Baked Polenta Lasagna
*Center Staff Member Recipe from Rose Clements: Rose is a Center organizer with the Center’s Population and Sustainability Program.
- 1/2–2 pounds chopped tomatoes*
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- A few basil leaves
- 2 branches of parsley
- 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A dash of sugar (if desired)
- 1 1/2 cups coarse cornmeal/polenta*
- 8 ounces plant-based soft cheese (like cheddar or mozzarella)
- 2 tablespoons plant-based parmesan
- Fresh herbs, like oregano or parsley, for garnish as desired
*To simplify, you can use premade polenta and tomato sauce instead of cornmeal and chopped tomatoes.
Make a simple tomato sauce: First, warm the olive oil with the bay leaf, basil leaves, onion and garlic and continue cooking slowly for 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer until the mixture is soft and broken apart (usually for about 15 minutes). Blend or mash it in a different container until it becomes thick; then return it to the saucepan. You can add more spices and sugar as desired. (If you’re using premade tomato sauce, you can obviously skip this step.)
Cook the polenta: While the sauce is finishing, bring 4 1/2 cups water to a boil and salt. Whisk in the cornmeal and cook, stirring constantly with a spoon until it’s done (about 15 minutes). Pour the mixture into a loaf pan or dish to cool. When it’s cool and firm, slice it into pieces about 1/2-inch thick and 3 inches long. (If you’re using premade polenta, you can obviously skip this step too—just slice the polenta into patty-sized pieces.)
Preheat an oven to 400. Lightly butter a baking dish and spread about one cup of tomato sauce over the bottom of the dish. Arrange the polenta slices and soft cheese in overlapping layers. Carefully spoon the remaining tomato sauce over the layers in a decorative way, leaving bands of yellow polenta and cheese showing through the red sauce. Crumble some plant-based parmesan over the top and spice it up to taste.
Bake the dish uncovered for 25–35 minutes. Garnish and serve. Serves 4–6