Black Beans, Shiitake, and Fried Polenta with Red Chile

A hearty vegetarian meal with black beans, shiitake, fried polenta and feta topped with New Mexico red chile @redchile #shiitake #blackbean #vegetarian @mjskitchen

Black beans, shiitake mushrooms, and red chile is a delightful combination of flavors that we discovered many years ago.  Through the years I’ve made black bean and shiitake enchiladas and burritos, both smothered in red chile.  Now we have a new dish, which is lighter, but hearty enough and certainly tasty enough to please your favorite carnivores and vegetarians.  This black bean, shiitake and red chile dish is served on top of fried polenta which provides a crunchy texture and an additional layer of flavor to its many layers.  Top with a little feta cheese and cilantro for even more goodness.

When you look at the recipes, don’t let the length of the recipe intimidate you.  With a little planning, this meal comes together easily and quickly, which is the way I like to cook.  Check out the Kitchen Notes on how to make this an easy dish for a weekday meal.


A hearty vegetarian meal with black beans, shiitake, fried polenta and feta topped with New Mexico red chile @redchile #shiitake #blackbean #vegetarian @mjskitchen


Black Bean, Shiitake, and Fried Polenta with Red Chile

Recipe author: MJ of MJ’s Kitchen

Yields 4 servings
Prep and Cook time:  (See the Kitchen Notes for making it simple.)
Polenta – 30 minutes to make the day before or morning of, 20 minutes to slice and drain, 20 minutes to fry.
Black Beans – Use canned or leftover cooked dried beans.
Vegetable Mixture – 30 minutes to prep and cook (Saute’ the vegetables while the polenta is frying.
Red Chile Sauce – Use storebought or make a batch ahead of time and freeze in 1 cup portions.


Polenta (Make the day before or at least 6 hours ahead of time or use leftovers from another dish)

1 batch creamy polenta (no cheese)
Small rectangular pan or tall round plastic container
Cooking oil spray

Spicy Black Beans (Use canned or leftovers)

2 – 3 cups black beans
¼ tsp. chipotle flakes or powder*
½ tsp. red chile powder*

Red Chile Sauce*

1 cup New Mexico red chile (made from pods or powder or purchased)

Mushroom mixture

2 Tbsp. oil
½ medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium green bell pepper, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
12 – 14 ounces shitake mushrooms, sliced
¼ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. dried oregano
2 dashes of salt and generous amount of pepper
¼ – ½ cup vermouth or white wine


½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped



  1. The day before or morning of, make a batch of polenta or use leftover polenta from another meal.
  2. Spray a container (pan or glass) with cooking spray.
  3. Pour the cooked polenta into the container and let cool.
  4. Cover and move to the refrigerator to set (at least 4 hours).For fried polenta, made a batch of creamy polenta, let set, cut, drain and fry.
  5. About 30 minutes to an hour before frying up the polenta, remove from the pan by inverting the pan onto a papertowel and tapping on the pan until polenta falls out.
  6. Using a knife, slice the polenta into slices 1/2″ – 3/4″ thick. Place the slices on a papertowel then on a cooling racking to drain. This helps remove some of the remaining moisture that can cause splattering when you fry and which can also soften the polenta because of too much water.
  7. Place about a teaspoon of butter or oil in a non-stick skillet and heat over medium high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the slices of polenta. Be careful because it may splatter. I use a splatter screen.
  8. Fry the polenta about 8 minutes a side (turning once) or until the sides become crispy and start to brown. Once brown, remove from the heat. Polenta can stay in the skillet until ready to serve or you could move it to a plate. Just keep it warm.

Black Beans and Red Chile

  1. Heat up the black beans.
  2. Add the chile seasoning if they don’t have it already.
  3. Heat up the red chile sauce.


  1. In a skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion and bell pepper, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and mushrooms. Cook stirring often. Shiitakes don’t release much moisture so after about 3 minutes, add ¼ cup vermouth (or wine) and reduce heat to medium-low.
  3. Add herbs, salt and pepper and continue to cook until the mushrooms have softened, about 5 more minutes. If they start to dry out and stick to the pan, add a little more liquid.  Cook until the mushrooms are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.

Assembly (If serving 4, divide ingredients for 4 servings)

  1. For each serving, place two pieces of polenta on a plate.
  2. Top with a scoop of vegetables, then a scoop of beans.
  3. Pour about ¼ cup red chile onto each serving, or more if desired.*
  4. Top with feta cheese and cilantro.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

*See Kitchen Notes for more information.



A hearty vegetarian meal with black beans, shiitake, fried polenta and feta topped with New Mexico red chile |


Kitchen Notes for Black Beans, Shiitake and Fried Polenta

Black Beans – If you are using canned beans, add the chipotle and red chile when you heat the beans.  If you make a pot of beans, then add the chile when you cook the beans.

