Spinach & Mushroom Polenta Pie with Almond Ricotta

Created by Laura Wright
4.77 from 13 votes

Spinach and mushroom polenta pie is a savoury and satisfying main course for vegans and vegetarians. It's also naturally gluten-free!

Image shows a baked polenta pie with a deep red tomato and dairy-free ricotta filling.
Image shows a baked polenta pie with a deep red tomato and dairy-free ricotta filling. Slices are on individual plates to the side.
Overhead shot of ingredients for a vegan polenta pie.
Image shows a spatula pressing a polenta-based crust into a circular baking dish.
Image shows baby spinach being added to a sauté pan with mushrooms.


Ready to cozy up with a big savoury pie for dinner? A slice of this spinach and mushroom polenta pie (with almond ricotta, almond parmesan, and a solid pour of marinara for good measure) served up with a fresh green salad spells winter cozy suppertime perfection to me. This naturally red, green, and gold beauty would be so nice on your holiday table as a vegan option (also gluten-free!) as well.

This recipe looks looooong, I can admit it. But 2 of the 4 components are blitzed up in the food processor real quick. The filling is a quick sauté. And even the polenta step could be streamlined by opting for the “instant” variety. The ingredient list is a lil’ longer than usual, but that’s what the holidays are for, right? More of my best holiday recipes can be found here.

This pie kind of looks like a deep dish pizza when it comes out, and I am totally okay with that. It’s hearty and just incredibly satisfying with all of those home-y flavours. You could even crumble some bits of tempeh or some chopped up olives and sauté them with the mushroom filling for a little extra oomph. I kept it a little bit more simple here because I thought that going beyond 15 ingredients might be a bit excessive. Anyway, it’s sorta cheesy, creamy, ever-so-slightly meaty from all the mushrooms, that toasty corn crust is the perfect container for it all, and we even snuck in some greens for your health! ;)

Hope that the season of celebration and togetherness is going well for everyone so far! I’ve been sticking to my journaling, calming beverages, meditation, and exercise routine and it’s really helping me deal with the slowly building frenzy of it all. Just locking in on that routine to protect all of my good energy and to keep the creativity flowing. Be good out there! Meet ya back here soon :D

Image shows a sauté pan with cooked mushrooms and spinach.
Image shows a spoon transferring a spinach and mushroom filling to a yellow polenta-based crust.
Image shows a hand sprinkling a vegan “Parmesan” over a filled polenta pie.
Image shows a baked polenta pie with a deep red tomato and dairy-free ricotta filling.
A 3/4 angle of a slice of spinach and mushroom polenta pie on a plate with a fork.

Spinach & Mushroom Polenta Pie with Almond Ricotta

Spinach and mushroom polenta pie is a savoury and satisfying main course for vegans and vegetarians. It's also naturally gluten-free!
4.77 from 13 votes
An overhead shot of a baked savoury polenta pie filled with cooked mushrooms, wilted spinach, dollops of almond-based "ricotta" and marinara sauce.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

ALMOND PARMESAN

  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest

ALMOND RICOTTA

  • 1 cup sliced almonds, soaked for at least 1 hour
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • sea salt, to taste

POLENTA CRUST

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter (or olive oil)
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ¾ cup cornmeal
  • ¼ cup almond parmesan

MUSHROOM FILLING

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced (or use a shallot)
  • lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups baby spinach, packed
  • sea salt & ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • chopped basil, for serving
  • extra almond parmesan, for serving

Notes

  • Instant polenta will make this one come together even faster! I use a dab of Miyoko’s vegan butter to make the polenta a bit richer, but you could use an equal amount of olive oil.
  • You can replace the almonds with raw cashews in both the ricotta and parmesan if you’re looking for a little extra richness.
  • You need to act quickly when forming the polenta “crust” as the soft polenta will firm up fast.

