October 21, 2015 65

Creamy Pumpkin Polenta with Balsamic Roasted Beets

Vegan, creamy pumpkin polenta.
Pumpkin Polenta with Balsamic Roasted Beets | Creamy, savory pumpkin polenta, topped with balsamic roasted beets and herbs. Naturally gluten-free, and vegan polenta for an easy fall vegetarian meal.

It is four-thirty.

In the morning.

I am up way too early.

And went to bed way too late.

And, I’m not just up.

I am already at the airport.

I am here catching a flight back home to New York right now.

Because my best friend is getting married!

And so, I am going to try to keep this really short and sweet.

Today is all about pumpkin.

And this creamy pumpkin polenta with balsamic roasted beets. Have you ever worked with or eaten pumpkin in a savory application before? If you haven’t, keep in mind that pumpkin puree tastes nothing like pumpkin spice.

If you’re expecting a crazy, wild, punch you in the face, over the top fall flavor here, then this is not the recipe for you. Conversely, if you are looking for a cozy, comforting, bold, savory fall flavor, this is indeed the right recipe for you.

Pumpkin, as we know, is a member of the squash family. And it has a similar in taste to other mild fall and winter squashes like acorn or delicata. But with the texture closest to butternut squash. So with that combination it is a really dreamy vegetable to work with. And it really is the perfect squash, as far as I’m concerned.

Pumpkin, in my humble opinion, should be used more in savory ways. But this is coming from me, a girl that has never and will never be into pumpkin spice lattes or pumpkin spiced drinks of any kind {coffee or tea or espresso or chai or anything really over PSLs always}. Pumpkin should be for pie. Or pumpkin polenta.

This creamy pumpkin polenta topped with roasted balsamic beets is a great fall and winter meal. And comforting in so many ways. The pumpkin polenta is comfy base that holds the vibrant, complex, flavor bomb balsamic roasted beets perfectly. It’s an easy meal that your entire family will love, and it comes together in just thirty minutes.

Today Sara from Cake Over Steak has rounded up about seventy bloggers all in the name of the pumpkin. You can get all the pumpkin recipes by visiting Sara’s blog. And below are some of my savory favorites from today’s pumpkin party.

These pumpkin ricotta gnudi from Sonja at Ginger and Toasted Sesame.

These pumpkin stuffed turnip ravioli from Grace at Earthy Feast.

This pumpkin flatbread from Alanna at The Bojon Gourmet.

This caramelized onion galette from Cynthia at Two Red Bowls.

This pumpkin swirled mashed potatoes from Amanda at Heartbeet Kitchen.

And, this pumpkin goat cheese polenta from Lily at Kale and Caramel.

Pumpkin Polenta with Balsamic Roasted Beets | Creamy, savory pumpkin polenta, topped with balsamic roasted beets and herbs. Naturally gluten-free, and vegan polenta for an easy fall vegetarian meal.

Pumpkin Polenta with Balsamic Roasted Beets | Creamy, savory pumpkin polenta, topped with balsamic roasted beets and herbs. Naturally gluten-free, and vegan polenta for an easy fall vegetarian meal.

Pumpkin Polenta with Balsamic Roasted Beets | Creamy, savory pumpkin polenta, topped with balsamic roasted beets and herbs. Naturally gluten-free, and vegan polenta for an easy fall vegetarian meal.

Creamy Pumpkin Polenta

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Serves 4

This recipe is naturally gluten-free and vegan. For additional flavor, you could use butter in place of the olive oil and add a sprinkle of goat cheese or parmesan, if desired.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 - 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree {see notes}
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Balsamic Roasted Beets {see below}


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add in the shallots and sauté for 2 minutes. Then add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Then turn the heat up to medium, add in the broth and bring to a simmer. Next slowly add in the polenta while stirring constantly, and bring it to a simmer again. 

Turn the heat back down to low and add in the pumpkin, thyme, sage, paprika, salt and pepper, and stir. Cook the polenta while stirring occasionally until done.

Scoop the polenta into 4 bowls, and then top it with the Roasted Balsamic Beets and pepper.

Recipe Notes

Cooking times and liquid amounts will vary depending on the kind of polenta you are using - read your package instructions and adjust accordingly.

Roasting your own pumpkin using pie pumpkins for fresh purée is best. 

Balsamic Roasted Beets

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Serves 4

This recipe is very easy to double.


  • 2 medium beets, diced small
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • sea salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Toss in the beets and combine well. Pour the entire mixture onto the baking sheet and spread out evenly.

Roast for 15 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven, and flip the beets. Return the tray to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes or until tender.

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65 Responses to "Creamy Pumpkin Polenta with Balsamic Roasted Beets"

  1. Reply


    October 21, 2015 at 6:50 AM

    God, this looks like a hug in a bowl.

