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Mushroom, Polenta, Cavolo Nero

Mary McCartney
  • Serves: 1
  • Preparation: 10
  • Cooking: 30
  • Ready: 40

Polenta infused with fresh herbs, served with earthy, meaty-textured mushrooms and cavolo nero, all lifted with fresh lemon.


For the polenta

  • 750 ml (3 cups plus 2 tablespoons) vegetable stock 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 125 g (¾ cup) polenta (not quick cook)
  • 2 tablespoons B12 nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • sea salt, to taste (optional — the stock may be salty enough)

For the sautéed vegetables

  • 3 leaves cavolo nero or kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 300 g (10½ oz) mixed mushrooms, brushed clean of any dirt and sliced (I use chanterelle, cremini and oyster mushrooms)
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (plant-based)
  • zest of ½ lemon, plus more to serve


To make the polenta

Heat the vegetable stock in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer, add the bay leaf and thyme and then stir in the polenta. Turn the heat down a little and stir often, until it forms a porridge-like consistency, checking the polenta packaging for recommended cooking time. Once thickened, fish out the bay leaf and discard. Then stir in the yeast flakes and olive oil for extra gloss and flavour, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the sautéed vegetables

While the polenta is cooking, cut the woody spine away from the cavolo nero. Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes, strain and slice thinly. Heat the olive oil and garlic in a medium frying pan. Add the sliced mushrooms and thyme and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, and fry until the liquid released from the mushrooms has nearly evaporated. Add the cavolo nero to the pan and fry for 1 minute. Finally, stir in the lemon zest.

To serve

Spoon the polenta onto the serving plates, and top with the sautéed vegetables. Grate over a little more lemon zest to finish.

Additonal notes

Recipe taken from Feeding Creativity by Mary McCartney, published by TASCHEN, £40

Instagram: @marymccartney
Twitter: @maryamccartney

The cover of Mary McCartney's 2023 book, 'Feeding Creativity'

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