Thursday, April 22, 2010

Polenta Lasagna

Two layers of polenta take the place of noodles in this lasagna!

Either the morning of the day you want to serve this dish or the night before, you'll need to do a little prep work. Cut 1 large red bell pepper and 1 large yellow bell pepper in half - discard their seeds and membranes. Place the pepper halves on a foil-lined baking sheet, and flatten with the palm of your hand. Broil for 15 minutes until nicely blackened.

Place in a closed zip-top bag or paper bag for 15 minutes, before peeling off the skins and cutting into 1/4-inch square pieces.

Meanwhile, bring 4 cups water and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil. Add 3/4 cup dry polenta and cook for about 1-2 minutes, stirring with a whisk, just until you see the polenta start to absorb the water. Then reduce the heat all the way to low and cook for 25 minutes, stirring frequently. The long cook time made me think the polenta would grow too thick, but on the lowest heat setting, my fears were unfounded.

Stir in the bell pepper pieces and 6 tablespoons shredded vegan cheese in place of Parmesan (I used the vegan mozzarella from Galaxy Foods). Pour the polenta mixture onto a baking sheet, and spread to an even layer in a rectangle with dimensions of 8x16 inches (the original recipe said to use a spatula coated with cooking spray to smooth the top, but a wooden spoon did the trick, too).

Let cool to room temperature on a wire rack, then cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours and up to overnight.

When you're ready to make the rest of the lasagna, remove the polenta from the oven, and place a large cutting board over the top of it. Flip over, and remove the baking sheet from the top, leaving the polenta sitting on the cutting board. Divide in half, crosswise; set aside.

For the filling, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons water and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic; cook for 1 minute. Add half of a 10-ounce package of fresh spinach; cover and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the remaining spinach, 1/8 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Cover and cook for 3 minutes - the spinach should all be wilted by the end.

Transfer the spinach mixture to a colander and drain, then combine in a bowl with 1/4 cup crumbled firm tofu (in place of ricotta), a dash of nutmeg, and the equivalent of 1 egg using egg replacer (such as Ener-G).

To assemble the lasagna, coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Spread 1/4 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of the dish. I like the marinara from Amy's brand not only because it's certified vegan, but also because it is low sodium. Place one of your polenta sheets over the sauce - it should fit the dish perfectly if you sized it right! Spread 1/4 cup more sauce over the polenta. Arrange 3 ounces thinly sliced vegan mozzarella (such as Galaxy Foods) and the spinach mixture over the sauce; top with 1/4 cup marinara. Top that with the second polenta sheet, then top with a final 1/4 cup of marinara. (Note: I had forgotten the marinara atop the spinach, so added all of my remaining sauce at this step. A small mistake!). On top, sprinkle 6 tablespoons more shredded vegan cheese in place of Parmesan (again, I used Galaxy Foods' vegan mozzarella).

Cover the dish with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before slicing into 9 squares. Each serving is 140 calories, or place 2 squares on each plate for a bigger entree portion.

red bell pepper $1.41
yellow bell pepper $2.42
polenta $6.49
vegan cheese $3.39
fresh spinach $2.99
firm tofu $2.69
marinara sauce $7.99

1 comment:

Jenn said...

Polenta lasagna looks delicious!

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