  2. Reply

    Michelle @ Hummingbird High

    October 21, 2015 at 7:59 AM

    This looks so incredibly tasty! I just love the colors.

  3. Reply


    October 21, 2015 at 8:23 AM

    I am beyond excited about this recipe. What a perfect savory pumpkin combo! Girl, you’re killing the pumpkin game.

  4. Reply


    October 21, 2015 at 8:26 AM

    A recipe totally to my liking! xo, Lisa

  5. Reply


    October 21, 2015 at 9:35 AM

    Work it girl! Looks divine. I just made beets last night {my hands are still stained} and have polenta in the pantry {read: stuffed in the kitchen cabinet}. So excited to make this for lunch. Such pretty colors too! xo

  6. Reply

    Meg @ BeardandBonnet

    October 21, 2015 at 9:43 AM

    This looks so amazing. Those colors make me swoon a bit!

  7. Reply

    Sarah | Well and Full

    October 21, 2015 at 9:44 AM

    Happy Pumpkin Party! I love that you chose a savory route.

  8. Reply

    Liora (Allthingsloveli)

    October 21, 2015 at 11:09 AM

    I have never thought of flavoring polenta. This looks absolutely amazing!

  9. Reply


    October 21, 2015 at 11:15 AM

    Love these colors together – they are so representative of the beautiful fall foliage, love love. And pumpkin polenta sounds like just about the coziest thing ever. Have a great time in NY, xo!

  10. Reply


    October 21, 2015 at 12:02 PM

    This is a fantastic idea, and I love that it is vegan. I just bought a blue hubbard squash, so I will give it a go with that. If it’s as delicious as it sounds I hope you don’t mind if I post it on my blog {giving you credit of course}. I’m a new blogger on a restricted diet, and this recipe is perfect for me, and I would love to share it.

    • Reply


      October 27, 2015 at 8:49 PM

      Hi Diane, congrats on starting your blog. I do not allow my recipes to be reprinted, but I don’t mind if you share an image with a link back to my website for the ingredients/recipe in full. Best of luck to you on your blogging endeavors!

  11. Reply

    Kathryn @ The Scratch Artist

    October 21, 2015 at 12:42 PM

    This is my kind of fall bowl. Happy pumpkin day – everyone did such amazing work!

  12. Reply


    October 21, 2015 at 1:46 PM

    It’s so cool to see all these takes on polenta! Being Italian, I’ve seen it around quite a lot and never really loved it (I loved the toppings though, especially the stewed beans). Adding in pumpkin actually sounds like a wonderful idea! I think the quality of the polenta really makes the difference in creaminess and taste. In any case, the added pumpkin and that beet topping really makes me want to give polenta another chance.

    • Reply


      October 27, 2015 at 8:52 PM

      Hey Valentina! My mother-in-law lives in Bologna, and used to make polenta for my husband a lot when he was growing up. It was his love for polenta that ignited my own. The pumpkin gives it an extra layer of savory earthiness. I hope you try it and enjoy, xx.

  13. Reply

    Jessie Snyder | Faring Well

    October 21, 2015 at 5:59 PM

    You are always so creative with the simplest of ingredients, Sherrie! I just love this. Have the best time home with your fam this weekend! We are going home to visit ours too but in AZ – hugs!

    • Reply


      October 27, 2015 at 8:52 PM

      Best compliment ever, Jessie. xx

  14. Reply

    Lily | Kale & Caramel

    October 21, 2015 at 6:39 PM

    Pumpkin polenta 4 lyfe, girlfriend! This sounds amazing. I can totally taste that tangy sweet balsamic beet concoction, and it’s making me salivate. YUM! I think the two of us should just have a pumpkin polenta party, and make a million different kinds. I’m obsessed. It’s so good!

  15. Reply


    October 21, 2015 at 8:06 PM

    Polenta is the way to my heart. I absolutely love the colours in your photos. So gorgeous, Sherrie! You do such wonderful work with the ingredients placed in your care. Thank you for sharing this. I’m virtually ripping it and pinning it on my fridge for future inspiration.

    • Reply


      October 27, 2015 at 8:53 PM

      Your comment made my day, thanks so much Edlyn, xx!

  16. Reply

    genevieve @ gratitude & greens

    October 21, 2015 at 8:24 PM

    I am all about the pumpkin. You had me at creamy polenta, but then there was pumpkin and it became 100xs better. Cannot wait to recreate this in my own kitchen! Safe travels + enjoy home, Sherrie! xo

  17. Reply


    October 22, 2015 at 6:28 AM

    What a combination, Sherrie! The colors alone are enough to make me want to dig right in. Perfect cozy meal for the beginning of the cold. Have a wonderful time in NYC. Another beautiful recipe, xx.

