Shiitake Polenta Crostini

Crostinis are usually comprised of toasted, crispy bread with toppings.  In this recipe, baked polenta replaces the bread for a unique twist on a classic appetizer.  This is a perfect snack to serve at your ugly sweater Christmas party!

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Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetPolenta is easy to make at home, but takes some patience.  To same time, many grocers carry pre-made solid polenta that can be cut into slices easily.

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Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetShiitake mushrooms are the key to this dish.  They are a bit more expensive than the normal white or bella mushrooms, but just sniff one when you take it out of the package (yes, sniff it!).  It smells like a savory vegetable broth, salty and earthy and rich.

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Polenta Crostini with Shiitake


  • 1 tube polenta (about 1 pound)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced relatively thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 7 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced (about two normal packages from the grocery store)
  • 3/4 cup white beans (rinsed and drained if canned)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 large tomato, de-seeded and diced


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray to prevent sticking, or use a silicone baking mat. Cut the polenta into 1/8 inch slices and arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  2. Bake for twenty minutes, then flip and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  3. After flipping the polenta, add 1/2 cup of the water to a skillet and saute onions over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic and sage and saute 60 seconds.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add sliced mushrooms and remaining 1/4 cup water. Saute 5-6 minutes, until mushrooms have cooked down and soft.
  5. Add mixture to a blender with the white beans, salt, pepper, and paprika. Blend until smooth (hummus-like consistency). Add a splash of water (no more than 1/4 cup) if your blender has a hard time.
  6. Top each polenta crostini with a dollop of shiitake spread and diced tomatoes. Enjoy!

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