Chickpea Polenta with Sautéed Mushrooms, Kale and Cashew Sauce

Chickpea Polenta

This post actually started many years ago when I first tried a recipe for Chickpea Fritters from the fabulous Clean Food cookbook by Terry Walters.The fritters are made from chickpea flour and flavored with carrots, onions and rosemary and full of flavor. When fried they get toasty and crisp on the outside while staying light and airy on the inside. I was instantly hooked because they were so delicious.

One of the things I love about Clean Food, is that Terry Walters has arranged the recipes by season. So it is very easy to go to the summer section, pick out a recipe and know that the produce will be in season and available. You should absolutely buy this cookbook and make her excellent, well thought out recipes!!

After many times of making the fritters I got to thinking about what would happen if I didn’t cut up and fry the fritter mixture but instead…. baked it?

So I gave it a try and it turns out that it is fabulous this way too!

There are three steps to Terry Walters’s Chickpea Fritter recipe.

  1. All the ingredients are added to a pot and continuously whisked until thickened.
  2. The thickened mixture is poured into a casserole dish, covered and refrigerated for at least two hours.
  3. The resulting hardened mixture is cut into pieces and fried in a skillet resulting in amazing yumminess!

The adaption here includes the same ingredients and the first two steps but the third step takes a detour to the oven.


I would like to take a moment here to acknowledge Ms. Walters for kindly and generously allowing me to post her recipe AND whole heartedly support my adaptions. THANK YOU! I hope this recipe makes you proud.

IMG_5001 - Version 2

Now, let me just tell you a thing or two about this recipe. It is time to call up some good friends and invite them over for dinner because this dish needs to be shared. You can’t keep it to yourself. In fact, I originally thought that this would be a great recipe for a potluck but upon further review, I have decided that it is too elegant for that. No, this beautiful culinary delight could be served in an incredible plant-based restaurant like Greens in San Francisco. If not there, then in your lovely home with friends enjoying good food, good wine and good times.

Can you tell that I am excited about this recipe? I am. The polenta adaption just has the most wonderful flavor when combined with the kale, sautéed king oyster mushrooms, onions and then drizzled with this creamy cashew sauce. Heaven.



  • Make the polenta (step one and two) the day before.
  • Soak, drain and rinse the cashews ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • I make my chickpea flour in the Vitamix but it can also be found at your local health food store.
  • Steal the two tablespoons of onion needed for the cashew sauce from the onion for the topping. It’s okay. I promise.
  • I use more red onion and carrot in my adaption of the chickpea polenta. That is why there is a range. Feel free to explore this spectrum for yourself.
  • Now you may be sly and think that you can get by without the refrigeration part and put the polenta straight in the oven but, unfortunately, you are wrong. Trust me.

Chickpea Polenta with Sautéed Mushrooms, Kale and Cashew Sauce

Yield: 4-6 (4 if serving alone, 6 is serving with side dishes)

Active Time: 30 minutes to make polenta – at least two hours between to harden the polenta in the refrigerator first. 30-40 minutes for the toppings and sauce.


Chickpea Polenta:

  • 2 cups chickpea flour
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1/4 – 3/4 red onion, minced 
  • 1 – 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil


  • 1 bunch curly kale, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 6 oz. king oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 heirloom tomato, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil – or oil of your choice

Cashew Sauce:

  • 1 cup whole cashews, soaked 30 minutes – 2 hours
  • 1 clove garlic, small
  • 2 Tbsp. yellow onion, minced 
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup water



The “make ahead of time” part and the original directions from Clean Food.

In a large pot over no heat, combine chickpea flour, water, salt, onion, carrot, rosemary and olive oil. Whisking continuously, turn heat to medium-high and continue to whisk until mixture becomes quite thick (about 15 minutes).

Oil an 8×8-inch casserole dish and spread mixture evenly across the bottom. Cool slightly, cover and refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours).

Two to twenty-four hours later (≈30-40 minutes before dinner time):

Remove the set polenta from the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350˚. Bake for 30 minutes. Polenta will be done when you notice the surface looks cracked and dry and the center feels relatively firm.


Cashew sauce:

Meantime, make sure the cashews have been soaked, drained and rinsed.

Place cashews, garlic, onion, salt, lemon juice and water in the Vitamix (or another high speed blender) and liquify. Set aside.



Chop, slice and dice the kale, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes.


In a skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and allow it to warm up. Add onions and cook for a couple of minutes until soft. Add mushrooms and continue to sauté mixture until nicely browned. Remove from heat. Transfer onions and mushrooms to a plate and set aside.

Return the skillet to the stove – it should still be hot (no need to turn on stove). Add kale and a tablespoon or two of water. Cover with a lid. The kale will steam and take on the flavors of the mushroom and onions. It should only take a minute or two.

At this point, the polenta should be completely cooked in the oven. Remove polenta from the oven. Top with kale. Drizzle with cashew sauce. Top with mushroom and onion mixture. Drizzle with cashew sauce. Top with diced tomatoes. Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper.






Serve and enjoy.

IMG_4986 - Version 2

If you have a casserole dish that is clear glass, I would use it. That way your guest will be able to see the polenta on the bottom. Otherwise, they have to wait until the first serving is out to see what it looks like. This is also another reason for possibly making it as individual serving size.


I am really looking forward to hearing about your experiences with this recipe. Perhaps you will adapt it even further. Regardless, I am thrilled that you stopped by to take a gander at this post.

With much love and appreciation – Karen

4 thoughts on “Chickpea Polenta with Sautéed Mushrooms, Kale and Cashew Sauce

  1. I LOVE this adaptation and hope your readers do too! Thank you so much for sharing this clean food journey and for your kind words and shout out. I hope you (and Al) both EAT CLEAN LIVE WELL! : )


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s