  18. Reply


    October 22, 2015 at 7:20 PM

    I seriously just want to sit here and stare at that bowl all night! Okay, so that sounded creepy, right? Seriously, so beautiful and I love how you’ve paired creamy polenta with the richness of pumpkin and those bites of earthy beets. I’m am so making this!

  19. Reply

    Sofia | From the Land we Live on

    October 22, 2015 at 8:37 PM

    I love this, Sherrie. You’re so creative! Yay, pumpkin party! Off to check out some of the other recipes. Happy fall, xo.

  20. Reply

    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence

    October 23, 2015 at 3:07 PM

    Pumpkin and polenta are a perfect combination!

  21. Reply


    October 24, 2015 at 2:33 AM

    STUNNING (and thanks so much for the shout out)!

  22. Reply

    rachel @ atheltic avocado

    October 25, 2015 at 9:23 AM

    This is all of my favorite things combined – pinned for later!

  23. Reply


    October 27, 2015 at 7:08 AM

    This recipe is very original, and looks delicious!

  24. Reply


    October 27, 2015 at 8:06 AM

    I have to admit I’ve never made anything savory with pumpkin, just soup. So many culinary adventures ahead of me!

  25. Reply


    October 27, 2015 at 6:42 PM

    Pumpkin and beets are two are my favorite foods, and together?! YUM! I’m definitely going to have to make this. Perfect for a chilly fall day.

  26. Reply

    Amanda Paa

    October 28, 2015 at 9:00 AM

    These scenes are the prettiest! Savory pumpkin FTW. I love how the stain of the beets just jumps off the yellow polenta. And thanks for mentioning my mashed potatoes. I hope you had fun back home at the wedding. I’m sure you miss it! But, the Midwest likes having you here, xo.

  27. Reply


    October 28, 2015 at 11:45 AM

    Wow! Yummy looking and can’t wait to try your newest creation. Another masterpiece Sherrie!

    • Reply


      October 28, 2015 at 12:40 PM

      Thanks Mom, xo.

  28. Reply


    October 28, 2015 at 5:08 PM

    You’ve incorporated two of my favorite things into one savory meal: pumpkin and beets. Thank you!

  29. Reply

    Diann Garnett

    October 28, 2015 at 6:39 PM

    Made this last night and it was fantastic and just as delicious {with a little crumbled chèvre on top} for a work lunch today. Thanks for the great new recipe!

    • Reply


      October 28, 2015 at 9:32 PM

      I bet that goat cheese was the perfect addition! I’m so glad you liked this Diann.

  30. Reply


    October 29, 2015 at 8:56 AM

    Pumpkin Polenta…genius! I am loving the roasted beets on top. You are so creative Sherrie.

  31. Reply

    Pure Ella

    October 29, 2015 at 12:13 PM

    This looks and sounds amazing Sherrie! So inventive, I just love it. xo

  32. Reply


    November 2, 2015 at 4:23 PM

    *gasp!* You listed my gnudi as one of your savory faves?! Thanks for the shout out, Sherrie!

    By the way, a creamy base like polenta topped with something roasted and delicious is kind of one of my favorite dishes ever. I make variations of this type of dish all the time but I never thought of adding pumpkin into my polenta. The bright purple-red of the beets is gorgeous on top of that pumpkin polenta, too!

  33. Reply

    Phoebe @ Feed Me Phoebe

    November 6, 2015 at 11:59 AM

    I’m making this tonight!! going to top with some beet greens and maybe some sausage because I’m crazy like that. xo

  34. Reply


    November 13, 2015 at 9:23 AM

    This looks devine! Perfect for this rainy east coast weather I have right now. I have a question, is there a difference between polenta and cornmeal? The 1 cup polenta in the recipe, is that just dry cornmeal? I thought polenta was the result of cooking cornmeal, but I just want to clarify. Thanks!

    • Reply


      November 16, 2015 at 5:09 PM

      Hi Jen – you are right. Technically polenta is a dish, not a grain. But, cornmeal is often packaged and sold as polenta, meaning that the grind of corn is appropriate to make the polenta dish. Feel free to substitute medium or coarsely-ground cornmeal instead. I hope this helps!

  35. Reply

    Sara @ Cake Over Steak

    November 17, 2015 at 3:26 PM

    So pretty! I love the photo with the window handle poking in all blurry-like. Thanks for being a part of this.

    • Reply


      November 18, 2015 at 12:06 PM

      Thanks Sara, and thanks for hosting such a fun pumpkin party girl.

