Tasty Tuesday … Best Polenta Lasagna with Spinach! Ever!

28 comments
Cooking, Photography, Tasty Tuesday ..., Uncategorized, Vegetarian Cooking

Much of yesterday I spent in the garden, where I cut back shrubs and bushes, raked up an incredible amount of fir branches which had come down during the ice storm and stuffed our green cans fuller than my suitcase for a trip. There’s only so much yard waste we can dispose off per week, so I’m trying to be strategic. It will be an ongoing project!

Now to the Tasty Tuesday part! I love lasagna, always have. I don’t make it very often and can’t remember the last time I ate it at a restaurant. Restaurant lasagna is usually way to cheesy for me or contains meat. So when I came across this recipe in the NYT, I just had to try it. It’s more work than using no-boil noodles, but oh …  it is sooooooo incredibly delicious. Next time I go grocery shopping I will make sure to get everything I need to make it again.

This recipe yielded a large amount and filled up a 9×13 inch baking pan. We ate it five nights in a row (reheating it covered with foil in the oven) and both of us were sad when we ran out of this dish. The next batch I’ll divide between two 8×8 inch pans and freeze one for a “Take-in Dinner”.

Creamy Polenta Lasagna

  • 4 tablespoons butter, plus a little extra
  • salt
  • 2 cups regular (not instant) polenta
  • 8 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 2 cups grated parmesan ( I used less)
  • 2 cups whole-milk ricotta or 2 cups cottage cheese ( I prefer cottage cheese here)
  • 3 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced basil (or more parsley)
  • 1 egg
  • a little freshly ground black pepper
  • a little freshly ground nutmeg
  • about 3 cups of quality marinara sauce (I made mine with canned tomatoes and chopped shiitakes)
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella (I didn’t have any. It was delicious anyway!)

 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Butter a rimmed 13×18 inch baking sheet.
Rub a little butter onto a rubber spatula.

In a large pot bring 6 cups of water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil.
Turn down the flame to medium and start to slowly whisk in the polenta.
Keep whisking away until the polenta starts to get thick.
It’ll take about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add 4 tablespoons of butter and whisk it in until it’s melted.

Now whisk in the baby spinach until it is wilted.
This should take around a couple of minutes.

Take the polenta off the flame and stir in 1 cup of the parmesan.

Spread the polenta out on the buttered baking sheet using the greased spatula.
Sprinkle about 1/2 a cup of the grated parmesan over the top.
Bake the polenta for about 12 to 18 minutes until it is firm and the parmesan is melted.
Then remove it from the oven and let it cool completely.
At this point you can refrigerate the polenta for a day if desired.

When you are ready to assemble the lasagna, preheat the oven again to 400°.
Butter a 9×13 inch casserole dish.
Cut the cooled polenta in half and carefully transfer one half into the buttered pan.

In a separate small bowl whisk together the ricotta or cottage cheese, the egg,
black pepper, parsley, basil, nutmeg and a pinch or two of salt.
When well combined spread half of this cheese mixture over the first polenta layer.
Cottage cheese adds a delightful tang to this concoction!

Top the cheese with about half of the marinara sauce and spread it out evenly.
If you’re using the mozzarella, spread half of it evenly over the sauce.
Place the second layer of polenta on top of the marinara sauce and repeat the process:
Cheese blend, marinara sauce, mozzarella.
Lastly sprinkle the rest of the parmesan over the lasagna.

Put the baking dish on a larger baking sheet in case it bubbles over during baking.
Bake the lasagna for 30 to 40 minutes until the cheese is melted and the dish is piping hot.
Take the pan out of the oven and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
The leftovers can be kept for about a week or frozen for a few months.
Just reheat it in the oven until it’s thoroughly hot.

We absolutely loved this creamy, meltingly delicious lasagna!
🙂

Posted by

My passions in life are vegetarian cooking, gardening, photography, writing, good books, traveling and nature. Thanks for stopping by, Sabine

28 thoughts on “Tasty Tuesday … Best Polenta Lasagna with Spinach! Ever!”

    • You don’t slice the polenta horizontally, just cut it in half vertically and you’ll have two pieces that fit perfectly into a 9×13 pan. It was fairly easy to slide each pice into the pan. You should try it! It’s really delicious! Thanks for reading my blog! 🙋‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I had never heard of this before. But it sounds like it was worth the effort. I love polenta (cornmeal) it is very common in Caribbean diets and I have never thought to try this but I can imagine how good this is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s really worth the effort, Trudy! If you love polenta you won’t be disappointed with this dish. I went to the store yesterday and am set to make this again. I hope you are hanging in there and staying healthy! 🙂

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      • Thank you, Sabine! The same to you. I would have to support the cheese with the vegan alternative, it sounds like it would be a delicious dish.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve thought about how to veganize it too, Trudy. I have never found a vegan cheese alternative that I liked, but I think that a really tasty marinara sauce and some nutritional yeast could do the trick. I haven’t done a whole lot of Caribbean cooking but shall explore it sometime. I am sure I’d love all the spices and flavors!

