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balsamic roasted beets on top of polenta

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.

balsamic roasted beets on a sheet pan

pumpkin polenta with beets in a bowl

creamy pumpkin polenta in a bowl

Yield: 4 servings

Pumpkin Polenta with Balsamic Roasted Beets

creamy pumpkin polenta in a bowl

A creamy pumpkin polenta recipe topped with balsamic roasted beets. A naturally vegan and gluten-free meal for fall and winter.


Beet Ingredients

  • 3 medium red beets
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Polenta Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium shallots, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (optional garnish)


    1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
    2. Scrub the beets clean, trim the ends and peel (if desired). Dice into small pieces and set aside.
    3. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Place the beets on the lined sheet pan and then pour the balsamic mixture over top. Toss them lightly with your hands to coat and roast for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and flip the beets. Return the pan to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes. When they're done set them aside until plating.
    4. Heat a large skillet over low heat. Add in the olive oil, shallots and garlic and sweat for 2 minutes.
    5. Turn the heat to medium, add in the broth and bring to a simmer. Then add in the polenta one-third cup at a time, stirring constantly to avoid clumps. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes while stirring frequently until the water is absorbed and the polenta is soft.
    6. Turn the heat to low and add in the pumpkin, thyme, sage, paprika, salt and pepper, and stir. Continue to cook the polenta while stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
    7. To plate, portion the polenta into 4 bowls and top each with an equal portion of balsamic beets. Garnish with fresh thyme and black pepper if desired and serve warm.

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Wednesday 10th of March 2021

Hi! Are you peeling the beets here? Wasn't sure if I should be eating the skin after roasting or if you remove skins before serving. Dumb question I know, but I'm new to beets!


Wednesday 21st of April 2021

Hi Rachel - no dumb questions! I added some clarity in the instructions. I typically peel my beet prior to roasting. But if you scrub them clean, the peel is edible.


Monday 16th of November 2020

This recipe is fantastic! My three year old loved it too!


Friday 24th of November 2017

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!


Sunday 26th of November 2017

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


Thursday 24th of November 2016

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.


Thursday 24th of November 2016

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


Tuesday 18th of October 2016

Yum! I mean wonderful dish, Sher!

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