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9-inch round dish with minimum 2-inch high sides.
  • Make the almond parmesan. In a food processor, combine the ½ cup sliced almonds, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, and lemon zest. Pulse until you have a fine meal. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  • Make the almond ricotta. First, drain the almonds. Then, in the food processor (no need to rinse), combine the drained almonds, hot water, lemon juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, and salt. Run the motor until you have a smooth, ricotta-like texture, scraping the sides down a couple times. Set aside.
  • Make the polenta crust. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, vegan butter, red pepper flakes, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Grab a whisk and slowly start pouring the cornmeal into the boiling water in a steady stream, whisking the whole time. Once you’ve poured out all the cornmeal and there are no visible clumps, switch to a rubber spatula. Bring the polenta to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook, stirring very often, until quite thick but still slightly fluid, about 15 minutes. Stir in ¼ cup almond parmesan and adjust seasoning.
  • Remove the polenta from the heat and scrape it into your prepared round dish. Working quickly with the spatula, push the soft polenta up the sides of the dish to form a “crust.” Make it as even as you can and smooth out the bottom completely. The consistency should be like Play Doh and quite easy to work with. Set aside once complete.
  • Make the mushroom filling. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until quite soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and let them sit for a full minute. Stir the mushrooms up and let them sit for another full minute. Keep stirring the mushrooms until they’re soft and glistening. Then, add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the spinach and cook until just-wilted, about 1 minute. Season the mushroom mixture with salt and pepper and stir. Remove from the heat.
  • Assemble the spinach and mushroom polenta pie. Spread half of the almond ricotta across the bottom of the polenta crust. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mushroom and spinach mixture to the pie on top of the ricotta, leaving as much moisture in the skillet as you can. Then, spoon the marinara sauce on top of the spinach and mushrooms. Dollop the remaining almond ricotta on top. Sprinkle a bit of almond parmesan and brush a bit of olive oil on the exposed polenta crust if you like.
  • Bake the spinach and mushroom polenta pie for 25 minutes, or until sufficiently warmed through. Turn the oven to broil and broil the pie for an additional 3 minutes to brown the top.
  • Serve the spinach and mushroom polenta pie hot with chopped basil on top and extra almond parmesan.
05/12/2018 (Last Updated 04/01/2023)
Posted in: autumn, creamy, gluten free, holidays, main course, mushrooms, refined sugar-free, salty, side dish, spring, umami, vegan, winter

38 comments

Recipe Rating




  • Erin

    2 stars
    The flavors in this are delicious but the polenta did not firm up into a pie crust at all. I’m not sure if a step is left out on the recipe? Mine turned out tasting like a lasagna without noodles, and with a weird corn porridge instead.

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Erin,
      I’m so sorry that this didn’t work out for you. A step is definitely not left out. I’ve made this a bunch of times and all the other reviews here indicate success with the recipe. The polenta should be firming up considerably as you’re forming the crust in the dish (in my experience, you have to do this part quite quickly) and it definitely holds as it bakes with the filling. Did you use regular cornmeal or something with a more coarse texture? I’m a bit stumped on what could have gone wrong otherwise.
      -L

  • Kim H

    5 stars
    This was delicious. I made a batch of polenta in the instant pot (Melissa Clark’s recipe for classic polenta in “Dinner in an Instant”) so that I could avoid watching a pot on the stovetop. Otherwise I followed the instructions as written. Served with simple salad and grilled bread and wine. Yummy winter meal for my family and invited guests. Thanks!

  • Laurie

    5 stars
    I have made this several times and it’s a really delicious dish, fit for a night with guests. The almond ricotta is so good non-vegans don’t even notice. My kids love it too!

  • Lauren

    5 stars
    I am so impressed!! This recipe is absolutely DIVINE. So filling and flavorful! I used the can of grecian eggplant with tomato, onions from Trader Joe’s as my “marinara” as another commenter suggested. SO SMART! adds amazing flavor. I also used cashews instead of almonds for added creaminess. 
    I will be making this regularly and can’t wait to share it with friends and family!! 
    Thank you Laura for sharing such a delicious and creative recipe! 

