Asparagus Polenta Bake Recipe - Italian Cuisine

Asparagus Polenta Bake

Asparagus Polenta Bake Recipe - Italian Cuisine
Region / culture: Italy | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Servings: 4


Asparagus Polenta Bake
Asparagus Polenta Bake

Asparagus Polenta Bake is a delightful and nutritious dish that combines the earthy flavors of portobello mushrooms and asparagus with the creamy texture of polenta, all topped with a golden layer of Parmesan cheese. This recipe is perfect for those seeking a comforting yet healthy meal that is both easy to prepare and packed with flavor. Whether you're a vegetarian looking for new meal ideas or simply someone who enjoys delicious, wholesome food, this dish is sure to satisfy.


The origins of polenta date back to the ancient Roman times when it was made from various grains and was a staple food for the Roman soldiers. Asparagus, on the other hand, has been enjoyed since the time of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. The combination of asparagus and polenta in a bake is a relatively modern twist on these ancient ingredients, showcasing how traditional foods can be adapted into new, exciting dishes. This Asparagus Polenta Bake is a testament to the enduring popularity of both asparagus and polenta, brought together in a dish that is both comforting and nutritious.


How to prepare

  1. In a large skillet, sauté mushrooms and asparagus in oil for 2 to 3 minutes. Then, cover and cook until the asparagus is crisp-tender, which should take about 5 minutes.
  2. In a medium saucepan, mash the polenta. Mix in water and cook over medium heat, whisking until the mixture becomes smooth and hot. This process should take approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the mushrooms, asparagus, and sun-dried tomatoes.
  4. Spoon the mixture into 4 ramekins or a shallow casserole or quiche dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake at 425°F (218°C) until the cheese is browned and the polenta is puffed, which should take around 20 minutes.


  • For a vegan version, substitute the Parmesan cheese with a dairy-free cheese alternative or nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor.
  • Add a layer of cooked, crumbled sausage between the polenta and vegetables for a meaty version.
  • Incorporate other vegetables such as spinach, bell peppers, or zucchini for added flavor and nutrition.


  1. ↑ If sun-dried tomatoes need to be softened, soak in hot water to cover, 5 to 10 minutes.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure your Asparagus Polenta Bake turns out perfectly, consider the following tips:

- Use fresh asparagus for the best flavor and texture. Look for bright green stalks with firm, closed tips.

- When sautéing the mushrooms and asparagus, make sure not to overcrowd the pan to allow them to brown nicely.

- For a smoother polenta, whisk continuously while cooking to prevent lumps from forming.

- If you prefer a crispier top, broil the bake for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking time, watching closely to prevent burning.

Serving Suggestions

This Asparagus Polenta Bake can be served as a main dish or a hearty side. For a complete meal, pair it with a simple green salad dressed with olive oil and lemon juice or a side of roasted vegetables. It's also lovely served alongside grilled chicken or fish for those who desire a bit of extra protein.

Cooking Techniques

The key techniques in this recipe include sautéing the vegetables to bring out their flavors, cooking and smoothing out the polenta, and baking the assembled dish to meld the flavors together and achieve a golden, crispy top.

Ingredient Substitutions

If portobello mushrooms are not available, substitute with another type of mushroom, such as cremini or button mushrooms.

- Polenta can be homemade using coarse cornmeal if a prepared Italian-polenta package is not available.

- Sun-dried tomatoes can be replaced with cherry tomatoes for a fresher, slightly tangier flavor.

Make Ahead Tips

The vegetable mixture and polenta can be prepared a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, assemble the dish with the pre-made ingredients, adding a few extra minutes to the baking time if necessary.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the Asparagus Polenta Bake in individual ramekins for a personalized touch, or present it in a beautiful casserole dish garnished with fresh asparagus tips and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for an elegant presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

A light, crisp white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio pairs beautifully with the flavors of this dish. For a non-alcoholic option, consider a sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon or lime to complement the meal.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Leftover Asparagus Polenta Bake can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until warmed through, or microwave individual servings for a quick option.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Asparagus Polenta Bake contains approximately 250-300 calories, making it a moderate-calorie option suitable for those managing their calorie intake. The exact calorie count can vary based on the specific ingredients used and portion sizes.


This Asparagus Polenta Bake is a good source of carbohydrates, with the polenta providing the bulk of the carbs. Carbohydrates are essential for energy, and this dish offers a balanced amount, making it a great option for a fulfilling meal. The fiber from the vegetables also contributes to the total carbohydrate content, aiding in digestion and providing a sense of fullness.


