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Late Summer Vegetable Bolognese with Creamy Polenta | @hbharvest

Exciting things going on here today, and they all start off with this late summer vegetable Bolognese with creamy polenta.

Yep, three very exiting things to share today.

Exciting thing number one! Today is little (or maybe not so little anymore) Miss Asher’s 9th birthday! For everyone who may be wondering, Asher is not my daughter. Nope, she is just my little sister, who I am whole heartedly obsessed with. To celebrate her big day my mom and I are surprising her with a girl’s shopping trip. Today is a testing day for her, so she only has to go in to school for 30 minutes, once she’s done we’re heading down to Denver. Asher has suspected nothing yet, so I’m excited to see her face. She already had a party when my family was in Cleveland, so I don’t think she’s expecting much today. I love surprising her! Follow along on Instagram stories.

Exciting thing number two! We have a very fun post up on the blog today involving the Half Baked Harvest Cookbook and an all expenses paid trip out to visit my little Barn in Colorado for a HBH retreat weekend this September. If you have yet to see the post, you can find all the info here. And guys, I would be sure to check it out, it’s a pretty big giveaway and will be an incredibly fun weekend trip too! Umm, hello to a dinner cooked by me, cheese board making, and so much more.

Exciting thing number three! Umm, duh, this yummy vegetarian Bolognese served over creamy corn polenta!

Now do you see where I am coming from? So many things to be excited about today!! Loving today already!

Late Summer Vegetable Bolognese with Creamy Polenta | @hbharvest

Late Summer Vegetable Bolognese with Creamy Polenta | @hbharvest

OKAY. Since I can’t ramble on about Asher’s birthday all day (although I probably could…), and the retreat has its very own post (go check it out!), let’s talk about today’s recipe, which is just as exciting to me because I love this healthy Bolognese SO much.

I have been working on this recipe for a while now. At first it started out as a beef Bolognese, but for some reason I was just never overly happy with the recipe. I took a break from it for a week and then picked it back up again last week, but with a new approach. Instead of making a meaty Bolognese sauce, I decided to opt out of the meat all together and just use up all the summer produce in my fridge.

And you know what happened? I ending up loving the recipe.

Late Summer Vegetable Bolognese with Creamy Polenta | @hbharvest

If you read the blog regularly, then you know I love veggies, but you also know my family loves meat. Sometimes it’s hard to find a compromise, but with this recipe, I found the comprise, just make the veggies taste so good that no one misses the meat (okay, okay and disguise them really well in a red sauce).

Oh, and then serve it over a pile of polenta for extra goodness.

This recipe fooled pretty much everyone. I sent all the leftovers over to my parent’s house. I got a text later that night asking what kind of meat I had used in the sauce. My dad was shocked when I told him it was all veggies. He said he would have never guessed because there was so much flavor and texture. Both he, my mom, and my siblings that were home at the time (hey, hey to Brendan and Lyndsie) loved the sauce.

YES! I love when I can trick the family into eating a completely plant-based meal.

Late Summer Vegetable Bolognese with Creamy Polenta | @hbharvest

The sauce is made up of some of my favorite vegetables: carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and tomatoes. The carrots and peppers add really nice texture, while the mushrooms give the sauce that meaty flavor. The bonus part of this recipe is that you can really used any mix of vegetables that you love or have on hand. Shredded brussels sprout, cauliflower, and broccoli would all be awesome. You could even stir in some spinach or kale.

I also added in some chopped walnuts, which might seem odd, but they bulk up sauce and add a really nice heartiness. For some extra flavor, I added in a splash…or two, of white wine, plus some crushed red pepper for spice.

You can of course serve this up over pasta as well, but I love the polenta, it’s different and totally delicious.

And finally? Finish the dish off with a healthy dusting of really good parmesan cheese.

Late Summer Vegetable Bolognese with Creamy Polenta | @hbharvest

Late Summer Vegetable Bolognese with Creamy Polenta

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories Per Serving: 396 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 (28 ounce) can san marzano tomatoes
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh basil

Creamy Polenta


  • 1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. 
    2. When the oil shimmers, add the onions and carrots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, garlic, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the veggies are tender. 
    3. Stir in all of the tomatoes, wine, and 1/2 cup water. Stir in the walnuts. Shimmer the sauce for 20 minutes or until it has thickened and the tomatoes have burst. Season with salt and pepper and then stir in the basil. 
    4. Meanwhile, make the polenta. In a medium saucepan bring 2 cups of water and the milk to a boil over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the polenta, stirring, until the polenta is soft and thick, about 5 minutes. Stir in the corn and butter until melted. Season with salt and pepper.
    5. Ladle the bolognese over the polenta. Enjoy!
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Late Summer Vegetable Bolognese with Creamy Polenta | @hbharvest

I mean, obviously.

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  1. 5 stars
    This was really wonderful. The walnuts were a really interesting addition and went over so well. Did the polenta a bit more proper though with broth instead of water and I added some parmesan and butter to make it extra rich! Would recommend, Yum! Thank you!

  2. Made this for my family tonight and they loved it! I added some bite-sized potatoes I found, and my meat-loving brother added some bratwurst to his. Walnuts were also a great and unique addition! Great recipe!

  3. 2 questions–do you cook the corn first and is there a difference between “instant polenta” and just corn grits (i.e. Bob’s Red Mill) that you can make polenta out of?

    1. Hi Taylor! You don’t need to cook the corn first. Cornmeal will take much longer to cook and I dont recommend using it in place of the instant polenta in this recipe. Hope that helps and please let me know if you have any other questions. Enjoy!

  4. Made this and it was great. The whole family loved it! First time putting a sauce on polenta. Thank you!! BTW I made it in my instant pot.

    1. Brian you need 2 cups milk and 2 cups water. Sorry if that was confusing. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  5. This is the perfect late summer comfort food! 🙂 Love that creamy polenta! Hope Asher had a great birthday! 🙂

  6. You had us at “chopped walnuts!” An earthy, satisfying, guest-worthy dish. Cannot wait for your cookbook to drop.

    Rome, Italy

  7. This looks too good to pass up. Will be making this weekend as soon as the weather cools off a little here in Cali. Love your website and will definately be purchasing your book.