Vegetable Polenta Lasagna
What a weekend. It was a scorcher and reached 35 degrees here today. Love it! then again… sweating non stop for 2 months in Sydney is still fresh in my mind and makes me appreciate air-conditioning lemme tell you!
My girlfriend Sandra mentioned to me a few weeks ago a meal she had made for her family. Polenta lasagna. Although she admits to being known for talents other than cooking her big Italian husband was totally impressed.
I loved the idea of using polenta instead of pasta and decided to give my version a go. I really just used what I had in the fridge to make this. If you’d like to give it a try, feel free to substitute ingredients. For the kale use spinach. For the peppers use chopped cauliflower. For the eggplant use zucchini……you get the idea.
Use your imagination people!
Vegetable Polenta Lasagna
- store-bought polenta sliced into thin rounds (or make your own)
- 2 red peppers cut into thick strips
- 4 garlic cloves
- 6 garlic stems (picture below but you can also just add 2 more cloves)
- 1 large onion diced
- 3 or 4 small eggplants sliced about 1/4″ thick
- Tomato Kale Sauce
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil)
- 2 1/2 cups white button mushrooms
- 2 very large handfuls of kale (stems removed)
- 1 large can tomatoes
- 1 T dried basil
- 3 t salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- Cheese sauce
- 1 container soft tofu
- 1 package dried cottage cheese (or 1 container 1% cottage cheese)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (any cheese) plus 1 cup for topping
- 1/2 cup skim milk
These are garlic stems being sold at the farmers market now. They should be sliced thin like a scallion and used like you would garlic. The flavour is much milder with a bit of sweetness so feel free to use at least 2 stems per clove of garlic.
Begin by slicing polenta into thin rounds and placing on the bottom of a greased casserole or baking dish. Set aside.
Using a large pan, fry onions and garlic until soft. Add red peppers and sauté just until heated through but still crispy. Remove veggies from the pan and place on a plate. To the same pan add the sliced eggplant and fry until both sides are slightly charred using a bit of vegetable stock in place of oil. Set aside.
For the tomato sauce you’ll need a food processor of blender. Add sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, kale, canned tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Blend well. Pour the sauce into a bowl and set aside.
Rinse out the mixer for the cheese sauce. Add the tofu, cottage cheese, cheddar and milk. Blend until smooth. Taste and add salt (I added 2 tsp)
To Assemble first place half of the onion mixture over the prepared polenta. Next add half of the eggplant slices.
Next spread half of the tomato sauce on top. Then a layer of cheese sauce. Reserve about 1 cup of the cheese sauce for either another dish (great on pasta) or for warming up and pouring over the lasagna once cooked.
Now you can do one more layer of each beginning with the remaining polenta. Finish by sprinkling a cup or more of cheese.
Bake uncovered at 375 degrees F for about 30-40 minutes or until cheese becomes brown and caramelized.
I have to say…this was one of my favourite meals in a long time. It was full of flavour from the sun-dried tomato sauce and the polenta added a texture that I liked better than lasagna noodles. For anyone worried about the combination of kale and tofu, I promise you won’t even notice. It all just works and its super good for you.
And just like lasagna, this was better the next day!
Is it hot where you are? Do you stay away or stay with hearty meals in the summer?