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Creamy, buttery Pesto Polenta with Thyme Roasted Mushrooms and Chickpeas …a delicious bowl of late summer comfort food. This simple pesto polenta is made in under an hour, uses just one sheet pan and one pot, and is a great way to use up those garden herbs. The polenta is creamy, perfectly buttery, and swirled with pesto. The wild mushrooms and chickpeas are slowly roasted together with fresh thyme and garlic. When spooned over bowls of creamy polenta, it makes for a simple, healthy-ish, and delicious dinner that’s great for any night of the week.

This post is sponsored by Land O’Lakes.

overhead photo of Pesto Polenta with Thyme Roasted Mushrooms and Chickpeas with 3 bowls in photo

And just like that, September hits, my oven is on, and I’m roasting mushrooms.

It’s crazy how much I love this time of year. I live for these golden September days, and my creativity thrives once fall really sets in. I know it’s only early September, but I’m slowly ready to start incorporating a bit more “coziness” into everyone’s kitchens.

It’s all getting started with this polenta, which I personally think is the perfect cozy…ish, transitional recipe to welcome the cooler days ahead.

overhead photo of raw mushrooms and butter

One of my favorite parts about this recipe?

It’s so quick and easy to make. It uses just one sheet pan and one pot, and allows the oven to do all the work for you! Love a more hands-free recipe.

overhead photo of Mushrooms and Chickpea on baking sheet before roasting

So here are the details on how I like to prepare this colorful, delicious dinner.

Your first step is to get the mushrooms and chickpeas roasting in the oven. After a lot of trial and error, I found the perfect method for getting insanely flavorful mushrooms and perfectly crisp chickpeas…slow roasting.

Start by tossing the mushrooms and chickpeas with olive oil, plenty of fresh thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper. You’ll want to make sure to coat everything well in olive oil to ensure the mushrooms turn golden and the chickpeas are crisp. The key here is to first roast the chickpeas at a lower oven temperature. Then crank the heat up for the final few minutes of cooking. This chars the mushrooms on the edges and gets the chickpeas golden and crispy.

While that’s happening, make the polenta on the stove. If you’ve never made homemade polenta, I’m excited to introduce you to it. It’s delicious and so easy to make.

I like to use instant polenta to keep the cooking process quick and effortless. Simply boil water, whisk in the polenta, and allow to cook for a few minutes until it’s thick and creamy. It’s that simple.

The most important ingredient when making polenta – the butter. If there’s one thing my mom taught me about cooking polenta…if you really want it to taste delicious…add butter! Yep, she’s pretty smart.

overhead photo of Thyme Roasted Mushrooms and Chickpeas on baking sheet

So, I turned to one of my favorites, Land O Lakes® Butter with Olive Oil and Sea Salt.

What I love about this butter is that it quickly melts into the polenta, flavoring it with hints of sweet cream, savory olive oil, and flaky sea salt. It’s the perfect balance and really helps to highlight the flavors and creaminess of the polenta.

Beyond delicious.

Since I wanted to keep the recipe full of healthy ingredients, I stirred in green kale…a superfood powerhouse. If you don’t love kale, spinach is an equally great alternative.

overhead close up photo of Pesto Polenta with Thyme Roasted Mushrooms and Chickpeas

By the time everything is finished roasting, the polenta will be ready. Now it’s time to serve everything up. You know me, I have to go a little above and beyond, so here’s exactly how I plate this dish.

Spoon the polenta into your favorite bowls…I’m all about making things extra pretty. Swirl a few spoonfuls of pesto over the polenta, then add burrata cheese. You might not think the cheese is necessary. But if you really want to do this dinner right, trust me, add the burrata.

Next, spoon those thyme-roasted mushrooms and crisp chickpeas over the polenta. Finish with a pat more of butter…you must do this, it’s just too good not to. And a pinch of flaky sea salt.

The perfect bowl of polenta – topped with golden roasted mushrooms, crisp chickpeas, and just a little burrata too. It does not getter better.

My suggestion to you? Once that first cool afternoon blows in, plan to make this. It’s such a great bowl to cozy up to when the weather cools off.

overhead photo of Pesto Polenta with Thyme Roasted Mushrooms and Chickpeas with spoon in bowl and 2 bowls in photo

If you make this Pesto Polenta with Thyme Roasted Mushrooms and Chickpeas, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Watch The How To Video:

Pesto Polenta with Thyme-Roasted Mushrooms and Chickpeas

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings: 6

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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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds wild mushrooms, roughly torn
  • 1 can (14 ounce) chickpeas, drained and patted dry
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes

Creamy Polenta

Instructions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Position the oven rack in the upper 1/3 of
    the oven.
    2. On a rimmed baking sheet, combine the olive oil, mushrooms, chickpeas, thyme,
    garlic, and a pinch each of salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
    Transfer to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Increase the heat to 475
    degrees F. Toss the mushrooms and chickpeas, then return to the oven and
    continue baking another 5-10 minutes until crisp on the edges. Watch closely.
    3. Meanwhile, make the polenta. In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups water 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 butter with olive oil, kale, and 2
    tablespoons pesto, stirring until the kale has wilted, about 3 minutes. If the polenta thickens too much, thin with additional water.
    4. Divide the polenta between bowls and break the burrata over the polenta. Spoon the mushrooms and chickpeas over tip. Drizzle with addition pesto. Enjoy!
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horizontal photo of Pesto Polenta with Thyme Roasted Mushrooms and Chickpeas and butter in photo

{This post is sponsored by Land O’Lakes. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Half Baked Harvest cooking!}

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Comments

  1. I made this tonight and it’s amazing – used your lemon basil pesto that I have stocked from the last of the basil plant. Great hearty and healthy meal for meatless monday!