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      • Cashew “cheese” is a great alternative
        I’ve used it for stuffed shells. I make my own sauce and it turns out ridiculously good.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a great idea! I’ve never made it. Next time I go to Trader Joe’s I will get some raw cashews there. I once made Macaroni & Cheese for a dairy intolerant friend and used butternut squash and some other things I can’t recall. It was the best Mac & cheese I’ve ever had. Even better than the kind my mother-in-law made! Thanks for the suggestion, Trudy!

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      • That’s exactly where I get my raw cashews from! I hope that it works out well for you and is tasty, Sabine.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This does look tasty Sabine – my mouth was watering as I was looking at the photos. I can’t remember the last time I had lasagna. My mom never made it but we had a neighbor some years ago who loved to cook and he used to make double batches and bring a baking dish with piping hot lasagna over for dinner when he was staying with his father. Yum!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d love it if someone brought over a tasty lasagna too! No such luck here! I don’t think my mom made it either. I did like this recipe very much and just got all the ingredients at the store this week.

      Liked by 1 person

      • He was a great cook. While in college and his first two years of law school, he was a prep chef at a Summer resort in Traverse City (touristy town, Cherry Capital of the U.S.). So, he knew his way around the kitchen. My mom was recovering from a hip replacement, so he brought over dinner nearly every night. He moved in to take care of his dad who had pancreatic cancer. After his father’s death, he moved to Florida to take the bar exam and he was a prosecuting attorney there. It was nice while it lasted. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Sabine! (Waving madly) I had thought you had disappeared from blogging so am very happy to find your again. This lasagna looks like a great alternative especially for sensitive tummies. I would like to make it but doubt I have the patience to make the polenta layers too. How long did it take you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • 🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️ (waving back enthusiastically) I had disappeared for a while last year. There was just a lot going on and I needed some space and quiet. I’m glad to see you are still around. I will have to check in with your blog. As to the lasagna, it’s really easy! Once you spread out the polenta on the first sheet you cut it across, not horizontally. You should end up with two pieces of firm cooled polenta that will fit into your casserole on top of each other with fillings in between. I hope it makes sense. It took me a good part of an afternoon to make it, but I wasn’t in a hurry. You could also make the polenta the first day and keep it chilled until you assemble and bake it. Good luck and let me know how it went if you decide to make it! 🙋‍♀️

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      • Yes, polenta is gluten-free, but since it is often processed in facilities that also process other grains it could be cross-contaminated. If you have an intolerance or allergy to gluten I’d recommend getting cornmeal that is labeled gluten-free. It’s widely available here in the US and probably in Australia too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I shall have to explore that. Just now we have gone into three days of lock-down due to 4 cases of covid. That probably sounds crazy to you, but this is what happens here. I will look for the cornmeal once things have returned to normality.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No, the lockdown doesn’t sound crazy to me! I wish that the entire pandemic had been taken seriously this past year. So many people (about 550,000) have died here in the US and the majority of them needlessly. Good luck with your cornmeal search and stay healthy!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mostly it’s impacted the elderly in nursing homes. Within the community it’s hit African-Americans and Hispanics especially hard. The US has an unfortunate history of questionable medical treatment for minorities so many don’t trust the government. They also often don’t have health insurance and regular medical care. can’t blame them for that! Now it’s young people spreading it with trips to spring break destinations and disregarding the rules and safety to help get us through. It’s difficult to watch! How have things gone down under? I believe you didn’t get hit as badly as the rest of the world.

        Liked by 1 person

      • We have been safe here without Covid, and apart from a month long lockdown last year, life continued as normal. We socially distanced and logged our activities in the community at each venue to assist with contact tracing in case of an outbreak. Any overseas arrivals had to quarantine for 14 days in a hotel or be treated in a hospital. Hospital treatment is free here. We had no cases in the community and a handful in quarantine that were well managed.
        Folks were getting back to normal, hugging on greeting, handshakes and forgetting to socially distance. We have only just started vaccinating the front line workers, and two who were not vaccinated have spread the infection from patients quarantined.
        That has now gotten out into the community in my city and my neighbourhood! At the moment numbers are low just ten yesterday and four today, but we are now in lockdown til they can trace and test all contacts.
        I feel lucky to live here. Our state leaders have kept us safe. I feel confident that they will contain this outbreak too, it will just take time. I have a wedding to attend on April 10 and a 90th birthday a week later. Both events were postponed from last year! Both will be cancelled if the lockdown continues. But it is better to be safe.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are lucky to live in Australia. We had an administration for the first year who called the pandemic a hoax and promised a miracle would make it disappear. Way too many people have only cared about their “freedom” when it comes to wearing a mask and socially distancing. That’s just sad! I don’t understand how people can be so selfish and not consider the greater good when it really matters. We, as did everyone else, missed the 100th birthday of a very dear friend last fall due to this pandemic. Hopefully we can go visit her later this year given it’s safe and without risk tp anyone. For a while the infections seemed to plateau, but now they are rising again. In moments I feel impatient and want to go “do stuff”, but I stay put because it’s not worth the risk. I just hope that enough of us get the vaccine to stop this virus from getting even worse.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes the majority of the world will need to be vaccinated including the poor countries that can’t afford the vaccine. Otherwise, it is an endless lockdown loop we are stuck in….

        Liked by 1 person

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