The fats in this recipe come primarily from the olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Olive oil is a healthy monounsaturated fat, known for its heart health benefits. Parmesan cheese, while higher in saturated fat, is used in moderation, contributing to the dish's flavor without adding excessive fat. This balance ensures the dish is both nutritious and delicious.


Proteins in this dish are provided by the Parmesan cheese and to a lesser extent by the mushrooms and asparagus. While not a high-protein dish, it offers a moderate amount of protein, making it a suitable part of a balanced diet. For those looking to increase the protein content, consider adding a lean protein source on the side or incorporating it into the bake.

Vitamins and minerals

Asparagus is a nutritional powerhouse, providing an excellent source of vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as folate and iron. Mushrooms contribute B vitamins and selenium, while Parmesan cheese adds calcium and phosphorus. Together, these ingredients make the Asparagus Polenta Bake not only tasty but also a great way to boost your intake of essential vitamins and minerals.


This recipe contains dairy (Parmesan cheese) and may not be suitable for individuals with a dairy allergy or intolerance. It is gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free, making it accessible to those with common food allergies or sensitivities.


Overall, the Asparagus Polenta Bake is a balanced and nutritious dish, offering a good mix of carbohydrates, moderate fats, and proteins, along with a variety of vitamins and minerals. It's a heart-healthy, gluten-free option that can fit into various dietary needs and preferences.


The Asparagus Polenta Bake is a versatile, nutritious, and delicious dish that showcases the flavors of fresh vegetables and creamy polenta. With options for customization and make-ahead preparation, it's a fantastic recipe for both weeknight dinners and special occasions. Whether you're looking to impress guests or simply enjoy a comforting meal at home, this recipe is sure to become a favorite.

How did I get this recipe?

I can still picture the first time I came across this recipe for Asparagus Polenta Bake. It was a warm summer day, and I was visiting my friend Maria at her cozy cottage by the lake. Maria was an excellent cook and always had the most delicious recipes up her sleeve.

As we sat on her porch sipping iced tea and chatting, Maria suddenly jumped up with excitement. "I have the perfect recipe for us to try today!" she exclaimed, disappearing into her kitchen. I could hear her rummaging around in her cupboards and drawers as I waited eagerly for her to return.

When Maria emerged, she was holding a well-worn recipe card in her hand. "I learned this recipe from my grandmother when I was a little girl," she said, her eyes sparkling with fond memories. "It's a family favorite, and I know you're going to love it."

She handed me the recipe card, and I read through the ingredients and instructions with growing curiosity. Asparagus, polenta, Parmesan cheese, and fresh herbs were just a few of the delicious ingredients listed. I had never tried anything quite like it before, and I was eager to see how it would all come together.

Maria guided me through the process, showing me how to cook the asparagus until it was tender and crisp and how to make a creamy polenta base to hold everything together. The scent of garlic and herbs filled the air as we worked, and my mouth watered in anticipation of the final product.

When the dish was finally ready, we sat down at Maria's dining table to enjoy our creation. The first bite was a revelation – the creamy polenta, the tender asparagus, the sharp Parmesan cheese – it was a symphony of flavors and textures that danced on my taste buds.

I couldn't believe how simple yet delicious the recipe was, and I knew I had to add it to my own repertoire of dishes. Maria was kind enough to write out a copy of the recipe for me, and I tucked it away in my recipe box with a smile on my face.

Over the years, I have made Asparagus Polenta Bake countless times, each time tweaking the recipe to suit my own tastes and adding my own little touches here and there. It has become a staple in my kitchen, a go-to dish for family gatherings and dinner parties alike.

I have shared the recipe with friends and family, passing on the tradition that Maria started all those years ago. Every time I make it, I think of her and that warm summer day by the lake, where I first learned to make this delicious dish.

Now, as I stand in my own kitchen preparing Asparagus Polenta Bake for my grandchildren, I can't help but smile at the thought of passing on this recipe to another generation. It is a reminder of the power of food to bring people together, to create memories, and to nourish both body and soul.

And as I take a bite of the creamy polenta, the tender asparagus, and the sharp Parmesan cheese, I am filled with gratitude for the simple joys of cooking and sharing a meal with loved ones. This recipe will always hold a special place in my heart, a reminder of the love and friendship that inspired me to learn how to make it in the first place.


| Asparagus Recipes | Healthy Recipes For Diabetic Friends | Italian Recipes | Parmesan Cheese Recipes | Polenta Recipes | Portobello Mushroom Recipes | Sun-dried Tomato Recipes |

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