  36. Reply


    November 25, 2015 at 8:48 AM

    Beautiful photos and styling. I wanted to reach in and have a bite! I’ve never thought of adding pumpkin to polenta, but now I must. Thanks for sharing!

  37. Reply


    December 8, 2015 at 6:15 AM

    This was okay. I was really excited about the flavor combo but it wasn’t very flavorful (sad face!). In defense of the recipe, I didn’t use veggie broth which would have punched up the flavor quite a bit. I also used canned pumpkin, which I don’t like but forget that every time I use it – I bet fresh would be killer in this recipe. I also wish I had snuck some garlic in with the shallots! It was our first time using beets and we will be roasting them ourselves again, yum! Overall, beautiful dish but I don’t think we’ll make it again. Thank you for the fun recipe and the chance to try something new!

    • Reply


      January 7, 2016 at 5:09 PM

      Hi Kate. I’m glad you enjoyed the beets, and good for you for going outside of your comfort zone! I must say that using garlic, vegetable broth and fresh pumpkin (very different than canned) would have made a big difference in depth of flavor. Thank you for stopping by – I do appreciate your feedback!

  38. Reply


    December 15, 2015 at 11:48 PM

    I love this! I’ve eliminated junk food sweets lately from my diet and this is always what I’m craving but in a healthy way-rich starch and sweet. I used homemade veggie broth and roasted kabocha squash puree. I also cook my polenta by adding a few tablespoons of boiling water to it when it starts getting thick and it comes out super creamy. My beets totally caramelized too, yum! Thank you Sherrie.

    • Reply


      November 24, 2016 at 6:41 PM

      I’m so glad you liked it Mary!

  39. Reply


    December 29, 2015 at 7:50 PM

    Sounds delish, but I’m concerned you say to roast the beets on parchment paper with the oven at 450. All parchment I’ve ever used has a top heat range of 420, considering that paper catches on fire at 451, I’ll stay on the safer side and do longer cooking at a lower heat, but looking forward to trying the recipe!

    • Reply


      January 7, 2016 at 5:06 PM

      Hi Britt, I roast veggies on parchment at 450 degrees all the time without any issues, but if this is concerning for you, by all means you can lower the temp to 400.

  40. Reply


    February 1, 2016 at 11:15 AM

    I’m going to a potluck and the theme is “it sounds weird, but its sooooooo good”. I was searching Pinterest for ideas, I knew I wanted something with beets. I stumbled upon this and I’m super jazzed to give it a try. My potluck friends are all foodies so this is right up their alley.

    • Reply


      October 16, 2016 at 3:49 PM

      Haha, I love that.

  41. Reply


    September 20, 2016 at 4:15 PM

    This recipe is delightful. I added a handful of toasted walnuts for a little crunch, and it got rave reviews! Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply


      November 24, 2016 at 6:35 PM

      Yes – I’m so glad you liked this Mary!

  42. Reply

    Carrie O.

    September 20, 2016 at 9:57 PM

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I made this tonight (found you through Pinterest) and my family loved it. This is such a lovely, lovely dish. My six year old even said it is now his best favorite meal.

    • Reply


      September 25, 2016 at 12:00 PM

      Oh my – I love that. And, so glad you found me too.

  43. Reply


    September 24, 2016 at 7:15 PM

    Can you double this recipe?

    • Reply


      September 25, 2016 at 11:58 AM

      You sure can!

  44. Reply


    October 16, 2016 at 11:05 AM

    Looks amazing! Making today but not sure if the shallots are minced or diced?

    • Reply


      October 16, 2016 at 2:45 PM

      Hi Doreen, the shallots can be minced or diced, but I’ve edited the recipe to clarify. Thanks for pointing that out! Happy cooking, xx.

  45. Reply


    October 18, 2016 at 7:12 PM

    Yum! I mean wonderful dish, Sher!

  46. Reply


    November 24, 2016 at 4:36 PM

    Made this for a vegan Thanksgiving menu today. I used Earth Balance to keep a buttery flavor and went with rosemary for my fresh herb (added that with the pumpkin purée), and served it alongside sautéed kale. Outstanding! Will definitely make it again.

    • Reply


      November 24, 2016 at 6:32 PM

      Carrie this made my day! I’m so happy this recipe ended up on your Thanksgiving table, what an honor. xx

  47. Reply


    November 24, 2017 at 5:49 PM

    My daughter and I made this for dinner tonight. We used butternut squash instead of pumpkin and less broth for the polenta. The flavor was terrific and the color contrast between the polenta and the beets was beautiful!

    • Reply


      November 26, 2017 at 10:48 PM

      I’m so happy it was a hit, Linda!

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With Food + Love © 2018 | All photos + words belong to Sherrie Castellano -- they cannot be used or distributed without permission.