Roasted Polenta Casserole

We’re sorry about the lack of posts this week; it has been an up and down week for us. The cooking class went great on Tuesday night; thank you to those who came! We enjoyed meeting each of you and hope you liked the recipes we prepared. For those of you who didn’t make it, we did tape part of it but it will be a little while before we will be able to hopefully post it. We also have two recipes from the class that we’ll be posting about as well.

I’m not sure if we’ll be posting anymore this week because a family emergency has taken us out of town, so we’re staying in a hotel tonight. I do have a recipe for you that uses the polenta that we featured last week so hopefully this will tide you over for a little while.

If you don’t want to take the time to make the polenta (even though it’s really easy to do!), feel free to substitute pre-made polenta, it just won’t taste as good 😉

Roasted Polenta Casserole

  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 2 cans fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1/2 of a roasted red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup. julienned sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup. chopped onion
  • 2 small portabella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 recipe Tofu Ricotta (from Veganomicon)
  • 1 recipe Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Polenta, or substitute one store-bought package.
  • 2 Medium Tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • Nutritional Yeast, Garlic Salt and Garlic Powder

– Preheat oven to 375F.

– For the sauce: In a small saucepan, add the first five ingredients and heat over medium-low, stirring ocassionally.

– Meanwhile, prepare the tofu ricotta mixture as directed and heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once heated, add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until they begin to release their juices. Than add the spinach and cook just until wilted; remove from heat.

– Using an immersion blender (or regular blender, just make sure mixture isn’t too hot or you might have an explosion on your hands), blend the sauce ingredients until smooth.

– Assembly:
– Spread an even layer of sauce on the bottom of a glass baking dish (I used one that was 8×8):

– Top the sauce with a layer of polenta:

Cut the polenta however you like to fit your baking dish.

  –  and then with a thick layer of ricotta:

– Then sauce, then spinach mixture:

– Followed by more sauce, ricotta, sauce, and finally the polenta:

– Lastly, spread the tomato slices on top and sprinkle with Nutritional Yeast, garlic powder and garlic salt.

– Bake, uncovered, in the oven for 1 hour, or until heated thouroughly and then broil until the top is golden-brown.

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Personal Pan…..Lasagna!

 

While carbo-loading for the marathon on Saturday, we decided that we would make personal lasagnas! This would also work excellent if you really want lasagna but don’t want to make a huge amount of it.

Instead of using noodles (which you also could easily do), we used polenta and then layered each dish with sauce, veggies and ‘gimme lean sausage‘. As we’ve said before, we don’t really like to use the fake meat products but also don’t mind every once-in-awhile, and this would be great if you want to share it with someone who maybe isn’t too sure that vegan lasagna can taste good!

This is really more of a tutorial than recipe and you can change it to suit your needs/personal taste. Additionally, we used pre-made sauce because we already had a container open so this saved us time! We do love to make our own though 🙂

Personal Pan Lasagna
[Serves two]

  • Polenta (we used about 200g/2 servings of Food Merchants Sundried Tomato but feel free to use homemade or whatever flavor you prefer)
  • Pizza/Pasta/Homemade Sauce
  • Spinach
  • 1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 onion
  • 4 Oz. Gimme Lean Sausage (or protein of choice)
  • 1/8 cup pumpkin puree’ (optional)
  • Sriracha (optional)
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Italian Spices
  • Garlic Salt
  • Pepper
  • Other Add-In Ideas: Vegan Cheese (we like Daiya), Mushrooms, roasted squash, zucchini, kale, etc.

– Preheat oven to 400 F.

– SautĂ© the veggies and season with the spices, to taste. Also, sautĂ© your meat alternative (‘sausage’, tempeh, ‘hamburger’, etc.). This allows the ingredients to have more flavor in the final dish.

– Spray your baking dish with cooking spray and spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom (how much you use will depend on the size of your dish).

-Top this layer with a layer of Polenta.

– If using, mix the pumpkin with 1/4 cup of the sauce and sriracha, to taste; top the polenta layer with the mixture.

– Layer your veggies/sausage next.

-Continue layering (sauce, polenta, veggies) until you have reached the top of your dish. You can really layer however you please, but putting the sauce on top of the polenta helps it soak up the flavor. Finish with a top layer of sauce and then cover with tin foil. Another option is to top the dish with sliced bell pepper.

– Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.  Again, the timing will vary slightly with the dish you use, so check to see if the lasagna is heating up in the center. In about the last five minutes of baking, remove the tin foil and broil until the top is crispy and the cheese (if using) is melted.

Questions:
What do you think about Carbo-Loading before a race?

Do you have any unique/different ingredients that make your lasagna ‘extra special’?