add a little extra water if necessary.
  • During cooking time ( about 8 mins.), add herbs and paprika.  Stir in.
  • Then add nutritional yeast and salt and pepper.  Stir in.
  • Add juice 1/2 lemon. Stir in.
  • In the last minute of cooking, add finely chopped chives.  Stir in.
  • Remove from heat, and pour into a lightly-oiled large baking tray.
  • The polenta will be very thick.
  • Smooth the polenta out into a rectangle about 1.5cm. deep.
  • It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t reach the edges of the tray.
  • Set aside to cool completely.

Broccoli sauce:

  • Remove the toughest part of the stalks of the broccoli and then weigh 450gms., roughly chop and wash the broccoli florets.
  • In a saucepan with a tightly-fitting lid, place the broccoli and 300ml. water. Cover.
  • Bring to a gentle boil and simmer until the broccoli is tender.  (7-10mins.)
  • In the last minute of cooking, add the roughly chopped and washed watercress.
  • Replace the lid and allow the watercress to blanche for one minute.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  • Transfer the broccoli, watercress, cooking water + 200ml. non-dairy milk ( I used oat milk) to food processor, and blitz until smooth.
  • Add 1 tsp. salt + 1/2 tsp. black pepper.  Blitz briefly.
  • Add a little extra non-dairy milk, if necessary to achieve the right consistency.
  • Return sauce to pan, ready to heat up before serving.

Bring everything together:

Pre-heat oven Gas Mk.7/220C


  • Transfer marinaded mushrooms with oil and garlic to a roasting tin and place in hot oven.  Roast 20 mins.


fry sliced polenta
  • Place oven-proof dish on lower shelf to keep polenta warm once fried.
  • Once the polenta has completely cooled, slice into 12 pieces, and  fry in batches, in hot oil for 3-4 mins. each side.


  • Place the sauce on a low heat to warm through.  Avoid boiling.  Adjust seasoning if necessary.


Serve hot.







Summer’s on it’s way…


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