Since ancient times mushrooms have been consumed for both their delicate taste and their believed "special powers". The Egyptians thought they gave immortality while the Romans deemed mushrooms as a food for the gods. It is no secret today that mushrooms are awesome when it comes to heath benefits! These unique fungi are loaded with immune building compounds which in turn have been found to prevent all kinds of cancerous diseases (including breast cancer). Not only are they packed with cancer fighting properties but they also contain antioxidant support which prevents oxidative damage to our DNA.
Onions are one of those wonder veggies that can be transformed from burn-your-tongue spicy to savory sweet in just a few minutes! When sauteing onions I always add a pinch of sea salt in order to help the onions breakdown and show off their inner sweetness. Not only do onions give recipes a nice flavor, but they also can also provide a number of health benefits. Recent studies have shown that onions may help bone density which may come in handy during our older years. Onions have also shown to be very beneficial when battling a bacterial infection due to its sulfur compounds. Be careful when cooking these beauties though! Too much heat or too much storage time will lessen the health benefits found within the onions.
Creamy Polenta with Smoky Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions
1/2 cup instant polenta
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
2 cups fresh mushrooms of your choice, sliced (I used baby portobellos)
1 large onion
1 1/4 tsp smoked sea salt, divided
fresh herbs and sesame seeds for garnish
To prepare the cashew cream add your soaked cashews to a high speed blender along with about 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp agave nectar and 1/3 cup filtered water. Blend until very very smooth. Add more water if needed.
For the polenta, bring about 1 1/2 cups filtered water to a boil (or you can follow the package instructions). Next, add in the instant polenta and remove the pot from the heat. Continuously stir the polenta until all the water is absorbed. Next, stir in about 1/3 - 1/2 cup cashew cream and set the pot aside for later.
For the topping, add the sliced onions to a large nonstick skillet along with the remaining smoked sea salt. Once the onions begin to sizzle add in about 1/4 cup filtered water, followed by the sliced mushrooms. Add more water as needed until the onions begin to brown and the mushrooms are soft. I usually taste a bit of onion to make sure it is nice and sweet. If you like your onions a little sweeter, continue to saute and add a bit more salt until the desired taste is achieved.
To assemble, divide the polenta into two servings and top with the mushrooms and onions, serve alongside some winter herbs, sesame seeds and extra cashew cream if desired. Enjoy!