  • Jen

    I think I misunderstood and used cornmeal (as in fine corneal), not polenta. If I made this again, I would definitely use polenta. I had Marcela Hazan’s tomato sauce left over and think a marinara (as cold for) would have been much better. I would also sub the cashews for almonds next time. Lastly, I would use garlic in the mushroom spinach mixture. 

  • melissa

    Does this freeze well pre or post baking?

    • Laura

      Hi Melissa,
      I think all of the components here would freeze well, but I am unsure on the almond-based ricotta–I’m just worried that it will split upon thawing if left raw. For that reason, if you want to try freezing, I would recommend baking it and cooling thoroughly before freezing. I do have to say that I have not tried this personally, so cannot guarantee results. I think it should be fine though!
      -L

  • Vegetarian Recipes | Holiday Edition – Becoming a Vegetarian

    […] Spinach and Mushroom Polenta Pie with Vegan Almond Ricotta […]

  • Kate

    Could I just leave out or sub the tomato sauce for something else? I can’t do nightshades so I’m curious what would make a good switch.

    • Laura

      Hi Kate,
      You would have to substitute the marinara with something similarly textured to get the same effect. I would look to some of the beet-based “no-mato” sauce recipes that you see online or even something like a vegan “quiche” style filling made with tofu or chickpea flour.
      -L

  • Diane

    Making this a day in advance for Christmas. Should I bake it when I make it or refrigerate  bake it the next day?

    • Laura

      Hi Diane,
      I would bake it ahead of time and simply reheat right before serving.
      -L

  • Lauren

    Hi Laura. How many servings does this make? Apologies, I can’t find it listed anywhere. Looks delicious, can’t wait to make it. 

    • Laura

      Hi Lauren,
      This makes one 8-inch pie. I’d say about 6 hearty servings or 8 smaller servings that would be great with a few extra sides.
      -L

  • Kaitlan

    Hi! Do you think this recipe would work well if I were to make *mini* polenta pies? Debating as an option for an appetizer. Thanks for any guidance! I love your recipes!! 

    • Laura

      Hi Kaitlan,
      I think it would work, but I also think that making all the little individual polenta crusts might be a bit of a pain. I find that you have to work and move pretty fast with the polenta once it’s in the baking dish. I can’t imagine doing that for a bunch of minis, but if you’re committed to it, I say go for it!
      -L

  • Sue

    5 stars
    Made this yesterday and it looks beautiful! It’s currently in the freezer for thanksgiving. (I’ve frozen nut ricotta before, so I think it’ll be okay. Five stars for looks and taste of individual components. Thanks for your hard work. :)

  • Tanya

    Just made the almond ricotta tonight to test it out on a pizza I was making…I subbed cashews…and it tastes EXACTLY like that delicious garlicky creamy sauce they drizzle over the vegan pizza slices at Whole Foods! I think I’m in love lol ❤️

  • Susan

    Gah! I LOVE your blog. So many inspiring and tasty looking meals. Im vegan/plant based and so I cook a variety of meals. I have to say you have quite a lot of original sounding recipes! I will be following and mentioning your blog to my fave online group (and my grown daughter). Question for you here, can a (cheesy) grits be subbed for the polenta? For gf peeps

    • Laura

      Hi Susan,
      Thanks so much for your comment! So grits tend to be a finer grind than polenta, but for the purposes of this pie (making a firm crust), I think they should be fine. I’ve never cooked with grits before though so can’t guarantee results unfortunately.
      -L

  • Zoë

    I made this last night but after I added the mushroom mixture to the polenta crust the filling seemed to lack something. So I added some crumbled tofu sautéed with some Italian seasoning, a touch of miso paste, salt and pepper and it was divine. I think next time I’d add lentils instead of tofu. I was too hungry to start lentils at that point this time. Mushrooms and spinach shrink so much that it just needed some “oomph.” Otherwise this was a great recipe, thank you!

  • Etawi

    So we made this two nights ago and it was SO GOOD! So much so we are making it again tonight. Thank you for this recipe!

  • Kat

    This was DELICIOUS!!! I followed your instructions, using cashews in place of almonds, olive oil in place of vegan butter and I had a good jarred eggplant tomato sauce in the cupboard which I used instead of marinara. It came out INSANELY GOOD. My husband and I have made steps to move to a plant based diet this last year or so and have been on the search for satisfying recipes that replace the old dairy laden dishes we we’re used to. We polished the entire pie off by ourselves. So so good on a chilly night. Will certainly be making this time and time again. My sincerest thanks for this gorgeous recipe!

  • Maryellen

    I’ve made this twice now and the taste is absolutely amazing! Definitely a great dish to impress a dinner guest. Thank you Laura! :)

  • ColleenT

    I just made his and it is out-of-this world fantastic. I used slivered almonds but I know sliced will make it better the next time. Thank you, Laura, for the recipie and the continued inspiration. Happy New Year!

  • Bertha

    How can substitute vegan butter?

    • Laura

      The same amount of olive oil is fine!
      -L

  • Allison

    Ooh this looks amazing! Do you think a crust could be made from chickpea flour instead of polenta?

    • Laura

      Allison, I’m really not sure. Chickpea flour definitely has slightly different properties. I don’t think a direct substitution is appropriate here. I have only prepared it with traditional polenta so cannot comment authoritatively. You might have to do some googling and play around with it. This recipe looks promising (sub veg for chicken stock and halve the recipe) if you follow it up to step 3 and proceed with my recipe afterward: https://www.ricardocuisine.com/en/recipes/7254-fried-chickpea-polenta. You might not be able to form the “crust” as well, but it would make a solid base.
      -L

  • Elizabeth

    This recipe sounds amazing and the finished product looks beautiful! I can’t wait to try it.
    I also just want to say how lovely it is to see you back in this space more regularly! I am loving the recipes and happy hour posts, and want to be sure to share my gratitude for all you do. I’m glad you can take a step away when you need to, and grateful you are back sharing more plant-based inspiration. Wishing you peace in this holiday season (and always)!

  • Emily

    This looks like a BEAUTIFUL centerpiece for a holiday dinner. I love the rustic look of the crust. I cannot wait to try this to see if it tastes as good as it looks! Yum!!

  • dawn

    i always have almonds on hand but never sliced. will chopping whole almonds in a food processor work?

    • Laura

      I think the ricotta might turn out on the gritty side if you use whole, chopped almonds. I like using the blanched, sliced almonds because they don’t have a peel and they soften super quickly and nicely. Do you have raw cashews? They would be a great substitute for both the ricotta and parm!
      -L

      • dawn

        i do have raw cashews. i can try it both ways. guess i’ll get to the store and get sliced almonds. thank you.

        • Juliette

          Hi! I used whole raw almonds for both the ricotta and parm! Both turned out perfect. However, for the ricotta, I just soaked the almonds for about 3 hours and by the time I was ready to make the ricotta the skins were able to pop right off. So I did, in turn, blanch them! Mostly because I think of ricotta as all white and didn’t want almond skins in there!

  • Bryan

    This actually looks really good! I don’t have everything I need to make this recipe though. I’ll have to go do a market run later today. hopefully I can squeeze out some time and make it for dinner,thank you!

  • Anita Taylor

    Do you think this dish could be made ahead either unbaked or partially baked? I am trying to find entrees to make ahead and freeze for the holidays?

    • Laura

      Hi Anita
      Firm polenta does freeze beautifully, but I’m worried that the almond ricotta combined with the moistness of the mushroom filling MIGHT make this pie soggy after thawing. A lot of polenta casserole recipes online show that they are fine to freeze in their assembled (not baked) state, so my paranoia may be for nothing. I haven’t frozen and reheated this myself so can’t comment authoritatively, but wanted to be thorough and cautious in my response.
      -L