Seasoning for Black Beans – Personally, I like chipotle, New Mexico red chile powder, and/or urfa biber chile flakes.  However, you can use any type of red chile flakes or powder that you have on hand.

Red Chile Sauce – Normally, I would smother a dish with red chile; however, this particular dish is best with a complementary amount of chile rather than a smothering.

Make it simple – Here’s what I do to make this dish an easy dish to throw together.  It’s a menu option when I plan to make a pot of black beans and there is red chile in the freezer. If I find some nice looking shiitake at the market, then it’s on the menu.  To make the night of even easier, I’ll plan a creamy polenta meal (like this Southwestern Pork Stir Fry) earlier in the week, and make a larger batch of polenta so I can have leftovers for this dish.  Therefore, if you schedule it all correctly, by the time you are ready to make this black bean, shiitake and polenta dish, all you have to do it reheat the beans and red chile, fry up the polenta, and saute’ the mushrooms – easy peasy.



If you like this vegetarian dish with black beans, shiitake and fried polenta, then you should also enjoy some of these other hearty vegetarian dishes.

Black Bean and Shiitake Enchiladas

Black Bean Chili over Sweet Potatoes

White Beans, Green Chile and Corn

Black Bean Mole

Grilled Portabello Tacos


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50 Responses to “Black Beans, Shiitake, and Fried Polenta with Red Chile”

  1. Viviane Bauquet Farre April 14, 2017 at 2:02 pm #

    Mj, this recipe is a winner! I love that you served the beans and shiitakes with polenta… fried, no less! Just beautiful!

    • mj April 17, 2017 at 8:38 pm #

      Thanks so much Viviane!

  2. Anna @ shenANNAgans April 13, 2017 at 9:24 pm #

    I LOVE this combination of flavours a LOT! Shiitake mushrooms are the business, I was at the little asian grocer the other day and found a kilogram of dried shiitake for a couple of dollars. Amazing!!! This dish will absolutely be featuring in my future, the ingredients are inexpensive (which at the moment is very important) and healthy. Thanks MJ.

    • mj April 17, 2017 at 8:38 pm #

      Thanks so much Anna! A kilogram of dried shiitake for $2! That’s a steal! Hope you get a chance to make this. we certainly enjoy it.

  3. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef April 3, 2017 at 11:34 pm #

    I love the combination of shitake mushrooms and the black beans and your polenta looks perfect.

    • mj April 4, 2017 at 9:42 am #

      Thanks Maureen!

  4. Raymund April 3, 2017 at 2:47 am #

    Love seeing that shiitake in there, its one of my favourite mushrooms

    • mj April 4, 2017 at 9:42 am #

      Thanks Raymund!

  5. Sissi March 31, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

    Wonderful combination. I’ve always been a fan of Asian products combined with Western dishes and vice versa. Yesterday I had ragù bolognese with… Indian kidney bean curry in the same bento box and it was fabulous!
    I love your idea to combine shiitake and black beans. It’s a dish to consider in a very near future… I have a huge bag of shiitake brought from Japan and I never use them.

    • mj April 1, 2017 at 5:12 pm #

      Thanks Sissi! I’ve never made this with dried mushrooms before, but I don’t see why they wouldn’t work. Just re-hydrate them fully before sauteing. If you try it with dried mushroom, let me know how they work. Indian kidney bean curry in a bento box? Now that is interesting.

  6. Kiran @ March 31, 2017 at 1:23 pm #

    Such a yummy and hearty meal, filled with flavors. I love shiitake mushrooms!

    • mj April 1, 2017 at 5:09 pm #

      Thanks Kiran! People who haven’t tried shiitake don’t kmow what they are missing.

  7. Liz March 30, 2017 at 8:07 pm #

    I have to admit that I’d never come up with this combination on my own, but I’d be happy to eat every delicious morsel if given the chance 🙂

    • mj April 1, 2017 at 5:07 pm #

      Thanks so much Liz!

  8. Yi March 30, 2017 at 1:43 pm #

    Shiitake is a regular on my dinner table but polenta is not. It’s definitely an intriguing and delicious combination for me and something I’d love to try. Thanks for the recipe!

    • mj April 1, 2017 at 5:07 pm #

      Thank you Yi! We LOVE polenta / grits in this house and eat it in various forms throughout the week.

  9. Abbe@This is How I Cook March 30, 2017 at 11:07 am #

    So healthy and filling and good! I know I would love this! Shitakes are soooo good!

    • mj April 1, 2017 at 5:05 pm #

      Thanks Abbe! I agree, love shiitakes. Just wish they weren’t so expensive. 🙂

  10. ZazaCook March 29, 2017 at 11:30 am #

    What a lovely and colorful recipe!

    • mj April 1, 2017 at 5:05 pm #

      Thanks Zaza!