  2. 5 stars
    I loved everything about this recipe…except the burrata (sorry Tieghan – I try to like cheese, but I don’t think I’m a cheese person). However, without it, the recipe was 5 stars for sure! The pesto and the balsamic mushrooms paired very well together. My chickpeas were crisp – I removed the skins which seems to help. I used spinach in the polenta as I didn’t have any kale on hand – I love sneaking in green veggies.

    1. Hey Cindy,
      I think fresh mushrooms works best here! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  3. 2 stars
    They don’t sell “wild mushrooms” in any grocery store near me so I had to roll the dice on oyster mushrooms, which worked fine. I’m not sure what I did wrong but this dish had no flavor for me! I followed the recipe exactly, everything was cooked well it was just…flavorless. A swing and a miss for me, unfortunately.

    1. Hey Lola,
      I would just use whatever butter you enjoy:) I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  4. 5 stars
    Ok…I NEVER comment on recipes but this is totally worth a comment. Made it with a tube of polenta but followed every other part and it will become a part of our rotation. My BF’s favorite part was the mushroom/chick pea mix. He spent the evening thinking of other ways to use it (think Forrest Gump and shrimp). He wanted to eat more vegetarian meals and this definitely hit the spot!!

  5. 1 star
    Has anyone actually made the recipe or are all the comments just people who think it looks good (which it does)? I made it and nothing got crispy. Also, why burrata with this wintry dish? So I can spend an extra $10? And pesto? It just makes no sense. I usually have success in the kitchen, I think this one is just a dud.

    1. Hey Abby, did you have any questions I can help you with? I think if you read through some of the comments left on this post you will find that many have made and enjoyed this recipe. I am sorry you did not. It sounds like this just isn’t for you. If you don’t like burrata with this dish, you can of course use a cheese you do enjoy. Again, let me know if I can answer any questions for you. Hoping you had a nice weekend! Thanks! xTieghan

  6. I usually don’t like polenta that much, but these pictures were so beautiful that they made me want to try. So I just had this for dinner, and it is very good! I didn’t quite manage to get the polenta to be really creamy: it thickens whenever it gets off the stove, but it is still very tasty with all the pesto mixed in it. I’ll try to make this again for my family to prove them that polenta’s tasty !

  7. 5 stars
    Made this tonight: it was AMAZING!! (Even though I added all the pesto into the polenta- still greaaaat!)

  8. Hi! I made this and it was delicious, but I’m wondering if 325 degrees is a typo? I noticed most of your other recipes, including the Slow Roasted Mushroom Pasta (which has a similar preparation for the mushrooms + chickpeas) call for roasting at 425.

    I cooked mine at 325 and the mushrooms turned out delicious, but not crispy. They also seemed to release some of their water/juices, perhaps because it was more of a low and slow burn?

    Either way, would love to know your thoughts! Thanks!

    1. Hi Emily,
      Yes this is 325, but if you were having issues with the mushrooms not getting crispy you can certainly turn your heat higher, remember all ovens can be slightly different. I hope this helps! xTieghan

  9. 4 stars
    What a cozy lunch! I added extra spices to my chickpeas…. garam masala, garlic powder, turmeric, and smoked paprika. I used sun-dried tomato pesto, as it’s what I had on hand, and I used Tofutti vegan sour cream in place of the burrata. I didn’t give it 5 starts due to the fact that it’s pretty heavy with the olive oil, butter and sour cream/cheese.

  10. 5 stars
    Made this over the weekend and subbed fresh mozzarella for the hurrays. Everyone loved it! My husband was skeptical about putting kale on the polenta but he liked it a lot. And the kids loved it. Will definitely put this into the dinner rotation regularly. Thank you!

  11. 5 stars
    Made this tonight. My husband was suspicious of the kale in the polenta but after dinner he announced he would like to have the meal again! The kids scene liked it, one loved the crispy garbanzo means, the other the pesto, Winner all around. Thank you, Tieghan!!!

    1. Hi Alison! That is so amazing to hear! Thank you for trying this, I am glad it turned out so well for you! xTieghan

  12. This recipe was SO good. I’ll admit I was skeptical about the addition of the pesto at first- I thought there might be too many flavors going on, but everything about this was soo delicious and satisfying. I just used dried thyme, and fresh mozzarella instead of burrata, and it turned out great! Thank you!!

  13. 4 stars
    Mushrooms and chickpeas are amazing, best ever. The plus one ate all the garlic like it was candy also. Polenta – not my thing at all I realized. Pesto and kale did not help. How is polenta a thing you eat? Strange thing. And lots of clumps.
    Anyway will for sure be making the mushroom and chickpeas again but will trade polenta for something more edible :)) love all your recipes tieghan. Keep it up!