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RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Polenta Lasagna with Mushrooms and Kale

October 1, 2010

Today is the First Day of the Rest of My Hair.

I Mean, Blog.

I Mean, Life.

Quite the prolific blogger I’ve been lately, eh?

Yesterday I made Amish bread!  From this recipe!

Sorry, just wanted to show you a picture of my bread.  It’s delicious!

I’m on day three of four days off work, and as you can see, I’ve had lots of time to decide the following random things…

  1. I need to cook more and take more pictures of food, which will naturally lead to blogging more.
  2. I need to take my laptop with me to work, which will also lead to blogging more.  It’s just so damn heavy…
  3. I need to stop being so anti-social.  I don’t have a single friend in Denver.  :(  Can I help it if my job makes me sick of looking at people’s faces?
  4. I cannot go to Watercourse Foods and Mellow Mushroom all the time, amazing though they are.  There are other vegan and veg-friendly restaurants here that I need to try!  (Or, better yet, go back to #1.)
  5. Why is my hair so fucking short?  I need to grow it out.  More deep conditioning treatments for me!

Anyway.

Today, after Andy asked me for the umpteenth time about the tube of polenta in the corner of our refrigerator, I made one of my favorite recipes: Polenta Lasagna with Mushrooms and Kale, adapted from a recipe in Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.  I had to tweak it a bit due to lack of certain ingredients and my own personal tastes (I like FAT!  Just kidding.), but the original version is outstanding as well.

For those of you not familiar with polenta (and don’t worry, I’m not too familiar myself), it’s simply an Italian cornmeal mush that can cut into slices or wedges to be baked or fried, or, if more water is added, can be eaten in a bowl the same way we eat grits in the U.S.

I apologize for my photos–I blame the weird lighting in our new apartment.

Fat Free Vegan’s recipe called for portabella mushrooms, which I of course did not have, so I used plain old white button mushrooms instead.  Less expensive!  Kalamata olives were also part of the original recipe and I was missing those as well.  I do have green olives and would have gladly substituted, but Andy hates olives.  (WHY???)   Sooo, as sort of a compromise, I threw some sundried tomatoes on top just before popping the lasagna in the oven.  The cheezy sauce is the best part of the whole dish–it’s a wonder I don’t eat it all before it goes into the finished product!

I used store-bought polenta because I’ve never made it from scratch before, now I feel kinda silly because FFV has a very easy-looking microwave recipe for which I DO have all the ingredients.  Son of a b.

This recipe came together pretty quickly…make the cheezy sauce first, chop all the veggies and you’re good to go.  I guesstimated on the amount of kale to add, but I say add as much as you think you can get away with because this is a great way to sneak in a serving of greens. :)

Polenta Lasagna with Mushrooms and Kale
4 servings

Cheezy sauce:
1 box (12.3 ounces) of extra-firm silken tofu
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp. tahini
1 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. nutritional yeast
1/8 tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. cornstarch
3-4 drops liquid smoke
Small handful chopped walnuts (optional)

The rest:
1 18 ounce tube of polenta or 1 recipe of FFV’s Quick Microwave Version (see link above)

1/2 large onion, chopped
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced, or 1 large portabella mushroom, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 big handfuls kale, center rib removed and finely chopped
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning or dried basil
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce (This time I used Classico’s Tomato & Basil sauce, yum)
2 tbsp. olive oil

Optional:
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
2-3 tbsp. sundried tomatoes, chopped  (I prefer the kind in the jar rather than the plastic-bagged kind, probably because it’s FATTIER.)
Vegan soy parmesan or panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Puree the cheezy sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender until completely smooth.  Set aside.

Saute the onions and mushrooms in the olive oil in a large skillet until the mushrooms brown.  Add the garlic and saute for another minute.

Add the kale, Italian seasoning or basil, and 1/4 cup (more or less) of water.  Saute until kale is tender and water has evaporated.  (I could have stopped right here!  The kale was yummy.)

Add the cheezy sauce and cook, stirring, until thickened.  Ohhhh daddy…

Check seasoning and add salt/pepper if needed.  Cover and remove from heat.

If you’re using a store-bought cylinder of polenta, cut it into 1/4-inch slices.  Line the bottom of an 8×8-inch baking dish with half the slices, overlapping slightly if possible.   (If you’re using homemade polenta, I’m sure you can figure it out for yourself.)

Spread about 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce over the polenta, and then spread some of the cheezy sauce mixture over the sauce.  If you have chopped olives, sprinkle them on top of the kale.  Top that with the remaining polenta, more marinara sauce, and the rest of the cheezy sauce.  If you’re using sundried tomatoes, soy parmesan, and/or bread crumbs, sprinkle them on top.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.  If you’re really fancy, you could serve this with a green salad.  Definitely wine.

Next time, I will certainly  make my own polenta.  And I’ll add olives, no matter what Andy says.  Spinach instead of the kale?  And maybe some artichoke hearts…

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 14, 2010 11:28 am

    This lasagna looks incredibly delicious!! I think I would eat the whole entire dish. So yummy!!!

    • October 15, 2010 10:53 am

      Hey thanks Jennifer! It was quite yummy and addicting… I would never make this dish if I lived by myself, it would be gone in less than 24 hours. :)

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