  11. Amy (Savory Moments) March 29, 2017 at 7:36 am #

    This is a hearty and really delicious looking vegetarian meal! Also, you can’t really go wrong with anything smothered in red chiles!

    • mj April 1, 2017 at 5:04 pm #

      Thanks Amy! Yep…everything is better with red chile. 🙂

  12. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen March 28, 2017 at 2:31 am #

    This just looks glorious! I love the combination of flavors in this wonderful meal!

    • mj April 1, 2017 at 5:04 pm #

      Thanks Peachy!

  13. Evelyne CulturEatz March 24, 2017 at 12:00 pm #

    Oh I am intrigued, so many wonderful flavors going on here! And I love polenta but I have never fried it, go to do that to taste it.

    • mj March 26, 2017 at 4:28 pm #

      Thanks so much Evelyne! Fried polenta is awesome! Hope you try it.

  14. Adina March 23, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

    Anything with polenta makes me happy! 🙂 Lovely dish, I would love to try it.

    • mj March 23, 2017 at 7:23 pm #

      I know what you mean Adina. I love polenta. Thanks!

  15. Katerina March 22, 2017 at 5:18 am #

    What delicious and unusual combination! I love all the ingredients in it! Pinned!

    • mj March 23, 2017 at 7:23 pm #

      Thanks Katerina! Thanks for pinning!

  16. Maureen March 21, 2017 at 7:23 pm #

    The flavors that come together in this dish make me swoon. I would love to eat this at your table.

    • mj March 21, 2017 at 8:10 pm #

      And I loved to have you join us Maureen! Thanks!

  17. Kelly Mulcair March 21, 2017 at 5:05 pm #

    How great is that slabbed polenta preparation! So clever, creative and beautiful. It reminds me of golden tofu 🙂 right there center stage and perfect for your surrounding beans and scrumptious shrooms. This is the kind of food I could eat every day MJ. Heaven.

    • mj March 21, 2017 at 7:34 pm #

      Thanks so much Kelly! I’ve been known to fry up leftover polenta and top with a touch of honey or maple syrup. Good stuff!

  18. Deb|EastofEdenCooking March 21, 2017 at 10:07 am #

    Oh those shiitake mushrooms! So much flavor in this fantastic dinner recipe.

    • mj March 21, 2017 at 7:33 pm #

      Thanks Deb! We love shiitakes and when I can find some really fresh ones, it’s hard no to buy. 🙂

  19. Lisa March 21, 2017 at 10:00 am #

    Wow! This sounds absolutely delicious! I can generally only find dried shitake mushrooms where I live. Do you think I could use them for this recipe or would it be better for me to use a substitute fresh mushroom?

    • mj March 21, 2017 at 7:32 pm #

      Thanks Lisa! Yes, dried shiitake should work if you rehydrate them before, adding them to the skillet. You could actually use a little of the rehydration liquid in place of the vermouth if you want to. They might be a little tougher than fresh, but dried should still work.

  20. nabila March 21, 2017 at 9:23 am #

    “Just to say “thank you” We all enjoyed your delicious food and the evening was everything we hoped it would be. Thank you so much.“

    • mj March 21, 2017 at 7:30 pm #

      You are most welcome Nabila! Appreciate your stopping by and leaving such a nice comment! Hope to hear from you again soon.

  21. John/Kitchen Riffs March 21, 2017 at 9:12 am #

    Love the colors and texture of this dish — really gorgeous. And the flavors are outstanding! The weather is warming up here, and we’re eating lighter — this is perfect. Good stuff — thanks.

    • mj March 21, 2017 at 7:29 pm #

      Thanks John! There are some outstanding flavors in this dish and they all go so well together.

  22. Karen (Back Road Journal) March 21, 2017 at 7:16 am #

    MJ, this sounds like a delicious combination of textures and flavors.

    • mj March 21, 2017 at 7:29 pm #

      Thanks Karen!

  23. Angie@Angie's Recipes March 21, 2017 at 6:53 am #

    I just love what you eat, MJ. This looks delicious and nutritious as well.

    • mj March 21, 2017 at 7:28 pm #

      Thanks Darlin! We both love to eat, but try to eat healthy when we can, especially as we get older. 🙂 A meal like this is one of our favorites.

  24. April J Harris March 21, 2017 at 6:18 am #

    What a lovely, wholesome, hearty and colourful meal, MJ. I’ve not had this combination of ingredients before but it sounds absolutely delicious. I hope you will share it with us at Hearth and Soul this week – it’s perfect comfort food!

    • mj March 21, 2017 at 7:26 pm #

      Thanks so much April! I will be happy to share with Hearth and Soul – In fact, already done. 🙂

      • April J Harris March 30, 2017 at 4:45 am #

        Thank you so much for sharing, MJ!

        • mj April 1, 2017 at 5:05 pm #

          You are most welcome!

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