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Herbed Polenta – Vegan Under Pressure

Polenta has gone upscale, but it's easy to make at home for pennies. Another bonus: Pressure-cooked polenta doesn’t need stirring. You might end up with a lump or two but cooking this way saves a lot of time. Adding sun-dried tomatoes (see variation below) or dried mushrooms when cooking polenta adds big flavors. Be sure to get coarse polenta (sometimes called coarse corn grits), rather than corn meal or corn flour which are much finer and will turn your pressure cooker into a fine mess.


  • 1 –2 tablespoons olive oil optional
  • 1/2 cup finely minced onion
  • 2 or more teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 cups broth or water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley divided
  • 1 cup coarse polenta


  • Heat the oil, if using, in the cooker over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté 1 minute. Add garlic and sauté for another minute.
  • Add the water or broth, salt, bay leaf, the oregano, rosemary, half of both the basil and parsley, and stir. Sprinkle the polenta over the water. Do not stir.
  • Lock the lid in place. Bring to high pressure. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Let the pressure come down naturally, releasing any remaining pressure after 10 minutes has elapsed. If the pressure releases before 10 minutes is up, let the polenta sit in the pot for the full 10 minutes.
  • Remove the lid, tilting it away from you. Remove the bay leaf. Whisk the polenta to smooth out any lumps. If the polenta seems too thin, stir and simmer over medium heat for a few minutes, or lock the lid back on the cooker for 5 minutes and let sit.
  • Serve as is, or pour into glass pans to cool. Once cool, bake, grill or pan fry.
  • Variation: Sun-dried tomato and olive polenta: add 1/3 cup finely diced sun-dried tomatoes when cooking the polenta. After the polenta is finished cooking, add 1/4 cup chopped olives, of your choice and stir in.


Excerpted from VEGAN UNDER PRESSURE, (c) 2016 by Jill Nussinow. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.