Polenta and Sweet Potato Mash with Mushroom Sauce

In this mouthwatering dish, juicy cremini mushrooms and blistered cherry tomatoes meld into a hearty base of mashed sweet potato and polenta. Mash to your preference—on the creamy side, or leave it chunky. Look for ready-made tube-style polenta in the pasta aisle or near refrigerated fresh pastas; opt for the lowest-sodium version you can find, and go easy on the salt in the rest of the dish.

By Nancy Macklin, RDN,


  • 3 cups cubed cooked sweet potatoes (peeled, if desired)
  • 1 16- to 18-oz. tube polenta, cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 5 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 8-oz. package fresh cremini mushrooms, halved
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¾ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted


  • In a large saucepan combine sweet potatoes, polenta, onion powder, and 1 cup water. Cook over medium 10 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Mash to desired consistency. Gradually stir in spinach; cook until wilted. Reduce heat to low; cover and keep warm.
  • For sauce, in a large skillet sauté mushrooms, onion, and garlic over medium 5 minutes, adding water, 1 to 2 Tbsp. at a time, as needed to prevent sticking. Stir in cherry tomatoes. Cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes more or until tomatoes soften and blister. In a small bowl stir together vegetable broth, Italian seasoning, and arrowroot powder. Add to vegetables and cook just until thickened. Season with pepper.
  • Top polenta mixture with sauce. Sprinkle with pine nuts.

Comments (19)

(5 from 12 votes)

Recipe Rating

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Norma Heitman

Well, I thought this basic recipe was a fun idea, so made one winter night when feeling very v creative. Added and modified a bit: 3 Tablespoons roasted chopped garlic, doubled Italian seasoning, onion powder and added 1 tsp of garlic powder, used regular white mushrooms, added one zucchini, and used chopped cashews because I could not find my pine nuts anywhere!!! We loved it

Aimee Croteau

I just finished making this and am eating it as I type. It turned out delicious for me, but I added salt, and I can see how it could turn out very bland with no salt added. I subbed (higher-sodium) veggie broth every time it called to add water, and I added 1 teaspoon of salt to the mash. The polenta I bought also has salt added to it, but not too much. I also doubled the amount of Italian seasoning in the sauce. I skipped adding salt to the sauce since my veggie broth already has sodium in it, and at that point the mash was flavorful enough anyway. Lastly, I didn't want to buy pine nuts (they're $10-15 for a small container where I live), so I left them out and it does not feel lacking in any way. Overall, these substitutions were very easy for me to make without having to deviate much from the original recipe.

Patricia Hall

I made my own adjustments to this recipe as I do with any recipe and it was delicious. Compliments to the chef.

Pamela Roberts

It seems clear to me that if you want more converts, you have to add more salt, herbs spices and flavor to many more of your recipes I hope your staff is reading between the lines on many recent comments I have read on many of your recipes.

Cynthia Prouty

Delicious! I am modifying it by roasting the sweet potatoes, cutting them into chunks and then storing them into the polenta. I also am using homemade polenta rather than the tube.

Cynthia Prouty

Stirring them into the polenta. I also am using salt in the recipe and vegetable stock with salt.


I had high hopes but this is so bland. Nothing helped not red pepper or salt or nutritional yeast. I wish i would’ve read the reviews first before making it


The reason it’s bland is there is no salt. Add salt. Most recipes here and other places use little or no salt. Ugh. Add salt to YOUR taste and I’m sure it will be delicious. That’s what I do. Hope this helps


I significantly modified and it was delicious. •Mash: Used veggie stock instead of water (used more than a cup, eyeballed the texture to be not too thick polenta but not to thin). Did only 1 Cup of the sweet potatoes. Added it about 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast and vegan butter. I added salt, garlic and onion powered. I put the spinach in the “sauce” •Sauce: Aside from adding the spinach to the sauce I added a lot of salt, pepper, Italian seasoning (I didn’t make the stock or use the arrow root just tossed it all in the pan) and added red pepper flakes It was an Italian play on shrimp and grits!


I didn't like this at all. After reading the other reviews, I added extra garlic and some Liquid Aminos to the polenta mixture, but still couldn't rescue it. The sauce was really good (I added extra basil and rosemary from the garden), so if I make it again I'll just put the spinach in the sauce, and serve it over brown rice pasta, skipping the polenta mixture altogether. Also, I didn't think there was enough sauce to go with the mush. I cooked the mushrooms (which I doubled, yay) in the air fryer because "sautéing" in water just didn't sound appetizing at all. That worked well.


I liked the recipe, but it needs more flavor. I see in the comments that most added more seasoning/herbs. I added some fresh basil, but it still wasn't enough. I like my food more flavorful. Next time I will add more. I have noticed a few of the main dish recipes on this site need much more seasoning than the recipe calls for.


Very interesting!


This recipe was fantastic! At first, I accidentally added garlic and onion to the sweet potato and polenta cooking pot. I left it there and also added it to the sauce. It was absolutely delicious, everyone, including the kids loved it


I forgot to mention I added a little cooking sherry to the mushroom sauce, and used herbs de Provence rather than Italian seasoning.


I had roasted butternut squash and I used that instead of the sweet potatoes. I also used about a tablespoon of fresh chopped rosemary in the suace with the other ingredients and topped it with a little fresh parsley. My husband likes things spicy, so he added his favorite hot sauce but it was fine for me! It was fantastic and so easy to pull together. This one is a keeper, for sure. It's a five star main dish. YUM!

Melody Thomas-Murphy

This recipe needed something to elevate it. It was a tad bland. Not sure what to add or change. I like what the other reviewer suggested- roasting the sweet potatoes, that may give it more depth.

K Krupke

I was thinking the same! Also I think a drizzle of white balsamic vinegar just before serving would make a nice finish to it.


I did roast the sweet potatoes (in the air fryer) but still didn't like the polenta mixture. The sauce was good.


We liked this. Next time I will cut up the mushrooms more - halves seemed a little large. I replaced the spinach with kale because that is what I had on hand and it was good. It was quick and easy once I roasted the sweet potatoes and made the polenta.

About the Author

Headshot of Nancy Macklin

About the Author

Nancy Macklin, RDN

Nancy Macklin has a bachelor of science in dietetics from Iowa State University and a Master of Science in health services administration from the University of Saint Francis. Macklin worked as a hospital-based clinical dietitian, providing counseling for diabetes, heart disease, and weight loss and as a food service director in health care dining sites. She now serves as a test kitchen dietitian, developing 500+ recipes per year. She is a member of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics and International Association of Culinary Professionals. Find her on LinkedIn.
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