Sunday, October 26, 2008

Polenta Lasagna

Slices of precooked polenta stand in for lasagna noodles in this recipe.

This recipe also called for meatless fat-free sausage - my eyes actually nearly skipped over it in the magazine, assuming it was a carnivore's dish, until I spotted the word 'meatless' in the ingredient list! A lot of versions of vegetarian sausage are actually quite high in fat, so be careful while selecting, and check ingredient list for sneaky things like eggs. I found that the breakfast sausage links from Lightlife worked great in this recipe, as well as being low in fat and certified vegan:

Whichever brand you choose, cook the sausages according to package directions, let cool slightly and then crumble to equal one cup. Set aside.

Spoon 1/2 a cup of marinara sauce from a 26-ounce jar into the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish, spreading evenly. Set aside. For the marinara sauce, just be sure to check ingredient lists - some brands will throw Parmesan cheese in there! I used the organic brand Gia Russa:

Heat a teaspoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add one cup finely chopped onion and 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper; saute for 4 minutes. Stir in the crumbled 'sausage' and cook another 2 minutes. Next, add one cup chopped mushrooms, 1/2 cup chopped zucchini and 2 minced garlic cloves; cook a final two minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the rest of the 26-ounce can of marinara sauce; reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes.

Meanwhile, slice one (16-ounce) tube of polenta into 18 equal slices - you can usually find polenta usually with other grains in the grocery store, or check near the tofu section.

Arrange 9 of the slices evenly over the marinara sauce in the baking dish. Top evenly with half of the vegetable mixture, and 1/4 cup shredded 'mozzarella' (i.e. the Vegan Mozzarella block from Galaxy Foods). Repeat the layers with 9 more slices of polenta, the rest of the vegetable mixture, and another 1/4 cup of cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Cut this into 6 slices; each piece is 220 calories.

A note for the eco-conscious out there: the company If You Care makes a 100% recycled aluminum foil - gone are the days of cut-rite and saran wrap of my childhood. The company also makes coffee filters, parchment paper, baking cups etc. ... check them out!

And finally, if you haven't been following the issue of Prop 2 in California, it's a super important measure on the ballot this voting day in California - the New York Times magazine even had a full length article about it today. It would make it illegal to keep animals raised for livestock in small cages... this issue is super important so please visit: and donate!

marinara sauce $5.49
onion $0.42
red bell pepper $1.84
'sausage' $2.79
mushrooms $2.79
zucchini $0.96
polenta $3.99
'mozzarella' $3.39

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance