Grilled Balsamic Mushrooms and Polenta

Grilled Balsamic Mushrooms and Polenta is a delicious vegetarian meal that's full of flavor and couldn't be easier to make.

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Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with polenta is a simple, vegetarian grilled dinner full of marinated grilled mushrooms, tender grilled polenta, fresh arugula, and Parmesan cheese. Serve it as a vegetarian main course with a Kale Ceasar Salad or as a side dish with some easy Pesto Chicken.

When it comes to vegetarian recipes, the two requests I get most often are for slow cooker recipes and grilling recipes. And since its summer, I decided to share one of my favorite meatless grilling recipes. It's seriously the easiest thing to make and the flavor of the earthy marinated mushrooms with the creamy polenta is so so good. And then there's the cheese of course. You could use Parmesan as the recipe suggests but I often switch it up with goat cheese, feta cheese, or burrata.

The other thing I love about this recipe is that the grilled polenta is such a fun way to cook polenta. The outside gets crispy with a little smoky flavor from the grill, but the inside stays creamy. If you like grilled corn, you will love this. To keep things easy, I use the precooked polenta tubes. They are usually available with the pasta and come in all kinds of flavors. You can also make homemade polenta but will need to let it cool into squares before grilling it. 

How to Grill Portobello Mushrooms

  1. Clean the mushrooms: Always start by cleaning the mushrooms. Remove the stem. Brush off any dirt with a paper towel. You can also remove the gills with a spoon, if desired. Some people prefer their portobello mushrooms without them.  
  2. Add flavor: Next, you'll want to marinate your mushrooms. You can use almost any combination you like. Usually, I reach for balsamic vinegar, spices, and soy sauce. Soy sauce adds a salty, umami flavor that really works with mushrooms.
  3. Grill: Now it's time to grill. Cook them for 3-5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness. They are ready when they are tender with nice grill marks.

Portobello mushrooms with grilled polenta on a white plate with arugula and cheese.

How to Grill Polenta

If you have never grilled polenta before you are in for a treat. The outside gets crispy, the inside stays creamy - it's delicious. For grilling polenta, it's generally best to start with the pre-made tubes of polenta since they are guaranteed to stay together. If you are using homemade polenta, you will want to use a recipe for baked polenta, which is less creamy than the stove top version. 

  1. Start by cutting the polenta into rounds that are 3/4-1 inch thick.
  2. Brush the polenta with olive oil to ensure it doesn't stick to the grill. This is extremely important because, without oil or cooking spray, it will stick.
  3. Add any spices or seasoning you like. A touch of garlic powder and Italian seasonings are always a good choice.
  4. Grill for 4-5 minutes per side.
  5. Remember the polenta is already cooked, so you are just heating it through and get a crispy exterior.

Recipes Ideas for Grilled Portobellos Mushrooms with Polenta

There are so many different ways to customize this recipe and make it your own. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Kick up the veggie quotient and add some other veggies to the grill as well. We love adding cauliflower, red peppers, zucchini, or broccoli.
  • Trade out the spices to switch up the flavor. You could use rosemary, oregano, Italian seasoning or switch things up with Cajun seasoning, steak seasoning, or even Everything Bagel seasoning.
  • Try out different cheeses to finish the dish. Creamy goat cheese, salty feta, fresh mozzarella, or a tangy blue cheese would all be delicious.
  • Add some extra freshness with cherry tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes. Add fresh mozzarella and basil to make a Caprese salad inspired dish.
  • Add some extra flavor by drizzling the finished dish with some balsamic glaze or truffle oil.
  • Add some protein with marinated white beans or chickpeas. Simply toss the beans with olive oil, vinegar, and herbs and let sit for at least an hour in the fridge.
  • If you aren't a vegetarian, you can add protein to the dish with some simple grilled chicken, shrimp, or steak.
  • Instead of portobello mushrooms, swap in a different mushroom. Cremini, button mushrooms, or baby bella would all be delicious. Using a grill basket or skewers will help ensure they don't fall through the grill grates. You can also grill them wrapped in some foil. 
The Recipe
Grilled portobello mushrooms with polenta, arugula, and Parmesan cheese.

Grilled Balsamic Mushrooms and Polenta

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  • 6 portobello mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/16 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 18 oz. prepared polenta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

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Mix together the balsamic vinegar, thyme, soy sauce, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Marinate the mushrooms in this mixture for at least 30 minutes.


Cut the polenta into rounds and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.


Remove the mushrooms from the marinade, letting the excess drip off. Place the mushrooms and polenta slices on the grill. Cook on one side for 5 minutes and then flip. Cook the other side for five minutes or until mushrooms are tender.


Serve with arugula and Parmesan cheese.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 204
Calories from Fat 79
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 5mg
Sodium 642mg
Total Carbohydrate 24g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 5g
Protein 6g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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